Archaeologists restore ancient Palmyra artefacts in Damascus museum
DAMASCUS - Reuters
In the National Museum of Damascus, archaeologist Muntajab Youssef works on an ancient stone bust from Palmyra, one of hundreds of artefacts his team is painstakingly restoring after they were damaged by ISIL.
Centuries-old statues and sculptures were wrecked by the jihadists when they twice seized control of the old city in central Syria during the country's war, which will go into its ninth year in March.
After Syrian government forces took back the city with Russian military support in March 2016, the bust, alongside other damaged ancient monuments, was taken to Damascus and archived in boxes. When restoration work on it began last year, Youssef said it was in pieces.
"The hands and face were lost completely, also parts of the dress and there are areas that are weaker," Youssef, who has been working on the bust for two months, said.
How many artefacts there are in total is difficult to say, given the state they were found in.
The lack of documentation for the artefacts also adds to the restoration challenge.
"A statue needs pictures ... in order to be rebuilt."