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Ancient Syrian mosaics crumble under weight of war

The war in Syria has destroyed many of its ancient mosaics and threatens the craft of making them.
A man works on a mosaic artwork, copied from an original painting, in a workshop in Kafranbel town in the Idlib governorate January 17, 2015. The workshop has 30 workers who manufacture artistic and revolutionary mosaics in Kafranbel. Each mosaic artwork takes 5 to 10 days to complete. The artists exhibit their artwork in local and international exhibitions, and have a scheduled exhibition this month about the "Syrian Revolution" in Turkey. Picture taken January 17, 2015. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi  (SYRIA - Tag
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Syria is home to some of the oldest mosaics ever found. As far back as 1500 BC, artists in the region have used small pieces of colored stone, glass and shells to create large images of daily life, animals or complex geometric shapes.

After years of war, however, many of the country's ancient mosaics have been destroyed or looted. Contemporary mosaics, the work of Syrian craftsmen who struggle to keep up the craft of their grandfathers, find few if any buyers.

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