Iraqi army recaptures ancient city of Nimrud from Islamic State

The Iraqi army says it has recaptured the ancient city of Nimrud from Islamic State. The militant group took the 3,000-year-old city, near Mosul in northern Iraq, in April last year. The Iraqi military said: “Troops from the Ninth Armoured Division liberated Nimrud town completely and raised the Iraqi flag above its buildings.” Nimrud was founded in the 13th century BC and contains one of the most famous archaeological sites in a country dubbed the cradle of civilisation.

The only weapons they have left are car bombs and explosives.

Iraqi special forces Major General Sami al-Aridi

After capturing the city, IS released a video appearing to show its fighters smashing up ancient artefacts and blowing up the Assyrian site. The destruction was part of a campaign by IS against heritage sites under their control that also took in ancient Nineveh on the outskirts of Mosul, Hatra in the desert to the south and Palmyra in neighbouring Syria. IS said shrines and statues were “false idols” that had to be smashed. The United Nation described the act as a war crime, and it is unclear what still remains of Nimrud’s ancient ruins. Many of its monumental stone sculptures and reliefs were taken away for display in museums around the world, but some of the bigger structures remained in place when IS took control.