“We emptied Syria’s museums. They are in effect empty halls, with the exception of large pieces that are difficult to move,” Abdulkarim told Reuters during a visit to neighbouring Jordan.
Tens of thousands of artefacts spanning 10,000 years of history were removed to specialist warehouses to avoid a repeat of the storming of Baghdad’s museum by looters a decade ago, in the wake of the U.S. invasion and overthrow of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, he said.
Syria’s own 23-month-old conflict is tearing the country apart and has raised international concerns over the fate of one of the richest and most diverse historical collections of any single nation.
Story: Suleiman Al-Khalidi, Reuters | Photo: Reuters/Asmaa Waguih/Files