Baghdad: Iraqi forces recaptured the ancient village of Nimrud and the site of the ruins as part of the ongoing battle for Mosul, the Islamic State (IS) terror group’s last major stronghold in the war-torn country.
The recapture took place on Sunday, according to Colonel Mohammed Ibrahim, a spokesman for Iraq’s Joint operations command.
While the village was now under control by Iraqi forces, clashes were still underway to retake the town, less than a mile west of the ruins, Ibrahim told CNN.
Nimrud is 30 km southeast of Mosul.
Archeologists first began excavating the Assyrian city of Nimrud — built nearly 3,000 years ago — in the 1840s.
In the decades that followed, they unearthed priceless treasures from the city, including palaces adorned with unique frescoes and giant sculptures.
Last year, the IS blew up the ancient walled city.
Unesco described the deliberate destruction of Nimrud as a “war crime”.
Nimrud flourished between 900 B.C. and 612 B.C. Buildings there “have yielded thousands of carved ivories, mostly made in the 9th and 8th centuries B.C., now one of the richest collections of ivory in the world,” according to Encyclopedia Britannica’s website.
The famous British mystery novelist Agatha Christie accompanied her husband, archaeologist Max Mallowan, at his excavation in Nimrud and helped clean some of the ivories.
The Iraqi and Kurdish troop offensive to liberate Mosul began on October 17 with a three-pronged offensive along the north, south and eastern fronts, which has enabled the liberation of various eastern Mosul neighbourhoods.