Damage to Syria’s heritage – 27 February 2018



Damage to Syria’s Heritage

27 February 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

Water Mill heavily damaged, Daraa

Photo copyright: Idlib Museum

According to the DGAM and Idlib Museum, illegal excavations in the Daraa governorate have destroyed one of the most important water mills on the National Heritage List, which is an archaeological windmill. See the post by the DGAM here, and Idlib Museum here.

Updates on Looting

Four die in illegal excavation in Bosra

Four people died in the World Heritage city of Bosra when their illegal excavation of the ruins collapsed. They were excavating near the Palace of the Bishops east of the Church of Sergus and Bacchus. Their names were Abdel-Halim Al-Issa, Nader Al-Humaydat, Ali Abdul Rahman Al-Humaidat.
Read more on the DGAM website here.

First Global Global Customs-Police operation seizes thousands of objects

“Over 41 000 cultural goods such as coins, paintings and drawings, furniture and musical instruments, porcelain, archaeological and paleontological objects, books and manuscripts and sculptures were seized all over the world as a result of coordinated law enforcement actions. These seizures were made during the first Global Global Customs-Police Operation, codenamed ATHENA and organised by the World Customs Organisation (WCO) in cooperation with INTERPOL, and during the regional Europe-focused Operation PANDORA II, coordinated by the Spanish Guardia Civil and Europol.”
Read more on the amazing work here.

Intangible Heritage

Syrian matriarchs share culinary traditions with New York restaurant

Photo Credit: Maria Zimnis.
Cook Ploumitsa Zimnis shows Vanessa Chavez how to prepare ground beef with spices for stuffed tomatoes and peppers

Yes Magazine wrote about a New York-based restaurant where Syrian matriarchs share their culinary traditions. “These women really represent their culture. They are the vessels that carry this culture forward.”

Elderly Craftsman Weaves Stories of History, Passion and Love into Art

The Syria Times reported on carpet weaving in Aleppo, where a craftsman is keeping alive the traditional knowledge of weaving rugs, carpets and tapestries on wooden looms.
“He is one of the few who have realized the importance of saving ancient handmade crafts such as carpet weaving and rug making from extinction and keeping their legacy alive in the hearts of their loyal admirers.

Reports and Updates from the Syrian People

Italian team begins reconstruction in Aleppo

A group of Italian engineers and experts in Aleppo are working with local Syrians to teach them restoration skills for the souq, minaret and Umayyad mosque. Read more on the ANSAmed website here.

Regional Workshop on “Treating Stolen Cultural Property Recovery” 

The Regional Workshop on “Treating Stolen Cultural Property Recovery” organized by the Biladi Association with funding and support from the Norwegian Embassy in Beirut began on Thursday 15 February 2018 in Beirut. The workshop was attended by specialists in heritage and law from Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, under the supervision of a group of international experts working in this field. The workshop will continue until February 26, 2018.

Its topics focus on international law, international conventions on the protection and recovery of stolen cultural property, case studies and successful recovery. Read more on the DGAM website here.

Policy Changes and Updates from Syria

  • None

International Activity

Applications open for cultural heritage rescue training courses at ICCROM

Applications are now open for two ICCROM courses on First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis 2018, which  aims to enhance collaboration between the cultural and humanitarian sector by streamlining activities and communication, and by enabling cultural responders to be integrated in overall humanitarian response efforts.
Scholarships are available.

FAC 2018 international course, the Netherlands
Dates: 31 July-24 August, 2018
Application deadline: 23 March, 2018
Place: Tilburg, the Netherlands
Working language: English
Information here.

AC-Africa, Mali
Using the recent conflict in Mali as a central case study, this course will offer insights gained in recovering cultural heritage in tandem with humanitarian recovery. For the first time, this course will be offered in French!
Dates: 12-28 November 2018
Application deadline: 29 March 2018
Place: Bamako, Mali
Working languages: English and French. More information in English and French

International festivals feature Syrian culture

Syrian culinary heritage will be showcased in a fundraiser dinner at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival 2018, in Florida, where visitors can experience food, traditions, and stories from Syria. Read more on the South Florida website here.

The Arabic Book and Culture Days in Istanbul, Turkey, will include work from Syrian scholars and writers. 2-11 March 2018 at at Üsküdar Bağlarbaşı Congress and Cultural Center. Learn more on the Daily Sabah website here.

News Updates
(Not covered in other sections)

  • Mental Floss wrote about the collaborative program between a law firm and the University of Pennsylvania that are training dogs to root out stolen antiquities looted from archaeological sites and museums.
  • The Armenian Weekly website reported on an art detective and her organization, the Walk of Truth NGO, which works to prevent the theft of cultural artifacts from countries including Syria.
  • Good Worldwide reported about an Aleppo-born Californian musician who writes about Syria and records in Armenian.
  • The National reports on a warning from UNESCO chief Audrey Azoulay about allowing extremists to commit cultural cleansing to drive religions and communities apart.
  • MENAFN reports on the lecture by Sheila Canby from the Islamic Art department at the MET in New York discussing cultural preservation techniques in war-torn countries.
  • Egypt Today discusses the Cultural Protection Fund, an initiative organized by the British Council in partnership with DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport). In Syria, the CPF will preserve and revitalise the tradition of domed houses to offer accommodation for families.

This mailing list was produced by Dr Emma Cunliffe, in association with Heritage for Peace
Copyright © 2018 Heritage for Peace, All rights reserved.

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