Syrian violence threatens ancient treasures

20 Feb 2013 4:17 PM | Anonymous

Syrian violence threatens ancient treasures
 
By Suleiman Al-Khalidi

AMMAN | Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:17am EST

AMMAN (Reuters) - Syrian museums have locked away thousands of ancient treasures to protect them from looting and violence but one of humanity's greatest cultural heritages remains in grave peril, the archaeologist charged with their protection said.

Aleppo's medieval covered market has already been gutted by fires which also ripped through the city's Umayyad mosque. Illegal excavations have threatened tombs in the desert town of Palmyra and the Bronze Age settlement of Ebla, and Interpol is hunting a 2,700-year-old statue taken from the city of Hama.

In a country which also boasts stunning Crusader castles, Roman ruins and a history stretching back through the great empires of the Middle East to the dawn of human civilization, the task of safeguarding that heritage from modern conflict is a daunting responsibility.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/20/us-syria-crisis-antiquities-idUSBRE91J0RD20130220

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