Syria: Around 35,000 stolen Syrian artifacts retrieved by authorities

DAMASCUS – Around 35,000 stolen Syrian artifacts have been retrieved by the authorities since the beginning of the 11-year war in Syria, an antiquities official has confirmed.

Firas Dadoukh, director of cultural relations and head of the professional development department at the Directorate of Antiquities and Museums, said that the retrieved artifacts have been restored with the help of local communities and relevant authorities.

Speaking at the sideline of an exhibition of recovered archaeological treasures at the Syrian national museum, Dadoukh said a large portion of the retrieved pieces have already gone through a process of identification — calculating the age of each piece and validating its authenticity — before going through a rehabilitation work to prepare it for display at the museum.

Laila Al-Sammak, the curator of the Museum of Ancient Syrian Antiquities, told Xinhua that most of the plundered pieces belong to the northern region, particularly in areas controlled by the rebels.

She said that the Syrian army has managed to confiscate many pieces and prevented their smuggling outside the country.

“In fact, the war on Syria was a war on the Syrian heritage in order to destroy the Syrian identity, which is known for its originality and greatness,” she said.

The exhibition of the retrieved treasures will last for two months from Nov. 24.

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