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Syria returns priceless archaeological artifact to Iraq.

Byline: SH/SR

BAGHDAD, July 3 (VOI) - Syrian Minister of Culture Riadh Naasan Agha on Wednesday handed a priceless archaeological artifact to the Iraqi Minister of Tourism and Archeology Mohammad Abbas al-Uraibi, Syrian news agency (SANA) reported on Thursday.

"The artifact was confiscated by Syrian authorities while it was being smuggled from Iraq to Syria," SANA said in a statement on its Web site.

"The artifact is a part of the Nimrod Temple, which is located in Northern Iraq near Mosul, and is around 100 CM high and 40 cm wide. It depicts the Assyrian Nimrod engraved on a type of stone that stores light during the day, causing it to glow in the dark," it added.

A month and a half ago, the Syrian Ministry of Culture handed over to al-Uraibi 701 archaeological artifacts that were confiscated from smugglers. Most of these artifacts were stolen from Iraqi museums during the invasion of Iraq.

Syrian Minister Naasan Agha announced that Syria possesses folkloric items and Iraqi traditional handicrafts that may belong to Iraqi museums, and that the authorities are working to catalog them in order to return them to Iraqi authorities, urging other countries to follow Syria's example and return stolen and smuggled Iraqi archaeological artifacts to their rightful owners.

For his part, Minister al-Uraibi thanked Syria for its care for Iraq's heritage, pointing out that Iraq lost more than 15,000 historical artifacts, some of which were returned by Syria and Jordan. He added that the Italian ambassador in Baghdad recently informed him that the Italian government will be returning 38 smuggled artifacts that were confiscated in Italy.

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Publication:Aswat al-Iraq (Erbil, Iraq)
Date:Jul 3, 2008
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