Syrian Expatriate Presents Damascus National Museum Two Syrian Archeological Pieces, Previously Smuggled to Italy in 1960s

DAMASCUS, (ST)-  Syrian Expatriate, Dr. Radwan Khawatmi, who  has been living in Italy over the past 50 years, has presented the Damascus National Museum two Syrian archeological pieces that were previously smuggled to Italy in the 1960s of last century.

Dr. Khawatmi had seen these two Syrian artifacts being sold in an auction in Italy, so he bought them with the purpose of presenting them to the Damascus National Museum, their normal place.

The General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM) held on Monday a special ceremony under the patronage of Culture Ministry at the National Museum in Damascus to celebrate receiving the present.  

The ceremony was attended by Tourism Minister Muhammad Redwan Mrtini, Syria's Grand Mufti Ahmad Badr Eddin Hassoun, the GDAM Director General Mahmoud Hamoud in addition to archeology experts and researchers.

The two artifacts are two shutters of a door made of basalt that go back to the Byzantine era and on which floral and geometric motifs were applied in relief sculpture technique.

During the ceremony, Dr. Khawatmi said that he left Syria 50 years ago, but the homeland was always in his mind and heart, particularly during the years of war. He has tried during these years to contribute to alleviating Syria's pain, so he made a great initiative by recovering the two Syrian archeological pieces to the homeland.

Culture Minister Mohammad al-Ahmad affirmed the importance of Dr. Khawatmi's initiative, because it expresses his loyalty to the history and antiquities of his country while the Syrian cultural heritage has been exposed to the most heinous acts of destruction since the beginning of the terrorist war imposed on Syria."

Mahmoud Hamoud, the GDAM's Director-General told SANA that despite the crimes of looting and vandalism committed against the Syrian heritage, there are many people who are interested in preserving and protecting this heritage.

"When Dr, Khawatmi  saw these two artifacts being sold in an auction, he bought them and presented them to the Damascus National Museum, where they belong," Hamoud said.

Hamda Mustafa