France, UAE launch fund to safegaurd monuments from Islamic extremists in Iraq

Museums in Iraq, Roman-era temples in Syria and ancient stucco buildings in medieval Yemeni ports have been spoiled by wars.

Updated: Dec 03, 2016, 20:42 PM IST
France, UAE launch fund to safegaurd monuments from Islamic extremists in Iraq

Doha: A $100 million fund launched by France and the United Arab Emirates on Saturday to protect heritage sites after the destruction of an ancient palace by Islamic state militants in Iraq.

President Francois Hollande and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan announced the fund at an Abu Dhabi conference which will be used to transport and restore monuments damaged by war, UAE state news agency WAM reported.

"Conflict causes irreparable damage to valuable heritage sites in Syria, Iraq, Mali and many others," WAM quoted Mohammed al-Mubarak, chairman of Abu Dhabi`s tourism and culture authority, as saying.

"Today, we establish a $100 million fund to focus on protecting and rebuilding these sites."

Museums in Iraq, Roman-era temples in Syria and ancient stucco buildings in medieval Yemeni ports have been spoiled by wars that have swept the region since 2011.

The International military coalition, fighting Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria say that they want to protect artefacts threatened by air strikes, smugglers and militant groups.

In 2015, several monuments including the Baal Shamin temple in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra were dynamited by Islamic State fighters.

Hollande told the UNESCO conference, referring to Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, "This fanaticism is an attack on civilizations and thus on the unity of the human species."

He has also rebuked Syrian authorities for destroying Syria`s diverse cultural heritage. 

"In Aleppo, those who have chosen to unleash violence kill the Syrian people twice over – in the flesh with the bombing raids and the massacres which are taking place and in memory by (destroying) the most prestigious objects of humanity," he said.