World, Middle East

War-torn Syria eyes restoration of pilfered antiquities

Idlib Museum launches campaign aimed at retrieving lost artifacts that were smuggled abroad

12.09.2017 - Update : 13.09.2017
War-torn Syria eyes restoration of pilfered antiquities

By Burak Karacaoglu

IDLIB, Syria

Local officials in Syria’s Idlib province have launched a campaign aimed at retrieving Syrian antiquities smuggled abroad during the country’s six-year-long conflict.

“The war has resulted in the disappearance or destruction of numerous Syrian antiquities and monuments,” Anas Zeidan, curator of the Idlib Museum, told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.

“We are now in the process of drawing up lists of pilfered antiquities before filing cases demanding their restoration with the relevant legal institutions, including UNESCO,” he added, referring to the UN Cultural, Scientific, and Educational Organization.

As a direct result of the conflict, Zaidan said, Syria’s Idlib Museum, which includes numerous ancient artifacts, has stopped publishing information on its inventory “for security reasons”.

Home to some of the world’s oldest civilizations, war-battered Syria currently boasts six major archaeological sites and 12 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

While many of Syria’s oldest monuments have been damaged by conflict, a number of others were deliberately destroyed -- including several in the ancient city of Palmyra -- by the Daesh terrorist group.

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