Syrian Expatriates Organization Reports that Syria’s Ancient Sites and Antiquities in Danger, Deliberately Targeted

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The Syrian Expatriates Organization (SEO) is disturbed by the Assad regime’s deliberate destruction and failure to preserve Syria’s great archaeological sites and ancient antiquities.

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Syria’s Ancient Sites and Antiquities in Danger, Deliberately Targeted.
Syrian Expatriates Organization (SEO) is disturbed by the Assad regime's blatant disregard for the preservation of Syria’s great archaeological sites and ancient antiquities. A “crossroad of civilization” Syria has a strategic location and a rich history that encompasses many important epochs in the development of human civilization.

With the current unrest, it has been reported that the Assad regime has been using precious archaeological sites as bases for military activities. The ancient city of Palmyra, a top tourist destination and a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, was targeted by Assad forces. According to a report from The Global Heritage Fund the site is “surrounded by the army on all fronts…machine gun fire rains down from the citadel at anything that moves…” “Syrian Army Attacks Palmyra’s Ancient Ruins” http://globalheritagefund.org/onthewire/blog/palmyras_ruins

The Syrian army has also caused massive damage to the ancient Qa’laat al Madeeq Citadel near the city of Hama. Youtube video posted by Al-Jazeera http://blogs.aljazeera.com/liveblog/al-madiq-citadel shows massive explosions and gunfire pummeling the walls of the citadel, which sits on a hill dating back from the 4th millennium BCE. The southern wall is reported to have sustained severe structural damage, according to the Local Coordination Committees.
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/37725/World/Region/Syria-troops-shell-Homs-after-night-demos.aspx

In addition, the deteriorating security situation in Syria has made the looting of museums a deep concern. Museums in Syria are found all over the country and house artifacts pertaining to the specific region in which they are found. As a result of the chaos, these museums have become harder to secure and remain at high risk for theft. “Gangs Eyeing Syrian Antiquities”
http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/gangs-eyeing-syrian-antiquities

SEO demands accountability of the Syrian government for failing to secure, and in some cases, deliberately targeting Syria’s ancient cultural sites. Syria has been a State Party to the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its First Protocol since 1958, and to the 1972 World Heritage Convention since 1975.

SEO also asks that UNESCO issue a statement condemning the Syrian government's flagrant destruction and failure to protect Syria’s historical treasures, as well as initiate the framework for an assessment mission into Syria to evaluate the damages and theft of Syrian antiquities as soon as the situation allows.

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Rasha Othman
Syrian Expatriates Organization
(301) 204-0382
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