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Iraq steps up efforts to restore lost heritage at ancient Nimrud

After the defeat of the Islamic State in Mosul, a campaign to reconstruct the ancient city of Nimrud with the cooperation of UNESCO has begun.
A member of Iraqi army walks at the remains of wall panels and colossal statues of winged bulls, destroyed by Islamic State militants in the Assyrian city of Nimrud eastern bank of the Tigris River, south of Mosul, Iraq, November 16, 2016. REUTERS/Ari Jalal - RTX2TYPA

Iraqi authorities announced last month that UNESCO has started the first stage of the restoration of the ancient city of Nimrud, which is located on the banks of the Tigris River, about 20 miles south of Mosul. The city was liberated from the Islamic State (IS) in November 2016 and is the cradle of the Assyrian civilization founded in the 13th century B.C.

In 2015, IS wreaked havoc on archaeological sites in the city, using bulldozers and explosives to destroy monumental landmarks, while filming all these acts of vandalism and destruction. According to a press statement by Qais Rashid, the undersecretary of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Antiquities, following Nimrud's liberation, 70% of the city’s antiquities were destroyed. Moreover, Iraqi army Maj. Gen. Diyaa Kazem al-Saidi, who took part in the liberation of the city, said that 200 ancient paintings were stolen from Nimrud.

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