The lion statue of Ain Dara: Revealing the fate of the icon of Syrian antiquities looted during the war

During the Syrian war, many archaeological sites were subjected to systematic looting and destruction. The disappearance of the basaltic lion of Ain Dara, located in the site of Ain Dara in northwest Syria, characterized by its historical and archaeological symbolism and dated to the end of the second millennium BC, now representing the icon of Syrian antiquities looted during the war, is considered one of the most ambiguous issues. Despite its importance, we have not seen any scientific reports or documented research confirming the fate of the statue. This research aims to reveal the fate of the statue of the lion of Ain Dara, and to determine how it was stolen, why and where it is now, through conducting a critical study of previous research and media reports that dealt with the subject in a superficial manner, which appeared in the form of an exchange of accusations between the conflicting parties without providing any evidence to support their stories. In addition, we will conduct semi-structured interviews with six participants who were in direct contact to the site during the looting period in 2019. And interviews with three lawyers, judges and three archaeologists who follow cases of looting of Syrian antiquities in order to provide a comprehensive analysis of the data and provide evidence that reveals The true fate of the lion statue of Ain Dara. The importance of the research lies in the importance of the stolen statue. In addition, the issue has been clearly politicized by all the conflicting parties over Syria. This makes the research an urgent necessity to reveal the truth on the one hand, and helps in the restoration of the statue in the future by revealing its location. What helps with this is our ability to reach people on the ground who were directly connected to the site during the looting of the statue, as well as data and information we previously had about the Ain Dara site and our current work to protect the site. And we have all the administrative and legal approvals that allow us to work and conduct the study. We hope from the current research to get real information about the theft of the statue and how the theft happened, and we will try to find out where the statue came from. The research will result in recommendations that can be sent to the competent authorities, especially international organizations, and provide them with important information about the theft of the statue to help them reach it. And maybe save him from theft. Thus, we have achieved our main goal, which is to protect Syrian antiquities and restore the lion statue.

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