Ancient mosaics stolen from Syrian museum
|Syrian rebel fighters sit below Roman-era mosaics in Maaret Al-Numan. At least 18 ancient mosaics depicting scenes from Homer's "The Odyssey" have been stolen in northern Syria, the culture minister was quoted as saying on Sunday [Credit: AFP]|
“We have been informed that these mosaics are now on the Syrian-Lebanese border,” she said without elaborating.
As the nearly two-year Syrian revolt has morphed into an armed insurgency, experts say fierce fighting and deteriorating security have left the country’s extraordinary archaeological heritage susceptible to damage and prey to a rising number of looters.
The minister said that an Aramaic gold-plated bronze statue was stolen from the Hama museum, a raging front in the war between loyalist troops and rebels.
|A Syrian rebel fighter inspects a mosaic at the Alma Arra museum in Maarat al-Numan in October [Credit: AFP]|
But she insisted that museums across the country were “well guarded” and “their prized possessions for all humanity have been archived and placed in very secure locations”.
Among Syria’s archeological treasures are six UNESCO world heritage sites: the Old Cities of Damascus and Aleppo, the ruins of Palmyra, the ancient city of Bosra, Crac des Chevaliers crusader castle, the citadel of Saladin and the ancient northern villages.
UNESCO has launched an appeal for the protection of Syria’s cultural heritage in view of the conflict that shows no sign of abating, and which has left nearly 70,000 people dead according to the UN.
Source: AFP [February 17, 2013]
Labels Ancient, ArchaeoHeritage, Archaeology, Breakingnews, Greater Middle East, Heritage, More Stuff, Near East, Syria