Replicas of Assyrian statues smashed by ISIS unveiled in Iraq's Mosul

Two high-tech replicas of iconic Assyrian statues destroyed by the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) in northern Iraq were unveiled on Thursday (October 24th) at the University of Mosul, AFP reported.

The real "lamassu" -- massive statues of winged bulls with human faces -- had adorned a royal throne room in the ancient city of Nimrud for centuries, and one was later exhibited in the Mosul Museum.

But ISIS militants destroyed the originals after they swept across northern Iraq in 2014, blowing up Nimrud and filming themselves taking hammers to pre-Islamic artefacts they deemed heretical.

Iraqi troops recaptured Mosul in mid-2017, but the museum has remained shuttered and the lamassu in ruins.

Using 3D recordings of lamassu fragments, the Spanish Factum Foundation created copies, erected this week outside the student library at the University of Mosul.

"This gift is a message of hope that Mosul has returned to normal and its people must build their city," Spanish Ambassador Juan Jose Escobar said at the statues' unveiling.

University student Ilaf Muhannad said she was elated to see her university house the statues.

"I'm so happy today to see the lamassu statues placed here, because it represents the civilisation and heritage of Mosul. We demand the Iraqi government work on returning everything stolen from Mosul," she said.

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