Heritage for PeaceHERITAGE FOR PEACE: We believe that cultural heritage is a common ground for dialogue and a tool to build peace. Thus, we support heritage workers in the protection of cultural heritage for future generations.
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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Photo: damage to Ain Dara temple. Photo Copyright: Social Media / Press TV
Ain Dara temple damaged
According to reports on social media, the Iron Age Ain Dara temple near Afrin in Syria has been heavily damaged by shelling. Read more from Press TV here. More photos are available from the Idlib Museum Facebook group here, and Aleppo Archaeology have shared a video of the damage here.
The Authority of Tourism and the Protection of Antiquities in Al-Jazira province have issued an appeal to protect the site.
ATPA continue to document site damage in Al-Jazira
The Authority of Tourism and the Protection of Antiquities have documented damage to Shiukh Tahtani, Tell Khouira, and Al-Nejm Citadel. The sites have suffered from looting, reuse and occupation, all of which have caused damage
ASOR publishes November 2017 report
The ASOR’s Cultural Heritage Initiatives November 2017 Monthly Report is now available here.
• New video footage and DigitalGlobe satellite imagery show Turkish forces are establishing a third outpost in Deir Semaan in the Jebel Semaan, Aleppo Governorate damaging the site. ASOR CHI Incident Report SHI 17-0212.
• Pro-regime forces liberated the Armenian Holy Martyrs Church and Museum in Deir ez-Zor, Deir ez-Zor Governorate. ASOR CHI Incident Report SHI 17-0200.
• Artillery fire reportedly damaged al-Qadim Mosque in Hamouriya, Rif Dimashq Governorate. ASOR CHI Incident Report SHI 17-0210.
• An earthquake damaged the Sherwana Castle and Museum in Kalar, As-Sulaymaniah Governorate. ASOR CHI Incident Report IHI 17-0079.
• Mart Barbara in Karamlish is undergoing restoration in Ninawa Governorate. ASOR CHI Incident Report IHI 17-0078.
• The Libyan Department of Antiquities has begun a campaign to conserve the mosaics of Qasr Libya, Cyrenaica. ASOR CHI Incident Report LHI 17-0039.
• Islamic extremists damaged al-Sheikha Radiya Mosque in Sidi Khalifa, Tripolitania. ASOR CHI Incident Report LHI 17-0040.
Updates on Looting
Reports of looting in Membij
Aleppo24 writes (in Arabic) about ongoing looting in Membij here, noting it is occurring at a number of sites in the area.
Syrian perfume traditions live on in Egypt
Al-Monitor writes that in Egypt, Syrian perfume-makers continue their longstanding tradition of crafting fragrances. “In Syria this is tradition, but in Egypt it is not common.” Read more here.
Syrian book club emphasises intangible heritage
SANA reports on Aleppo’s book club, a eight-month-old youth initiative with 450 members that has been focused on books concerning intangible heritage. See more here.
Syrian heritage available in Lisbon
Culinary Backstreets reported on the culinary heritage of Syria, including a new restaurant in Lisbon where displaced Syrians are sharing their culinary heritage, “preserving a taste of home” and sharing “their cultural heritage through the universal language of food.” Read more here.
Reports and Updates from the Syrian People
Aleppo suk begins to re-open
The Kansas City Star reported here on recent efforts to revitalize Aleppo’s souk. Some shopkeepers have already reopened, despite the lack of power, and the government organized an exhibition at the bazaar in November, hoping to breathe new life into the Khan al-Gumruk.
Aleppo Antiquities Directorate buildings restored
The General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums has completed the restoration of the building for the Directorate of Archaeology and Aleppo Museums (here) to enable them to continue to work towards the protection and restoration of Aleppo’s heritage.
Tomb restoration completed
The Authority of Tourism and the Protection of Antiquities have completed the restoration of the Byzantine Al Farahiya Tomb. Work was completed with support of UNDP and the national evangelical Presbyterian church. See photos here.
New discoveries continue
Three Byzantine mosaic panels, one of which includes a Greek inscription, have been discovered in the eastern countryside of Hama. Read more on the Greek Reporter website here.
An ancient obelisk has been discovered in the field of Al-Omer in Deir Al-Zour.
Read more on the ATPA website here.
Policy Changes and Updates from Syria
Funding to preserve traditional houses for Syrian families
The British Council’s Cultural Protection Fund has announced a new project to preserve and revitalise the tradition of domed houses to offer a housing solution to displaced Syrian families. Read more on the British Council website here.
New articles available for free download
The article “Digitally Mediated Iconoclasm: the Islamic State and the war on cultural heritage”, by José Antonio González Zarandona, César Albarrán-Torres & Benjamin Isakhan, formerly published in International Journal of Cultural Heritage Studies, is now available for free on Academia.edu (free registration required).
Erin Thompson on “Legal and Ethical Considerations for Digital Recreations of Cultural Heritage”, in the Chapman Law Review, is now available on Digital Commons.
(Not covered in other sections)
The Chicago Tribune wrote about the future of Daesh here, including how they profit from the sale of illicitly trafficked antiquities.
The BBC wrote here about life in Aleppo as “Syrians now mend what they care about most, bit by bit. That’s how this painstaking and painful process of rebuilding a celebrated city goes.”
The BBC wrote here about the history of settlement and current competing interests in Afrin, the most densely Kurdish populated part of Syria.
The Brooklyn Eagle wrote here about a recent book covering the history of Brooklyn’s Syrian Jewish community.