PARIS/ROME, MARCH 9 – While the campaign for the liberation of Mosul proceeds, UNESCO announced the liberation of the local museum by the Iraqi armed forces: “It is a turning point for peace building, for the recovery of the Iraqi people and the protection of humanity’s cultural heritage,” the Director-General of the organization, Irina Bokova, said in a statement.
“The museum suffered severe degradations and the entire world witnessed the images of the destruction of its collections in 2015. The emotion provoked at the time must now catalyze into concrete support from the entire international community. UNESCO will soon go on site, determined to work alongside the Iraqi government and with all its partners to mobilize all efforts to safeguard and transmit this heritage”, she added.
Attended by the Italian Carabinieri, whose special unit for the protection of culturale heritage is internationally recognized as a leader in the field, the most recent International Conference on the Protection of the Heritage in the Liberated Areas of Iraq (organized by UNESCO in Paris, 23-24 February 2017) identified priorities for action and the liberation of the museum is a call to accelerate this effort, said Bokova.
The latest progress in the battle for Mosul marks a crucial phase for Iraq: “The military campaign is moving swiftly and the end of Daesh militants’ direct control over a great part of Iraq is probably within reach”, the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Angelino Alfano, said during a “question time” session of the Italian Parliament.