In recent days, and following fighting in Damascus and Aleppo, the conflict in Syria has reached an unprecedented level. On 27 July 2012, the UN Human Rights Chief expressed particular concern about the likelihood of an “imminent major confrontation in Syria's second largest city Aleppo.”
The Ancient City of Aleppo has been inscribed on the World Heritage List of UNESCO since 1986, as it “reflects the rich and diverse cultures of its successive occupants” and is “an outstanding example of an Ayyubid 12th century city with its military fortifications constructed as its focal point following the success of Salah El-Din against the Crusaders.”
ICOMOS is extremely concerned about the risks of any heavy conflict that may threaten the World Heritage site of Aleppo and the other precious cultural heritage of the city.
By recalling the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, ICOMOS calls upon all parties involved in this conflict to respect and protect the cultural heritage of Aleppo. UNESCO has also appealed for the protection of the World Heritage City of Aleppo
ICOMOS is also concerned about other World Heritage sites, and cultural heritage properties with national and local values in other parts of Syria, including monuments, ancient cities and villages, archaeological sites, scientific excavations, museums and other important repositories of movable cultural heritage. Since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, the Blue Shield has also issued two statements for the protection of the country’s invaluable cultural heritage.
ICOMOS, the International Council on Monuments and Sites, is a unique, non-governmental, democratic, not for profit international organisation, committed to furthering the conservation, protection, use and enhancement of the world’s cultural heritage.
As an official advisory body to the World Heritage Committee for the implementation of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, ICOMOS evaluates nominations and advises on the state of conservation of properties inscribed on the World Heritage List.
ICOMOS is one of the founding members of the Blue Shield network, working to protect the world’s cultural heritage threatened by armed conflict, natural and man-made disasters.
Photo © Lazhar Neftien / Flickr