Damage to Syria’s heritage 05 July 2014


Damage to Syria’s Heritage

05 July 2014

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.

Main Contents

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


New from Heritage for Peace
Heritage for Peace Site Director’s Survey

Heritage for Peace, within the framework of the international co-operation established under the auspices of UNESCO Observatory for the Safeguarding of Syria’s Cultural Heritage, invites archaeologists who prior to 2011 were directing archaeological research projects in Syria, to participate in a brief survey. The survey consists of 10 questions. The aim of the survey is to make a constructive contribution towards rehabilitating Syria’s cultural heritage sites by gathering information about the known status of archaeological sites.

More details, including how the information will be used, and how to access the survey, can be found here.

Updates on Damage
Photo: Damage around Aleppo citadel. Photo shared by: Wereng Freesy)

Damage around Aleppo Citadel

This photo was released on 21 June of the damage around Aleppo Citadel by Wereng Freesy (with thanks to Alisar Iram for cross-posting it).

(Photo: Damage to Al Farah café. Photo copyright: DGAM)

Details of damage to Homs (fourth assessment)

With the recent change in situation in Homs, the DGAM have conducted a number of assessment missions.  The details below are approximate translations from the Arabic articles on their website (with thanks to the translators).

  • Khan Al Jamal: used as a plant nursery outside the old city.
  • Khan AL Droubi: Located at the end of Abd Hamid Droubi Street outside the old city, it was used by several activities including: Historical Society, The Scout in Homs, and some commercial shops.
  • Raghadan Palace: It was a commercial building, and currently a hotel, located at the intersection of Qwatly street with King Faisal Street at Martyrs’ Square.
  • Al Rawda café: a commercial building located at Qwatly street outside the old city,
  • Al Farah café: An architectural block Located at Qwatly street outside the old city.

The full article is available in English here, and Arabic here.

In addition, the Minister of Culture and Dr AbdulKarim, the General-Director of the DGAM, together with technicians, visited monuments in Homs in order to determine the status of the sites and initiative conservation and stabilisation procedures.  The list of sites they visited can be found in the full article on the DGAM website, here.

Looting at Dura Europos.  Photo copyright: DGAM)

DGAM release satellite imagery of site damage

  • The DGAM have released ‘before and after’ satellite imagery of the damage sustained to the Tentative World Heritage sites of Dura Europos, and Mari, and to Tell Sheikh Hamad.  All sites were known to have been looted during the conflict to varying extents.

    The article can be read here in English, and here in Arabic. An additional article was released in conjunction with this by the American Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs here, where the satellite images can be viewed in high resolution.

Additional historic buildings damaged

  • Video of the storage of ammunition in Palmyra, near the castle, available here.
  • Minor damage has been sustained by Muzayrib Castle caused by clashes, digging inside the castle, and use of the courtyard and galleries as a stable.  Photos and hte report are available here in English and here in Arabic.
  • The historic Muzayrib Mill in the western countryside of Daraa was damaged. Photos and the report are available on the DGAM website here.

    (Alternate transliterations of the site name are Mzairib, and Muzeireeb Castle / Mill).

  • The Ottoman Mosque, Bab al-Nasr, has been damaged – To view the YouTube video, click here.
  • The Saddek Mosque in Aleppo has been extensively damaged. Two photos of the damage were shared by the Facebook group Aleppo Archaeology here and here.
  • The minaret of the al-Rumi Mosque in Aleppo was damaged by shelling.  A photo was shared by Lens Syrian Revolution here.
  • The facade of the Ottoman Police station in Bosra al-Harir has been damaged.  the full article and photo is here in English, and here in Arabic.

(With thanks to Samer Abdel Ghafour for help translating most of the names. Mistakes are mine.)

Updates on Looting
(Looting of Tell Ashaari.  Photo copyright: DGAM)

Photos and details of the looting at Tell Ashaari, Daraa

  • The DGAM have recently conducted a site visit to Tell Ashaari in the western countryside of Daraa, and taken photographs of the looting.

    Read the full article in English here, or in Arabic here.

10 more antiquities from Palmyra seized 

  • According to the DGAM, another 10 funerary reliefs from Palymra, all again dating from to the 2nd and 3rd centuries, have been seized.

    Read the full article in English here, and in Arabic here.

Intangible Heritage
  • None
Reports and Updates from the Syrian Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums
DGAM Disclaimer

  • The DGAM would like it to be known that they are not associated with the new Facebook page claiming to be by the DGAM’s director.  This page is not official.  (See details here).
Policy Changes and Updates from Syria
  • None
International Activity
(ANSAmed caption: “One of the pieces featured in the exhibit on Syrian cultural heritage at Palazzo Venezia in Rome”)

New exhibition launched

  • The “Syria Splendor and Drama” Exhibition has opened in Rome. The goal is to raise public awareness about the value of the Syrian Cultural Heritage and the importance of its protection.  It is part of the new Italian initiative reported a few weeks ago. Read the ANSAmed press released on the exhibition here, or join the Facebook group here.
ICOM launch German version of the Red List 

  • A German version of the Red List was launched on 12 June 2014.  The press release is available here.
Symposium held in Tokyo 

  • A symposium was held in Tokyo entitled “Toward the Protection of Syria’s Cultural Heritage”, on 23 June 2014.  The poster for the symposium is available here: it was shared by the Facebook group Aleppo Archaeology.
News Updates

(Not covered in other sections)

Reports and more information on the damage to Syria’s heritage

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