Damage to Syria’s heritage – 02 July 2018



Damage to Syria’s Heritage

2 July 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

Photo of damage to the Roman theater of Bosra. Photo credit: The department of Antiquity at Bosra.

New damage at Bosra

The Department of Antiquity at Bosra published new photos of the damage at the Roman theater of Bosra. See the photos here.

New photos of damage to Apamea

The Syrian DGAM has shared new photos of the damage to Apamea, taken by drone. “The photos show the existence of thousands of excavations from illegal excavations.”

ASOR publishes April 2018 monthly report

The ASOR’s Cultural Heritage Initiatives April 2018 Monthly Report is now available here:

  • The Directorate-General of Antiquities and Museums in Syria published a new report about Mari in Deir ez-Zor Governorate. ASOR CHI Incident Report SHI 17-0224 UPDATE
  • Satellite imagery reveals ongoing damage due to illegal excavations and military occupation at Ebla, Idlib Governorate. ASOR CHI Incident Report SHI 18-0083
  • Heavy shelling damaged Palestinian Mosque in Damascus, Damascus Governorate. ASOR CHI Incident Report SHI 18-0087

Updates on Looting

New study of trafficking and financing via looted Syrian cultural property

The George Mason University’s Terrorism, Transnational Crime, and Corruption Center has completed an initial study of the illicit trade of looted cultural property. The study recommends focusing on personnel training to recognize artifacts.To learn more go to the US State Department blog.

DGAM cooperates with international bodies to recover stoeln artifacts

The Antiquities Directorate is submitting a file to UNESCO and INTERPOL to increase international cooperation in the recovery and return of looted Syrian artifacts. Read more on this from The Syria Times.

Artifacts stolen from Syria surface abroad

The story circulates again of missing Jewish artifacts, including tapestries and ancient torahs – missing from Damascus which have reportedly surfaced abroad. This story has been recirculated multiple times: treat with caution.
You can read more from the Associated Press via News 1130 and from The Syria Times.

Intangible Heritage

A promotional film for the ancient city of Maaloula

A promotional film for the ancient city of Maaloula in the Qalamoun mountains in Syria in the Aramaic language. The aim is to disseminate and promote the Aramaic language.

Reports and Updates from the Syrian People

Expert of UNESCO to visiting to examine the implementation of the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict

UNESCO’s expert Mrs. Martha Mack Guair visited the DGAM accompanied by Mr. Joseph Krieidi (Progammer Officer at the cultural Sector at UNESCO Regional Bureau at Beirut) on June 25th to 26th. The aim of this visit was to examine the implementation of the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (The Hague) which was supplemented and clarified by two protocols concluded in 1954 and 1999. The first protocol was signed by Syria on 1958. You can learn more about them here.

ATPA continue heritage protection efforts

On June 11, 2018 as part of the training workshop established by the Authority of Tourism and Protection Antiquities a cuneiform tablet was discovered which was then transferred and stored to a safe place. Read more about this here.

With the aim of increasing awareness and consolidating the idea of preserving cultural heritage and the protection of archaeological sites in the area. The Authority of Tourism and Protection Antiquities in Al-Jazira canton carried out an important campaign.

Aleppo’s citadel reopened to the public for the first time since 2012

The citadel of Aleppo has re-opened its doors for visitors and tourists after years of rehabilitation. Read more on the AhluBayt News Agency website.

Policy Changes and Updates from Syria

  • None

International Activity

Syrian UNESCO sites remain on Heritage in Danger list

At the 42nd UNESCO World Heritage Committee meeting taking place now in Bahrain, the proposed decisions concerning Syria’s World Heritage sites is that UNESCO “Decides to retain the[m] on the List of World Heritage in Danger” Read more on the UNESCO website here.

Read the State of Conservation report for Syria’s World Heritage sites prepared by the Syrian DGAM for UNESCO.

Nonprofit uses drones to monitor endangered heritage sites

Syria in partnership with the Endangered Archaeology in the Middle east and North America project (EAMENA), a nonprofit is using drones to map heritage sites, with plans to map sites in Syria and Iraq. You can read more on the Drone Life website.

Cultural Heritage for Inclusive Growth Report

Cultural Heritage for Inclusive Growth is a British Council initiative exploring the use of cultural heritage for growth that benefits all levels of society.
Read the report here.

IAA to address ethical practices in study of Ancient Near East

The IAA board has initiated an open forum on a posted text: “For an ethical practice of our disciplines: History, Philology, Archaeology and Art History of the Ancient Near East.” The IAA General Meeting will take place during the coming Recontre at Innsbruck, Austria, July 19, 2018 4:00 pm (Venue: Aula SoWi). Go here to find out more.

Syrian exhibits features in US museums

The Cincinnati Art Museum’s new exhibit. “Collecting Calligraphy:Arts of the Islamic World,” will feature calligraphic works from Syria and other countries. This takes place on January 17th, 2019. To learn more you can read here.

The university’s Kelsey Museum of Archaeology is displaying a funeral relief from Palmyra dating to the Late Parthian Period (A.D. 43-226). You can learn more on the Click on Detroit website.

News Updates
(Not covered in other sections)

  • The Al-Monitor here wrote about vocational training for displaced Syrians abroad.
  • Al-Monitor reported here that Syrians from eastern Ghouta are settling in the countryside of Aleppo and Idlib, finding occupations, and rebuilding communities.
  • Syrian feminist Amal Nasr wrote in Euro News about her Syrian heritage and identity, and the importance of connecting Syrian children with their history and culture.
  • The Aleppo Project on Facebook here shared photographs by Saleh Zakkour, a citizen of Aleppo who has been regularly documenting monuments and their destruction since the beginning of 2017. The pictures are in the Museum für Islamische Kunst, Berlin.
  • The Irish Times told the story of Osama Abou Hajar, a Syrian who settled in Ireland yet remains connected with his heritage and culture.
  • The BBC reports on “The Barnsley stonemason training Syrians in the art of restoration”
  • Belgian prosecutors say they are investigating whether two brothers trafficked antiquities that had been taken from Syria. Read more on The Wall Street Journal.

This mailing list was produced by Dr Emma Cunliffe, in association with Heritage for Peace
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