Damage to Syria’s heritage – 11 April 2018



Damage to Syria’s Heritage

11 April 2018




This newsletter provides a summary of the most recent reports on the damage to Syria’s heritage.  It should be stressed that much of this data cannot be verified, but it is hoped that it will assist in the documentation of the damage occurring, and help raise awareness. Heritage for Peace have released a statement concerning their stance on data recording, available here.

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Main Contents

New from Heritage for Peace | Updates on Damage | Updates on Looting | Intangible Heritage | Syrian Activity | Policy Changes and Updates from Syria | International Activity | News Updates







New from Heritage for Peace




  • None





Updates on Damage



Site damage at Aleppo. Copyright: Aleppo Archaeology.

New photos of damage from Aleppo

Aleppo Archaeology published new photos of the destruction in the suq of Aleppo. Part of the dome linking Istanbul market to its neighbour and part of the wall adjacent to it collapsed on 2018/3/23 .

They have also shared a French newspaper video which walks through the damaged suqs.




Updates from Brad 

Sy24 published new photos from Brad (shared by the Society for the rescue of archaeological sites in Northern Syria), some of which were also shared by Aleppo Archaeology.
Contrary to reported damage, the published photos suggest the (possible) tomb of Maron may not be damaged. This appears to be confirms in this video by TRT and shared by the Society for the rescue of archaeological sites in Northern Syria.






Updates on Looting




New articles on looting





Intangible Heritage




Syrian musicians dance in Jordan

Zawaya wrote here about how a troupe of Syrian musicians in Jordan are preserving their musical heritage by performing in their authentic Shami dress.




Eat at Hummustown

Relief Web reported here that Syrian migrants in Italy have created “Hummustown,” a cooperative that prepares traditional Syrian foods.




Assyrian communities celebrates traditions and heritage

Syria’s Assyrian community celebrated the Assyrian New Year with a gathering featuring traditional dances, music, and outfits. Read the full AP News article here.




Spanish artist records Syrian histories

The Qisetna project records the oral stories of Syrians explaining their histories and culture. Read more on the Al-Fanar Media website here.





Reports and Updates from the Syrian People




Syrian opposition tries to decrease looting by its military

Syrian opposition is reportedly attempting to crack down on “taafish,” the colloquial term for looting committed by military members. Learn more on Al Monitor here.




Lectures aim to raise awareness

The Authority for Tourism and Antiquities Protection in al-Jazira are carrying out lectures introducing the archaeological sites and how to protect them (here).





Policy Changes and Updates from Syria




  • None





International Activity




International measures to decrease illegal sales of cultural items

UNESCO and the EU are creating a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), and implementing other measures, to build capacities in the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural artifacts. Read more on the Dev Discourse website here.




Sanctuary Scholarships for migrants (UK)

A number of scholarships are available for forced migrants to the UK. The Sanctuary Scholarship is open to people who wish to study any undergraduate, postgraduate or research degree. The scholarship covers the cost of tuition and a £10,000 a year award towards living costs, for a maximum of three years.

There are a limited number of scholarships available. Those who meet the eligibility criteria can apply and successful applicants will be chosen using a set of selection criteria. Successful applicants will not have to repay any of the money they receive through the scholarship.
Read more here.




EU commits 8 million euros to cultural heritage

2018 is the year the European Union (for the first time in its history) has dedicated to cultural heritage with the purpose of promoting our common history and values and to reinforce the sense of belonging to a common European space. The European Union budget allows 8 million euros for a two-year period (2017 and 2018) and for 28 Member States, according to Thrive Global.




Funding for library on cultural heritage of Middle East

The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) received $1.12 Million to implement a sustainable, extensible digital library platform and set of curatorial processes to federate records relating to the cultural heritage of the Middle East. Read the CLIR announcement here.




Applications open for Disaster Risk Management Training Course

UNESCO has opened applications for its International Training Course on Disaster Risk Management of Cultural Heritage 2018, here.

The Institute of Disaster Mitigation for Urban Cultural Heritage, Ritsumeikan University Kyoto, Japan, is organizing the 13th International Training Course on Disaster Risk Management of Cultural Heritage in Japan from 29 August to 19 September 2018, under the UNESCO Chair Programme on Cultural Heritage and Risk Management, in cooperation with UNESCO, ICCROM, ICOM and ICOMOS/ICORP.

The deadline for submitting applications is Thursday, 19 April 2018.




US committee renewed to combat looting and protect cultural items

The US Department of State has renewed the charter for the Cultural Property Advisory Committee (CPAC) for another 2 years. CPAC hears cases on bilateral cultural agreements to help combat looting of cultural objects and protect and preserve cultural heritage. Learn more on the Department of State website here.




New international statement on preserving Syria’s heritage

Russia, Turkey and Iran adopted a joint statement calling upon the international community to increase aid to Syria and help preserve its historic heritage.
Watch a video of the statement on Sputnik News here.




Russian museum exhibit features Syrian cultural artifacts

The Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia, is highlighting its extensive collection of artifacts from ancient Syria, including stone seals dating from the first half of the second millennium BC. Learn more on the Blouin Artinfo website here.




Documentary film entitled Halaf Renaissance

The film is about the history and landmarks of Tell Half which is considered one of the most important archaeological sites in the east and the world. You can see the trailer on YouTube here.





News Updates
(Not covered in other sections)




  • Atlas Obscura wrote here about Syrian apprentices learning stonemasonry to restore the country’s damaged buildings and monuments.
  • The Syria Times reported here on the continued looting of Syrian archaeological sites, from the French colonial era through to the present day.
  • The Irish Times wrote here about the challenges archaeologist face in Syria.
  • The Arab Weekly wrote here about the damage to Syrian museums and looting of Syrian antiquities.
  • Ancient Origins published an extract here from the book ‘Palmyra’ by Dr Steven Derfler, discussing the looting of Palmyra and death of Khaled al-Asaad.
  • DW.com reports that a second person has been detained by the ICC in connection with the destruction of shrines in Mali.





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