Toronto based researcher works to preserve ancient Syriac inscriptions

Amir Harrak, professor of Syriac and Aramaic languages at the University of Toronto, poses for a photo in Toronto on Aug. 8, 2014. Mr. Harrak has been working to preserve rare inscriptions written in the ancient language of Syriac and the university has the world’s largest photograph collection of Syriac inscriptions from Iraq.
(Michelle Siu For The Globe and Mail)
More than a decade ago, Amir Harrak spent three sweltering summers in his native Iraq, photographing inscriptions written in the Classical Syriac language. The University of Toronto researcher had set out to document the centuries-old engravings, knowing many would eventually be lost.

In July, his worries returned when Islamic State militants took over the Catholic monastery of Mar Behnam in northern Iraq and detonated explosives that destroyed the Mosque of the Prophet Younis (Jonah), near the city of Mosul.