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Syria’s world heritage sites threatened by civil war

Five of Syria’s six world heritage sites have been severely damaged in the country’s civil war.

This has been confirmed by UN investigators who just recently returned from Syria. Looting has ravaged historic sites, according to the investigations.

Byzantine mosaics in the ‘dead cities’ of northern Syria and the Roman city of Apamea were removed. Interpol has now listed an 8th century BC Aramaic bronze statue, stolen from the Hama museum.
Both government forces and rebels are not respecting the country’s cultural heritage with historic monuments being damaged and destroyed, said the report. The investigation report says the Syrian army has established bases in the ancient citadels of Aleppo, Homs and Hama. Anti-Government armed groups are based near the edges of Aleppo’s citadel, placing it at risk of further damage.
 
In Maaret Al-Numan in north-western Idlib, an armed group based itself in a 17th century caravan trading post, which had been a museum. Nearby artifacts were destroyed by shelling.

The Roman ruins of Bosra, Dara’a, have been damaged along with ruins in the ancient desert city of Palmyra. The outer wall of the Krak des Chevaliers, a Crusader fortress in Homs, has been damaged by rocket fire, according to the investigation report.  

UNESCO director general Irina Bokova said the destruction of the irreplaceable cultural heritage of the Syrian people is a loss for all of humanity. UNESCO is prepared to help assess and repair the damaged monuments, she said.
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