Iraq's National Museum on Sunday welcomed the return of more than 700 antiquities stolen during the chaos that followed the U.S.-led invasion five years ago.
Golden necklaces, daggers, clay statues, pots, and other artifacts were displayed briefly during a ceremony attended by Syrian and Iraqi officials.
Syrian authorities seized the items from traffickers over the years and handed custody last week to an Iraqi delegation in Damascus.
Mohammad Abbas al-Oreibi, Iraq's acting state minister of tourism and archaeology who led the negotiations with Syria, said he plans to visit Jordan soon to persuade its authorities to turn over more than 150 items.
"This was a positive initiative taken by Syria, and we wish the same initiative to be taken by all neighboring countries," he said.
"The treasures contain very important and valuable pieces."
7,000 Years of History
Looting broke out in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities following Saddam's ouster in April 2003.
Museums were ransacked and thousands of items taken, dealing a harsh blow to collections that chronicled some 7,000 years of civilization in Mesopotamia including the ancient Babylonians, Sumerians, and Assyrians.
Iraqi and world culture officials have struggled to retrieve the treasures with little success.
Between 3,000 to 7,000 pieces are still believed missing, including about 40 to 50 that are considered to be of great historic importance, Laurent Levi-Strauss of the U.N. cultural body UNESCO said last month.
Artifacts have been recovered before, but Hassan said Syria was the first country to return such a large quantity of stolen antiquities, and officials hoped others would follow its lead.