Bas-relief inscriptions at the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad.
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Jihadists, looters threaten ancient sites in Iraq, SyriaFor more than 5,000 years, numerous civilizations have left their mark on upper Mesopotamia – from Assyrians and Akkadians to Babylonians and Romans. When the militants overran the northern city of Mosul and surrounding Ninevah province in June, they captured a region were nearly 1,800 of Iraq's 12,000 registered archaeological sites are located. They snapped up even more as they pushed south toward Baghdad.Among the most important sites under their control are four ancient cities – Ninevah, Kalhu, Dur Sharrukin and Ashur – which were at different times the capital of the mighty Assyrian Empire. Authorities fear other sites will soon face destruction, including Mosul's city museum, which has rare collections of Assyrian artifacts, and the 2,300-year-old city of Hatra, a well-preserved complex of temples further south.In and around Mosul, the militants destroyed at least 30 historic sites, including the mosque shrines of the prophets Seth, Jirjis and Jonah.
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