Director General of Antiquities and Museums Ma’moun Abdul-Kareem revealed on Wednesday the restoration of 89 pieces of antiquities that were stolen by terrorist organizations in previous times from inside Syria and been smuggled abroad.
In a special statement to SANA on the sidelines of the “Treasures of the Syrian Heritage” Exhibition which was opened at the National Museum in Damascus, Abdul-Kareem said that all the archaeological pieces have been recovered through Lebanon, adding that “in cooperation with Interpol and UNESCO, the sale of dozens of stolen Syrian antiquities has been stopped in European capitals.”
”All these acts have been turned into the courts and we have every right to defend our archaeological artifacts as long as they are Syrian and went out illegally and to return them to Syria even after twenty years,” he said.
He considered that this exhibition is a “message of awareness” to the world about the great efforts exerted by the General Establishment of Antiquities and Museums in protecting the Syrian cultural heritage, saving it, documenting it and keeping it in safe places, in addition to the efforts made by the Directorate in the field of combating the smuggling of antiquities through cooperation with the competent authorities and documentation, which was done in accordance with modern technology for hundreds of thousands of modern images in an eternal manner and packaged in scientific terms to protect them from external factors.
He pointed out that Syrians and all governmental and non-governmental institutions should work to protect Syrian archeological sites, which reach at more than 10,000 archaeological sites.
In turn, Assistant Culture Minister Tawfiq al-Imam noted to the great efforts exerted by the General Department of Antiquities and Museums and the Ministry of Culture to set up this important exhibition, which shows the volume of the destruction that affected the Syrian antiquities due to attacks of terrorist organizations, which tried and still trying to blur the identity and civilization of Syria, adding that some of the pictures shown in the exhibition dating back to prehistoric times.
Eng. Yara Wafai, for her part, said that the exhibition spots light on the illegal trade of Syrian relics and the efforts exerted with Interpol and the International Council of Museums to combat those traffickers.
For her part, Eng. Lamis Bakjaji pointed out that the excavations are still underway in some archeological sites, particularly in Amrit, Nahr al-Arab and Tal al-Shamiya in addition to the rehabilitation of some archeological buildings that were subjected to terrorism such as Krak des Chevaliers.