ICOMOS Working Groups - Syria/Iraq WG
Text updated on 14 June 2019
Focal point: Samir Abdulac
The ongoing crisis in the Region including Syria and Iraq has had devastating effects in terms of human suffering as well as cultural Heritage destruction. In post-conflict phase, large-scale hasty demolition and reconstruction may also threaten the authenticity and integrity of heritage if no adequate guidelines for reconstruction, rehabilitation and recovery are provided.
The 18th ICOMOS General Assembly, meeting in Florence, November 2014, unanimously adopted a resolution requesting the Executive Committee to continue to respond to this tragedy by tasking the ICOMOS Working Group on the safeguarding of the cultural heritage in Syria and Iraq, in cooperation with UNESCO and other international and national partners to coordinate the activities of ICOMOS related to fostering cooperation and exchanges, as long as the present conflict and its subsequent consequences continue.
Download Resolution 18GA 2014/21
Adopted Strategy combines different actions:
• Monitoring and Evaluating the Situation
A permanent monitoring of the situation in the war-torn Region, including documentation and field visits, allows an up to-date useful knowledge and understanding of challenges, needs, opportunities, actors and stakeholders. A data basis is being assembled with trilingual information (AR-EN-FR).
• Participating in high level Reflections and Exchanges
Thanks to its expertise, the WG actively participated in dozens of international meetings, workshops, seminars or colloquia in Europe, the Arab region and the United States.
Download Syros 2015 Paper (EN)
Download Lens 2017 Paper (FR)
• Developing Information and Awareness
Providing interviews to the media and papers in scientific publications. Promotion of "ICORP on the Road” video project.
• Training Local Professionals
Syrian professionals were trained as early as 2013. Others later. Subjects included Risk preparedness and Architectural surveys. Vernacular architecture is being explored.
• Providing Advice and Assistance
Advisory assistance to World Heritage monitoring, to national committees setting up and to local agencies and authorities urgent requests.
• Participating in Global International Programmes
The Working Group has actively participated in the definition and implementation of a EU funded UNESCO program for the Safeguarding of Syrian Heritage, based in Beirut, as well as in the preparation of the new ALIPH fund for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict areas.
• Undertaking Projects in Partnership
Thanks to external multi-disciplinary partnerships, ICOMOS became involved in activities that its own budget would not allow. This is the case of two projects: ANQA ("phoenix" in Arabic) and AMAL ("hope" in Arabic).
Download final report on project Anqa
Download Delhi 2017 Paper (EN)
Photo : © Samir Abdulac, Aleppo - Sorted and numbered stones from the collapsed minaret of the Umayyad Mosque, January 2019