100+ archaeological sites need restoration in Syria’s Raqqa

RAQQA, Syria (North Press) – The co-chair of the Archaeology and Culture Committee of the Raqqa Civil Council, Khitam al-Abdullah, said on Sunday that more than 100 archaeological sites in the city of Raqqa are now in need of restoration. 

“The archaeological sites in Raqqa were subjected to significant damages and encroachments due to the military operations between 2012 and 2017,” al-Abdullah told North Press.

“The current capabilities of the committee are not enough for the restoration of the sites that were vandalized and excavated,” she added.

During their control of Raqqa, ISIS members randomly excavated some archaeological sites and turned others into trenches and military points, according to al-Abdullah.

The Archaeological Committee restored about three sites partially, including Qasr al-Banat, the Archaeological Wall of Raqqa and the Raqqa Museum, al-Abdullah noted.

Raqqa is famous for its historical sites and hills, some of which date back to before the Common Era and the Abbasid era. 

Before 2012, Raqqa witnessed archaeological excavation campaigns and foreign and local missions who aimed to excavate its antiquities, studying its sites and the history of civilizations that passed through it.

However, these campaigns and missions have stopped since the war in Syria began, according to archaeologists in Raqqa. 

Recently, the Raqqa Civil Council restored the “Hercules Ovens” for manufacturing bricks used in restoration of buildings and archaeological sites in Raqqa.

Reporting by Omar Alloush