Stolen archaeological pieces returned to Syria

Germany has returned to Syria about 2,700 archaeological pieces stolen from this country three years ago, a Syrian official said Monday.Deputy Culture Minister Abdul-Razzak Mouaz said German police seized the pieces on the Swiss-German border in 2002, according to the state-run al-Thawra newspaper.

Bassam Jammous, director general of the Antiquities and Museums Department, told The Associated Press that the pieces include gold, bronze and silver coins, pottery, mosaics and clay tablets dating back to prehistoric times such as the Bronze Age.

"Scientifically, the pieces are invaluable," said Jammous, who received the pieces along with Mouaz at Damascus' international airport on Sunday, the AP reports.

A committee has been formed to study the pieces and learn their economic value.

Jammous said Syrian museums will display the pieces, which shed light on political, economic and social life in ancient Syria. Negotiations are also underway to recover four stolen Syrian mosaic tablets from France, Jammous said without elaborating. A.M.

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