Regional governments have to work with international bodies such as UNESCO to protect the cultural heritage of the region, Iranian Culture Minister Ali Jannati told reporters in Lebanon.
He regretted that currently "extremist groups like the ISIL destroy the invaluable cultural and historical heritage in Iraq and Syria as previously did al-Qaeda in Afghanistan".
In December, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova had called for the creation of “protected cultural zones” around heritage sites in Syria and Iraq.
The ISIL recently razed 3,000-year-old Nimrud and bulldozed 2,000-year-old Hatra in Iraq, events described by UNESCO as “cultural cleansing”.
A UN resolution adopted on February 12 bans all trade with antiquities illegally removed from conflict zones in Iraq and Syria.
UNESCO has classified six Syrian sites -including the ancient cities of Aleppo and Damascus- and two Iraqi sites in its list of world heritage in danger.
The ISIL extremists last year captured Iraq’ Northern city of Mosul and its surroundings, a region where nearly 1,800 of Iraq’s 12,000 registered archaeological sites are located.
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