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training camps

Many Syrian archeological and historical landmarks have been damaged due to the sabotage acts of armed terrorist groups, as illicit excavations harmed other sites, some archeological buildings were badly affected due to explosions and a number of antiquities were looted during the current crisis.

Director General of Antiquities and Museums Maamoun Abdul-Kareem told SANA reporters on the situation of the Syrian antiquities during the past three years the ruins in the country have witnessed a new setback during the past few months when armed terrorist groups changed unique archeological sites into training camps, while others were targeted like St. Simon Citadel and the sculptures placed on the façade of the valley of al-Qattora in the area of Barakat mountain.

Abdul-Kareem clarified that since the beginning of the crisis, two precious antiquities were looted from Hama Museum, which are a bronze sculpture that goes back to the Aramean Era and the other one is a marble peace from Apamia, adding that nine chests containing antiquities were stolen from Raqqa Province due to the absence of governmental institutions.

“Traditional pieces were also stolen from Deir Attiah Museum”, Abdul-Kareem added, affirming that pieces from Folklore Traditions Museum in Aleppo were also looted.

“The severity and nature of the damage ranges between a site and another…the damages centers basically in Aleppo, Homs, Idleb and Deir-Ezzor where 192 sites got damaged in Aleppo, 56 sites in Homs and 48 sites in Idleb,” Abdul-Kareem clarified, adding that the damage occurred either because of terrorist attacks or by illegitimate excavations.

The most regrettable damage which is considered a real loss for the Syrian cultural heritage according to Abdul-Kareem is the burning of hundreds of markets in Aleppo old city, Krak des Chevaliers, Saint Mary Church of the Holy Belt (Um al-Zennar) and the minarets of the Umayyad mosque in Aleppo.

General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums restored more than 4000 archeological pieces during the past years through operations handled by authorities in Damascus, Tartous, Palmyra, Homs, Hama and Deir-Ezzor.

A treasure containing 1600 silver-plated bronze coins uncovered in the area of Jabal al-Shaer between Palmyra and Homs, in addition to tens of archeological pieces that prepared for smuggling since June, 2013 were also restored.