An SDF fighter at Jabar Caste, west of Raqqa / ANHA

09/01/2017 - 15:36 0
SDF fighters committed to protecting cultural heritage, archeological sites in Syria

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters in the Wrath of Euphrates Operation to liberate the Islamic State's self-declared capital Raqqa, have said they are committed to protecting archeological sites liberated from the jihadist group.

SDF fighters liberated the strategic and historically important Jabar Castle in the western countryside of Raqqa on Friday.

Jabar Castle (Qal'at Ja'bar), which dates back at least a thousand years is a cultural heritage site. Fighters have said they consider this a symbolic and historic achievement.

SDF fighter Shiyar Ali told ANHA that the liberation of the site was a strategic part of the plan from the beginning and achieved with the sacrifices of their members.

"I send my congratulations to the Syrian people and our fighters on the liberation of Jabar Castle," Ali said.

Another fighter Agid Muhammad promised the liberation of more areas and said, “we have liberated the castle and will protect it; we promise the Syrian people that we will protect all archeological sites."

According to reports the Islamic State group had damaged parts of the castle while trying to dig underground tunnels. The group is known for destroying archeological sites in Iraq and Syria.

Andrew Curry from National Geographic has written: "the group claims the destruction of ancient sites is religiously motivated; Its militants have targeted well-known ancient sites along with more modern graves and shrines belonging to other Muslim sects, citing idol worship to justify their actions. At the same time, ISIS has used looting as a moneymaking venture to finance military operations.

The Wrath of Euphrates Campaign to liberate Raqqa was launched on 5 November 2016 with the second phase beginning on 10 December. The liberation of Jabar Castle is considered the most important achievement in the operation since the beginning of the New Year.

Source: ANHA,