Damage to Syria’s heritage – 11 December 2017



Damage to Syria’s Heritage

11 December 2017

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, availbale 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

Heritage For Peace lecture in the University of Puebla (Mexico)

Isber Sabrine, Chair of Heritage For Peace, gave a talk about the work of Heritage for Peace at the University of Puebla (Mexico): he participated in the first Forum of Young Heritage Managers organised by  the University of Puebla (BUAP) held last November.

In his talk, Sabrine considered the important role that heritage can play in Mexican society, which is traumatised by drug trafficking, terror, and a lack of security. He also confirmed the necessity to bring heritage to society, as heritage can unite people and play an important role on the reconciliation within the society.

Updates on Damage

Restoring the stairs to the entrance of Aleppo Castle.    Copyright: DGAM

ASOR publishes October 2017 monthly report

The  ASOR’s Cultural Heritage Initiatives October 2017 Monthly Report is now available here.

  • Syria: A new video shows a gunman destroying the remains of a Byzantine-era villa in Deir Sunbul, Jebel Zawiya, Idlib Governorate. ASOR CHI Incident Report SHI 17-0177
  • Syria: New photographs and video show the destruction of the Arslan Tash Lions in al-Rasheed Park, Raqqa, Raqqa Governorate. ASOR CHI Incident Report SHI 17-0191
  • Iraq: New video footage and DigitalGlobe satellite imagery shows intentional destruction and looting of the Tal Afar Citadel in Tal Afar, Ninawa Governorate. ASOR CHI Incident Report IHI 17-0073 UPDATE
  • Libya: Military clashes caused minor damage to several monuments at the archaeological site of Sabratha in the region of Tripolitania. ASOR CHI Incident Report LHI 17-0022 UPDATE
  • Libya: Unknown parties destroyed a Sufi shrine dedicated to Sidi Abu Ghrara in al-Ghrararat, Tripolitania. ASOR CHI Incident Report LHI 17-0035

Damage documented to Raqqa Museum

Archaeologists from ATPA in Al-Jazira canton have documented the damage to Raqqa Museum, here. In addition to heavy structural damage and looting, the museum has been mined.

Updates on Looting

200 objects recovered in Raqqa

Archaeologists from ATPA in Al-Jazira canton documented more than 200 antiquities returned to the museum of Raqqa that had been stolen after teh area fell under the control of extremist groups (here).

Intangible Heritage

Syria cultural work in diaspora faces challenges

Ettijahat published an article by Milena Dragićević Šešić, Director of UNESCO Chair in Cultural Policy and Management, about the challenges facing Syrian cultural work in diaspora

Reports and Updates from the Syrian People

Maintenance of Ja’abar Castle

The Authority of Antiquities and Tourism in Al-Jazira, in cooperation and coordination with the local Council of Altabqa City, has started maintenance of Ja’abar Castle, formerly occupied by ISIS. For more information see here.

Other work by the Authority of Tourism and Antiquities

The Authority of Tourism and Antiquities Protection Authority in Al-Jazira Province met with the Al-Raqqa local Civil Council in Ain Eissa regarding joint cooperation to protect the archaeological sites in Al-Raqqa. They also met with Al-Tabqa Civic Council to promote relations (here).

The department of antiquities in Hasaka, in coordination with the commission of Arishah, documented the sites of Ajaja and Tawabir.

They have also worked to document more than 150 restored mosaic panels (here), and a large mosque in Raqqa (here).

Aleppo Castle restoration plans revealed 

Within the framework of cooperation and joint coordination between the General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums, the UNESCO, the Aga Khan Foundation, a coordination meeting was held in the city of Aleppo between the restoration experts in the three mentioned institutions. The plans of the restoration project of the stairs of the entrance to Qal’at Halab were revealed. To learn more see here.

At the 30th General Assembly of the International Center for the Study and Preservation of Cultural Property (ICCROM), DGAM Mahmud Hammod presented plans to restore buildings in Old Aleppo. Read more on the SANA website here.

Policy Changes and Updates from Syria

  • None

International Activity

Interpol special appeal: Objects stolen from Raqqa Museum

Interpol posted a special appeal with a wanted list of items stolen from Syria’s Raqqa museum (link to pdf download).

Syria photography exhibition in Hungary

A new exhibition in Hungary featured photographs of Syria’s cultural heritage landmarks before and after conflict. Read more on the SANA website here.

US seeks warrant to seize Syrian artifact

The US Justice Department sought a warrant to seize an ancient ring that was smuggled by a Syrian antiquities trafficker. Read more on Reuters here.

News Updates
(Not covered in other sections)

  • The Financial Times discussed how new technology creates questions of authenticity and value with respect to reproductions of cultural objects.
  • Arab News wrote about the cultural challenges of rebuilding Aleppo with new materials that lack the history and atmosphere of long-standing building.
  • El Pais reported on reconstruction and infrastructure projects for Syria’s cities and heritage sites
  • Hyperallergic examines how Syrian antiquities have been weaponize in the struggle to preserve culture.
  • Audrey Azoulay, the New DG of UNESCO,  warns that seventeen of the World Heritage Sites in the Arab region, including Palmyra and Aleppo, are in “danger” due to conflict. Read more on the Washington Post website here.
  • Article in Paris Match (in French) discussing European antiquities sales here .

This mailing list was produced by Dr Emma Cunliffe, in association with Heritage for Peace
Copyright © 2017 Heritage for Peace, All rights reserved.

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