Joe Parkinson, Ayla Albayrak and Duncan Mavin, 17 February 2015, Courtesy of the Wall Street Journal and The Australian, where the title reads “The Secret War against Islamic State waged by Academics“
IN a hotel basement on the Turkish side of this combat-scarred frontier, a group of unlikely warriors is training to fight on a little-known front of Syria’s civil war: the battle for the country’s cultural heritage. The recruits aren’t grizzled fighters, but greying academics, more at home on an archaeological dig than a battlefield. For months, they have journeyed across war-torn regions of Syria, braving shelling, smugglers and the jihadists of Islamic State.
Their mission: to save ancient artefacts and imperilled archaeological sites from profiteers, as well as desperate civilians and fundamentalists who have plundered Syria’s rich artistic heritage to fund their war effort.
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