In May 2015, Palmyra came under the control of the terrorist militant group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and Asaad was amongst those captured during this time.
Islamic State militants beheaded a renowned antiquities scholar in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra and hung his mutilated body on a column in a main square of the historic site because he apparently refused to reveal to his Isis captors where valuable artefacts had been removed for safekeeping.
The brutal murder of Khaled al-Asaad, 82, is the latest atrocity perpetrated by the extremist jihadi group, which has captured a third of both Syria and neighbouring Iraq and declared a self-styled “caliphate” on the territory it controls.
It has also highlighted Isis’s habit of looting and selling antiquities to fund its activities – as well as destroying them.
Khaled Asaad was executed on 18 August 2015 at the age of 82.