After the Iraqi army reclaimed government buildings and the museum in Mosul from ISIS last Tuesday, March 7, it was revealed this weekend that the museum, which once contained many priceless, unique artifacts, had been almost completely cleared out and destroyed by the militant group.
The memory of the images broadcast by ISIS of members of the group smashing large statues and antiquities from the museum will still be present in people’s minds. Once Iraqi forces had secured areas of west Mosul and reporters could enter the museum on Saturday, it emerged that the museum—which had been used as a base during the fighting—had also been completely cleared out and decimated.
“They only destroyed that which they couldn’t loot, so many of the smaller items are gone,” Lieutenant Colonel Abdel Amir al-Mohammedawi, of the Rapid Response Division, told The Times. “They did not just steal the artifacts, they have stolen part of Iraqi history—part of my history. When my men fight for a site like the museum, or Nimrud [the ancient Assyrian city south of Mosul] they are not just fighting for Iraq’s future, they are fighting for its past too,” he added.