Damage to Syria’s heritage – 17 October 2017



Damage to Syria’s Heritage

17 October 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, 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

Damage to Mosque in Darya.    Copyright: Syrian Youth News Facebook Group.

Damage to mosque in Darya

Photos from Syrian Youth News Facebook group appear to show mosque damage in .

Fire in old Damascus

The DGAM have released a preliminary report on a fire in Juwaniyah in Old Damascus here.

Damage in Dead Cities

Idlib Antiquities Centre have released this video of someone shooting a wall in Deir Sunbel until it collapses here. The video is also shared by the Association for the Protection of Syrian Archaeology. They have also released an analysis of the damage here and here.

Updates on Looting

  • None

Intangible Heritage

International appreciation for Syrian heritage

A new cookbook examines Syrian history, culture and culinary heritage, featuring recipes from refugees. Read more on the Vancouver Sun website here. In Cairo, Egyptians are loving traditional Syrian recipes prepared by refugees according to Al-Monitor.

Cultural festival in Dar al Assad

The Lattakia Culture Festival recently occurred in Dar al Assad, and featured art exhibitions, shows, concerts, and workshops. Read more on the Syria Times website here.

Reports and Updates from the Syrian People

Tributes to former head of the DGAM

A number of heartfelt tributes have been published commending the work of the former director General of Syria’s Antiquities and Museums, Dr Mamoun Abdulkarim. These include ICOMOS and UNESCO, amongst others.

Ancient temples of Maaloula being restored

With support from the government, local citizens are restoring St. Thecla’s monastery and Mark Sarkis in Maaloula. Read more on the Centre for Religious Pluralism website here.

Lion of Al-Lat restored in Damascus

The National Museum of Damascus is now displaying the restored 2,000-year-old Lion of Al-Lat statue. Restoration was done by the General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums, UNESCO, and other international experts within the framework of a strategic plan to restore all ancient artefacts and preserve the Syrian civilisation and heritage. Read more on the SANA website here, Reuters here, and on Archaeology in Syria here.

Aga Khan to help rebuild the Great Mosque

Ismail reports that the Aga Khan want to rebuild Aleppo’s Great Mosque. 

Protection work in Al-Jazira Canton

ATPA report the complete restoration of Tell Beydar, in Al-Jazira, finishing 12/10/17, here. There are a number of other photos of the work on their website and Facebook feed.

They continue to meet to discuss how to protect archaeological sites (examples here and here, and an example of their work at Tell Mozan here).

Idlib Directorate of Antiquities website and work

The Directorate of Antiquities in Idlib has a new website: http://idlebmuseum.com

They have released a report about the protection of Idlib Museum here.

Policy Changes and Updates from Syria

  • None

International Activity

Souk of Aleppo on 2018 WMF list

The World Monuments Fund publishes the 2018 World Monuments Watch list, which includes the Souk of Aleppo. Read more on the WMF website here.

New agreement between Russia and UNESCO to protect cultural objects from conflict

Russia’s State Hermitage Museum and UNESCO have agreed to cooperate protecting cultural items in conflict zones, with special focus on sites in Syria. Learn more about this effort here

Research to begin into management of threats to Syrian heritage

Ettijahat have announced the researchers accepted under the Fifth Edition of Research: To Strengthen Culture of Knowledge, which include Mostafa Alskaf, who will be looking at Institutional Response to Management of Threats Posed to the Syrian Material Cultural Heritage. His report is due out next year. There are also a large variety of research topics on intangible heritage. Read more here.

UNESCO changes

Audrey Azoulay has been nominated as the next Director General of UNESCO as Irina Bokova comes to the end of her term. Azoulay must be confirmed by the UNESCO General Assembly  in November.
Read more on UNESCO’s blog here.

The USA is to quit UNESCO (more here), as is Israel (more here).

London investigations of trafficked heritage will continue

The Art and Antiques Squad of the New Scotland Yard, a specialised police responsible for the investigation of art and heritage crime in London, will continue after a temporary deactivation. Read more on the Art Crime Blogspot here.

News Updates
(Not covered in other sections)

  • The ARCA blog writes about the international trafficking of looted antiquities and where the largest hoards are.
  • The Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2379, requesting “Creation of Independent Team to Help in Holding ISIL (Da’esh) Accountable for Its Actions in Iraq”.
  • UNITAR reports on new technologies that use virtual and augmented reality to help the humanitarian and development communities.
  • Syrian born novelist Salim Barakat has a new novel about the history of Palmyra titled “The Roaring of Shadows in Zenobia’s Gardens.”
  • Armen Press reports on the current status of Syrians now living in Armenia
  • Heritage Daily writes about how stories related to terrorism, ISIS, archaeology and cultural heritage are becoming more popular entertainment.
  • Christina Fossa, U.S. Department of State: Virtual Student Federal Service intern for the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative, writes about her research about Syrian Cultural Heritage sites on the Conflict Culture website.
  • Shanghai Daily reports on the Palace Museum, which sponsors a Taihe Forum Fund to provide academic and technical support for countries facing troubles and who support cultural preservation in countries such as Syria
  • Egypt Today provides an overview of some of the damage to Syria’s cultural sites since 2011.

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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