Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat :

Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Remembering D-Day: Key Facts about the Invasion That Changed the Course of World War II 

The Utah Beach Monument is pictured ahead of the 80th anniversary of the 1944 D-Day landings in Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, Normandy region, France, June 2, 2024. (Reuters)
The Utah Beach Monument is pictured ahead of the 80th anniversary of the 1944 D-Day landings in Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, Normandy region, France, June 2, 2024. (Reuters)
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Remembering D-Day: Key Facts about the Invasion That Changed the Course of World War II 

The Utah Beach Monument is pictured ahead of the 80th anniversary of the 1944 D-Day landings in Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, Normandy region, France, June 2, 2024. (Reuters)
The Utah Beach Monument is pictured ahead of the 80th anniversary of the 1944 D-Day landings in Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, Normandy region, France, June 2, 2024. (Reuters)

The June 6, 1944, D-Day invasion of Nazi-occupied France was unprecedented in scale and audacity, using the largest-ever armada of ships, troops, planes and vehicles to punch a hole in Adolf Hitler's defenses in western Europe and change the course of World War II.

With veterans and world dignitaries gathering in Normandy to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the landings, here's a look at some details about how the operation unfolded.

WHO TOOK PART Nearly 160,000 Allied troops landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944. Of those, 73,000 were from the United States and 83,000 from Britain and Canada. Forces from several other countries were also involved, including French troops fighting with Gen. Charles de Gaulle.

The Allies faced around 50,000 German forces.

More than 2 million Allied soldiers, sailors, pilots, medics and other people from a dozen countries were involved in the overall Operation Overlord, the battle to wrest western France from Nazi control that started on D-Day.

WHERE AND WHEN The sea landings started at 6:30 a.m., just after dawn, targeting five code-named beaches: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, Sword. The operation also included actions inland, including overnight parachute landings on strategic German sites and US Army Rangers scaling cliffs to take out German gun positions.

Around 11,000 Allied aircraft, 7,000 ships and boats, and thousands of other vehicles were involved.

VICTIMS ON ALL SIDES A total of 4,414 Allied troops were killed on D-Day itself, including 2,501 Americans. More than 5,000 were wounded.

In the ensuing Battle of Normandy, 73,000 Allied forces were killed and 153,000 wounded. The battle — and especially Allied bombings of French villages and cities — killed around 20,000 French civilians.

The exact German casualties aren’t known, but historians estimate between 4,000 and 9,000 men were killed, wounded or missing during the D-Day invasion alone. About 22,000 German soldiers are among the many buried around Normandy.

SURVIVORS Inevitably, the number of survivors present at major anniversary commemorations in France continues to dwindle. The youngest survivors are now in their late 90s. It's unclear how many D-Day veterans are still alive. The US Department of Veterans Affairs says it doesn't track their numbers.



Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Cyprus Displays Jewelry, Early Christian Icons and Bronze Age Antiquities Once Looted From Island

A presidential security officer stands behind antiquities repatriated from Germany and put on display at the Archeological museum, in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Monday, July 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
A presidential security officer stands behind antiquities repatriated from Germany and put on display at the Archeological museum, in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Monday, July 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
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Cyprus Displays Jewelry, Early Christian Icons and Bronze Age Antiquities Once Looted From Island

A presidential security officer stands behind antiquities repatriated from Germany and put on display at the Archeological museum, in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Monday, July 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
A presidential security officer stands behind antiquities repatriated from Germany and put on display at the Archeological museum, in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Monday, July 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

Cyprus on Monday put on display artifacts — some of them thousands of years old — that were returned after a Turkish art dealer looted them from the ethnically divided island nation decades ago.
Aydin Dikmen took the artifacts from the country's breakaway north in the years after Cyprus’ split in 1974, when Turkiye invaded following a coup mounted by supporters of union with Greece. The antiquities were kept in Germany after authorities there seized them in 1997, and protracted legal battles secured their repatriation in three batches, the last one this year.
Addressing the unveiling ceremony at Cyprus' archaeological museum, President Nikos Christodoulides said the destruction of a country’s cultural heritage as evidenced in recent conflicts becomes a “deliberate campaign of cultural and religious cleansing that aims to eliminate identity.”
Among the 60 most recently returned artifacts put on display include jewelry from the Chalcolithic Period between 3500-1500 B.C. and Bronze Age bird-shaped idols.
Antiquities that Dikmen also looted but were returned years ago include 1,500-year-old mosaics of Saints Luke, Mark, Matthew and James. They are among the few examples of early Christian works to survive the Iconoclastic period in the 8th and 9th centuries when most such works were destroyed.
Cyprus' authorities and the country's Orthodox Church for decades have been hunting for the island’s looted antiquities and centuries-old relics from as many as 500 churches in open auctions and on the black market.
The museum's antiquities curator, Eftychia Zachariou, told the ceremony that Cyprus in recent years has benefited from a shift in thinking among authorities in many countries who now opt to repatriate antiquities of dubious provenance.