By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
After six years of closure due to the conflict of civil War, the Syrian Arab Republic’s Ministry of Culture announced the reopening of its national museum. The institution presents welcomed news not only in a sign of normalization within civilian life in Damascus, but a reversal of years of wanton destruction by iconoclastic jihadists and thefts by opportunists claiming spoils of war.
This past Sunday featured a symposium hosted by internationally recognized archaeologists and the arrangement of showcases presented to the general public. The re-opening followed a years long campaign against ISIS and other jihadists plaguing the vicinity of the capital.
ISIS brutalized Syria’s history and people: from destroying the ancient Temple of Baalshamin; emplacing land mines and traps around Palmyra; and the beheading of Archaeologist Khaled Asaad for his refusal to reveal the location of some of the country’s historical treasures.
Though this reversal of fortune is certainly laudable, there remains considerable armed conflict within the nation, especially in the Northwest.
Allepo continues to remain precariously close to war. The state museum in the old city remains shut and evacuated. In a testament to the situation several large statutes–unable to be moved due to their size–forced curators to protect these in-situ using large crates filled with concrete to protect against shrapnel.
The Syrian Arab Army relocated many artifacts from other remote locations in an attempt to preserve them from plunder. Restoration and reacquisition continues.
By Darren Smith
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