Nations devote $50 million for archaeological sites damaged by ISIS

The Iraqi Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Antiquities revealed on Sunday that foreign countries have allocated $50 million for the maintenance of archaeological sites destroyed by the Islamic State (ISIS). 

The Media Director of the Antiquities and Heritage Authority, Hakim al-Shammari, told the official al-Sabah Newspaper that coordination has been made with a number of countries, including Italy, the United States, France and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to preserve the archaeological sites destroyed by ISIS in Nineveh, Diyala and Anbar provinces. 

Shammari announced that rehabilitation work for the ancient city of Hatra in Nineveh was finished, and was carried out by an Italian maintenance team specializing in archaeological sites. 

Iraqi antiquities and archeological sites were subjected to looting and vandalism after the 2003 US/UK invasion, but the most severe damage was in 2014 when ISIS occupied large swaths of Iraqi territory. Antiquities were damaged in Nineveh province after ISIS took control of the archaeological areas, who then destroyed and sold thousands of pieces on the global black market. 

The Minister of Higher Education, Nabil Abdul-Saheb, also said on Saturday that 14 billion dinars have been allocated to five universities in Nineveh province for their maintenance and development, the most prominent being the University of Mosul, which was occupied by ISIS for more than two years during the occupation of the city.

by Sura Ali

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