The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is situated in frigid corner of Norway on the Shlitsbergen archipelago about 1,300 kilometers from the North Pole. This depository, in which about 860,000 samples of seeds from countries all over the world are sealed, was open for the first time in nine years, Popular Science reports.
In Syria the International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA), managed to evacuate most of the seeds out of the country, to Beiruit, Lebanon when armed forces started to move in. They also sent seeds to Svalbard seed depository for safety. But now they need seeds to re-establish crops lost during the war, and continue research.
Now, they’ve requested the return of 130 boxes (116,000 seeds) from the vault. The scientists need the seeds to plant and harvest in the fall. Seeds from grown plants will then be returned back to Svalbar, and other Middle East countries, kept in secret for the security reasons.