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Attempt to save Iraq's marshes from the desert

18 January 2011 Last updated at 12:04 GMT

The Mesopotamian Marshes in southern Iraq were once home to thousands of marsh Arabs, millions of birds - and rebels fighting against Saddam Hussein.

In the 1990s he ordered his engineers to drain the land as a punishment, turning the land to dust.

Now conservationist and environmental engineer Dr Azzam Alwash is attempting to restore the marshes.

The project is the subject of the first in a new series of Natural World.

He and cameraman Steve Foote spoke about both the difficulty of the restoration and the issues filming in what is still a dangerous country.

Miracle in the Marshes of Iraq will broadcast on BBC Two on Tuesday, January 18th at 2000GMT.