In July 2013, Heritage for Peace together with UK Blue Shield, released a list of the most important archaeological sites in Aleppo, Syria, which they are asking all armed forces involved in the conflict to avoid.
As of 4th July 2013, 93,000 people had lost their lives in the conflict, and hundreds of archaeological sites, historical monuments and heritage institutions have been damaged or destroyed. The city centre of Aleppo is a World Heritage Site with some buildings dating back at least 5,000 years. According to UNESCO, the old city ‘has witnessed some of the conflict’s most brutal destruction’ . As a result, the most recent session of the World Heritage Committee (16-27 June 2013) placed the site, along with Syria’s other World Heritage Sites, on the World Heritage in Danger list. However the risk to the Ancient City of Aleppo is greater than that to other heritage as the warring parties are currently focussing on retaking the city, and the combat is expected to be intense.
The list of sites to be avoided was drawn up by Heritage for Peace in consultation with Syrian colleagues. The 20 sites which were chosen include the most important sites in Aleppo, and represent some of the many communities, and the many different types of buildings throughout history. Aleppo has over 2,000 sites of archaeological and historical importance: the city is one of the oldest continuously occupied cities in the world. A spokesperson for Heritage for Peace said “We urge all parties involved in the conflict to respect the international legislation concerning cultural heritage in conflict and avoid any fighting near and on these sites, that some of Aleppo’s great history may be preserved for the future”.
Read the report released with the list, describing the situation in Aleppo and the need for it here (pdf): Current Situation Report Aleppo abbreviated
Read the press release (pdf) here: PRESS RELEASE ‘No strike’ list of archaeological sites in Aleppo released
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