Iraq declares UN initiative to rehabilitate ancient sites in Nineveh

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by Mohammed Ebraheem
Nimrud Lamassu’s at the North West Palace of Ashurnasirpal, Iraq
Baghdad ( – Iraq uncovered on Sunday a UN initiative to rehabilitate ancient sites which were devastated by Islamic State extremists during their capture of Nineveh province earlier.

Speaking to IKH News, Iraq’s deputy tourism and antiquities minister Qais Hussein Rashid said the initiative, brokered by the UN and several other countries, aims at “re-constructing touristic, archaeological and heritage sites destroyed by terrorist IS gangs in the city of Mosul.”

“The rehabilitation process will mainly focus on the walls and tombs of the ancient Assyrian city,” Rashid pointed out.

He stressed that countries like the UAE, Kuwait, the US and Britain will take part in the UN-brokered initiative, besides many other countries.

Last week, Iraqi security forces foiled a plot by Islamic State militants to detonate an ancient citadel in Tal Afar district in Nineveh.

Several archaeological sites in Iraq suffered grievous damage at the hands of the Islamic State group, which declared a caliphate in the summer of 2014 from Mosul city.

After capturing the second largest city of Mosul, the IS group released a series of videos, showing its members smashing artifacts at Mosul Museum and blowing up parts of the site of the Assyrian capital of Nimrud.

Several activists, officials and historians condemned IS at the time for the destruction of the ancient Assyrian archaeological sites, while UNESCO described the act as a war crime.