Kuwait seeks heritage status for Failaka Island

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Kuwait's Failaka Island.

Kuwait's Failaka Island.

Kuwait is hoping that an island which was depopulated when Iraqi forces invaded during the Gulf War could be added to the World Heritage List.

Kuwait's permanent delegation to the UNESCO, Ali Ahmad Al-Tarrah, said he has submitted a bid for Failaka Island to be included in the list which aims to identify cultural and natural heritage sites around the world and protect them.

"Kuwait's National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters (NCCAL) developed the Failaka file which has been tendered to World Heritage Center," Al-Tarrah told Kuwait News Agency.

"The file sets forth the historical and humanitarian significance of the island," he said. 

Prior to the Iraqi invasion, the island had over 2,000 residents and several schools.

During 1990 and 1991, the invading Iraqis depopulated the island, expelling all of its residents to the mainland.

The Iraqi military mined the beaches and used the island's facilities and buildings for target practice. In 1991, the allied forces forced the Iraqi army forces occupying the island to surrender.

After the war, Failaka was cleared of mines, but it remains under military use. Nevertheless, Failaka Island is becoming a popular holiday destination from Kuwait City.

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