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Assyrian Manuscripts Recovered From Suspected Islamic State Fighter in Mosul
By Joe Snell
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The Rev. John Botros Moshi, the Syriac Catholic archbishop of Mosul, Kirkuk, and the Kurdistan Region, stands in the rubble of the Tahera Church in Mosul on April 29, 2018. The church, badly damaged after the Islamic State took over the city, is being rebuilt by UNESCO. ( Zaid al-Obeidi/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi security forces have recovered dozens of hidden Syriac manuscripts that were stolen from Assyrian churches in Mosul during the city's occupation by the Islamic State (IS). The historical writings were found after a suspected IS fighter led to their location and were in his possession, according to a statement by Mosul police chief Laith Al Hamdani.

During the nearly three years that IS controlled large parts of Iraq and Syria, Iraqi Christians were largely driven from the region under threats of death unless they either converted to Islam or paid a "protection tax." Major manuscript collections in Mosul were among the casualties, "leaving behind only the digital images and a handful of severely damaged volumes," the Rev. Columba Stewart, a Benedictine monk and executive director of the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library in Minnesota, told Aleteia in October 2019.

Now, as Iraqi security forces supported by coalition troops continue to engage IS cells, they are uncovering stockpiles of stolen texts that are crucial to understanding and preserving ancient communities such as the Assyrians, an ethnic group indigenous to parts of Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran.

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