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Turkish-backed militants destroy archeological sites in northern Syria

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The file photo shows the archeological hills in Balikh basin in Raqqah, Syria. (Photo by SANA)

Turkish military forces and Ankara-backed Takfiri militants have reportedly destroyed several archeological sites in Syria's northern province of Raqqah in an attempt to wipe out the Arab country’s cultural identity.

Syria’s official news agency SANA, citing a Syrian cultural official, said Turkish forces have swept away a number of the archaeological hills in Balikh basin. The heritage sites included Tell Hammam al-Turkman, Tell Sahlan, Tell Aswad and Tell Jatal.

Dr. Mahmoud Hammoud, director general of Antiquities and Museums, said Turkish-backed militants are systematically sabotaging Syria’s archeological sites and monuments and looting the antiquities in order to destroy the country’s cultural heritage and identity.

Hammoud further called on international bodies to help stop the crimes committed by Turkish-backed militants against the Syrian heritage, which he described as “savagery practices against the antiquities.”

He also demanded the international community to protect the important archeological sites of Syria that date back to the seventh and eighth millennium BC.

Ankara-backed militants were deployed to northeastern Syria last October after Turkish military forces launched a long-threatened cross-border invasion in a declared attempt to push militants of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) away from border areas.

Ankara views the US-backed YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.

The offensive came to a halt shortly after following an agreement between Ankara and Moscow.

Turkey has played a major role supporting terrorists in Syria ever since a major foreign-backed insurgency overtook the country nine years ago.

Nonetheless, with the Syrian government gradually regaining control over most of Syria, Turkey has instead sought to enlist the terrorists in its operations against Kurds in northern Syria.

The Syrian government has, nonetheless, firmly rejected the Turkish-led operations as a blatant violation of its sovereignty and has vowed to liberate the whole country from foreign-led occupation.

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