A statue from Palmyra, badly damaged by the IS, has been restored and it went on display in Damascus on Sunday.

The statue is the Lion of Al-Lat and is 2,000 years old. It weighs 15 tons and in 2015 it was among the ruined antiquities by the IS in Palmyra. It was eventually moved to Damascus for restoration in 2016, after the ancient city site was recovered by the Syrian government.

The Lion of Al-Lat guarded the entrance to a 1st century BC temple in Palmyra, devoted to the goddess Al-lat, a pre-Islamic female deity associated with love, sex and warfare. The lion itself was a symbol of protection as well as marking the entrance to the temple. An inscription on its left paw states that the temple is a space free of violence, functioning as a sanctuary.

The statue was standing in front of the museum in Palmyra. Its restoration, which lasted about two months, was funded by UNESCO and now the statue will be on display at the National Museum of Damascus. About half of the restored limestone statue is original. Eventually it may be returned to its place in Palmyra.