IRAQ: Nineveh authorities bulldoze archeological lands close to ancient Nineveh Wall

MOSUL/ANKAWA, Iraq – In a blind building frenzy to construct parts of a road close to the ancient Assyrian Nineveh Wall near the Nergal Gate, construction workers hired by the Nineveh Governate have flattened and bulldozed parts of the archeological site of the Nineveh Wall and approaches to the Nergal Gate. The archeologic site is owned by the Iraqi Antiquities Authority and is located in the Western part of the city of Mosul, known as the Nergal neighborhood. Nineveh authorities deny the allegations and claim the images date back to the time when terrorist organization ISIS destroyed the archeological site.

Former Syriac Member of Iraqi Parliament Joseph Sliwa, expressed his condemnation of the violations and spoke of an “heinous crime committed against the history of Iraq under the eyes of and with knowledge by the local authorities in the Nineveh Governorate, which is bulldozing antiquities dating back thousands of years inside the city of Mosul.” Beth Nahrin (Mesopotamia) is an area rich with ancient history and endowed with many Akkadian, Assyrian, Chaldean, and Aramean archaeological sites.

“There are citizens who have proof of their ownership of those lands, it is part of their property. When antiquities were discovered decades ago, the state laid hands on that property. Some of those citizens claim that the Iraqi state has never compensated them,” Sliwa added.

Joseph Sliwa confirmed that he would personally go to the site to verify and follow the case closely, and that if the attacks on the Nineveh Wall continue, he will formally escalate the case with the Iraqi Ministry of Culture. Sliwa has asked the Minister of Culture, Tourism, and Antiquities to stop the encroachment on the ancient Nineveh Wall and Nergal Gate. According to a Tweet by Sliwa, the Ministry of Culture responded promptly.