Archeological site of Sheran, another victim of Islamic State

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Image showing one of the ancient masterworks in Sheran. File photo

ARA News

Suruc, Turkey – The Kurdish-populated village of Sheran (Arslan Tash) in the eastern countryside of Kobane has paid a big price for months of battles with militants of the Islamic State group (IS/ISIS), who had taken the village as a military base for their operations against the Kurdish forces. The historic village, which contains dozens of ancient monuments, has been under control of the Islamic State since Sept. 2014, until its liberation by the Kurdish forces last February. 

Some of the ancient ruins and monuments were destroyed under the blows of the U.S.-led coalition’s airstrikes; while others were deliberately destroyed by IS militants, who were stationed there. Some of these archeological sites date back thousands of years, such as ruins of the Assyrian city of Hedato. 

According to the Kurdish researcher and historian Mohsin Seida, the Syrian regime and IS extremists has destroyed a large amount of the historic ruins and monuments in Sheran. 

“Unfortunately, since the start of the Syrian uprising in 2011, many archeological sites have been exposed to destruction by pro-Assad forces and militants of the Islamic State,” Seida told ARA News.

“Sheran’s historic monuments and other archeological locations in Syria have avoided destruction throughout history. Ironically, this four-year-conflict was the most destructive.” Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 23.23.37

“We appeal to all the international organizations to bear responsibility of protecting the cultural heritage of Syria,” he added.

The Kurdish historian added: “The archaeological sites in Sheran are among the most important locations of the third millennium BC, and the importance of this historic area in Syria’s history stems from its association with the Assyrian name of the city (Arslan Tash) on behalf of the Assyrian emperor Tiglath Pileser III, who built a royal palace in the city.” 

“Subsequent to the fall of the Assyrian Empire, the city lost its importance, while recovered relative prosperity in the Greek period. During excavations in 1928, remnants of a Greek palace were found on the ruins of the Assyrian royal palace where Arslan Tash was the military capital of a province in the empire,” Sieda added

The Kurdish researcher went further to shed light on the significance of Sheran site, saying: “We should mention those voyagers and archaeologists who visited the site and wrote their observations about it. Among others, Sheran was a destination to the British archeologist Francis Chesney, who visited the site in 1835, and the Ottoman artist and director of Istanbul Museum, Hamdi Bey, as well as the German archaeologists Max Oppenheim, French Prospector and Danjan Toro, who excavated the site in 1928.”

Noteworthy, militants of the Islamic State blew major monuments in Sheran area before withdrawal last month,while several other sites in the area were subjected to sabotage amid the daily fighting and shelling over the last five months. 

 

Reporting by: Mohammed Ali

Source: ARA News

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