(The Guardian) UNESCO has named Iraqi marshlands once ravaged by dictator Saddam Hussein as a world heritage site, a bright spot for a country where jihadists have repeatedly sought to wipe out history.
The area named “is made up of seven sites: three archaeological sites and four wetland marsh areas in southern Iraq,” UNESCO said.
“The archaeological cities of Uruk and Ur and the Tell Eridu archaeological site form part of the remains of the Sumerian cities and settlements that developed in southern Mesopotamia between the 4th and the 3rd millennium BCE,” it said.
“The Ahwar of southern Iraq – also known as the Iraqi marshlands – are unique, as one of the world’s largest inland delta systems, in an extremely hot and arid environment,” UNESCO said.
Iraq has been seeking world heritage status for the marshes since 2003, and its government hailed the move.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi congratulated the Iraqi people on UNESCO’s decision, and thanked “all those who contributed to this success.”
Abadi also said that culture in the country will continue “despite the destruction and demolition of Iraqi heritage and antiquities by barbaric terrorist gangs.”