Iraq's southern marshlands, the Ahwar of Southern Iraq, are "unique, as one of the world's largest inland delta systems, in an extremely hot and arid environment," Unesco said.
The wetlands, which once sprawled across more than 7,000 square miles, are much smaller than they once were. Saddam Hussein drained most of the water in the 1990s for fear they would be used by rebel groups for cover.
According to The Atlantic, however, the area has "slowly recovered since" and the new protections offered by UNESCO's announcement will mean that it is preserved for years to come...
...Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi praised UNESCO's descision to protect the marshlands and vowed that Iraqi culture would continue to flourish "despite the destruction and demolition of Iraqi heritage and antiquities by barbaric terrorist gangs..."