The cul­tural cost of war and what can pre­vent it

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The wars that have torn apart Syria and Iraq have also led to a huge amount of cul­tural loss. Ar­chae­o­log­i­cal sites have been de­stroyed and price­less arte­facts have been looted and even found their way onto west­ern mar­kets. This ex­hi­bi­tion in Amer­ica re­flects on this loss. Syr­ian artist Is­sam Kour­baj pro­vides a mod­ern-day re­sponse to these themes, while the show also show­cases the vi­tal work be­ing done by the Univer­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia and Smith­so­nian In­sti­tu­tion along with peo­ple and groups in the Mid­dle East to tackle this prob­lem. Cul­tures in the Cross­fire: Sto­ries from Syria and Iraq runs at the Penn Mu­seum in Philadel­phia un­til Novem­ber 26. For more in­for­ma­tion visit­seum.

Ma­her Al Mounes / AFP

The an­cient city of Palmyra in Syria is a Unesco world her­itage site. It has been sub­ject to loot­ing.

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