Did you see the George Clooney movie, Monuments Men? It was based on something that occurred in World War II. There was a military group of mostly academics who boldly saved paintings and other pieces of Europe’s cultural heritage from the Nazis.
Right now something similar is happening in Syria. A group of archaeologists is moving to save ancient artifacts and archaeological sites from ISIS. The WSJ article is here.
But much has already happened.
Alongside the human cost, the cultural damage has mounted. Ancient cities such as Homs and Aleppo have been reduced to rubble. Roman, Greek, Babylonian and Assyrian sites have been destroyed by fighting and looting, and five of the six Unesco World Heritage sites in Syria have been seriously damaged.
Some of the country’s grandest museums have been plundered or are at risk, including the Mosaic Museum in Idlib province, filled with Roman-era works. In the markets in southern Turkish cities like Gaziantep, Roman vases robbed from graves are being sold by the boxload.