Lebanon Just Returned Over 300 Historical Artifacts To Iraq

AP Photo/ Bilal Hussein

Lebanon’s Minister of Culture, Mohammed Murtada, handed over 337 ancient artifacts that had been on display in a Lebanese museum for years.

The handover was done during a ceremony at the National Museum of Beirut, headed by the Lebanese Minister of Culture, Mohammed Murtada, and in the presence of Iraq’s ambassador to Lebanon Haider Shyaa Al-Barrak.

“We are celebrating the handing over of 337 artifacts that are of different eras of civilizations in Mesopotamia,” said Ambassador Al-Barrak during the ceremony, pointing that “this will not be the last handover.”

The artifacts, which include clay tablets and stone relics, had been recently stored at the Nabu Museum in northern Lebanon.

The report gave no further details about the artifacts’ provenance and how they ended in Lebanon’s possession.

Iraq has suffered massive thefts of its antiquities during its decades of war and crises, and mostly after the US-led 2003 invasion that tumbled Saddam Hussein.

Now, Iraq is trying to recuperate what could be possible to recuperate, considering that many of its historical artifacts could have landed in private residences, and many have been also destroyed during the war.

Iraq’s relentless efforts have not been unproductive, though. It has managed, since 2016, to bring back home to its museum over half a dozen shipments of antiquities, precious artifacts, and historical documents.

According to Minister Murtada to Iraq’s state-run news agency, a Lebanese committee had been investigating the items since 2018.

Iraqi ambassador Al-Barrak expressed the gratitude of his government and the Iraqi people for Lebanon’s handover of these precious artifacts, citing the support of Lebanon’s prime minister and Minister of Culture “for the constant and continuous cooperation where things have reached their happy moments.”

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