0228 GMT January 27, 2020
The Syrian administration in northeastern Syria said the 1,097 pieces — which were part of the original nearly 7,000 relics in the Raqqa museum — have been saved.
The museum was looted and damaged by terrorists, but was stripped of most of its belonging when Daesh terrorists seized control of the city in 2014. The terrorists were defeated and expelled from Raqqa in 2017. Since then, the local administration has been working to rehabilitate the museum and account for any remaining antiquities.
Maamoun Abdul-Karim, Syria's former director general of Antiquities and Museums, told AP the 1,097 relics were among 5,800 pieces stashed away safely.
He said that “heroic staff of the museum" had worked to hide as much as they could as terrorists advanced on the city.
Since the city was liberated, the museum staff have been looking for what remains of the hidden treasures, he said. The final tally of pieces accounted for is 1,097 relics, which include Islamic and roman mosaics, coins from various eras and Islamic stucco decorations.
Abdul-Karim said most of those recovered were found in a warehouse just outside of Raqqa city, where they had hidden them from the terrorists in underground chambers and under concealed doors.
“At one point, we had lost hope,” said Abdul-Karim, who now teaches at Damascus University. “We now consider this the biggest victory.”
He said hundreds of other pieces that were hidden in Raqqa's branch of the central bank were discovered and stolen by terrorists.