Syrian Expatriates Organization Issues an Appeal to the UNESCO and the International Community to Protect the Ancient Site in the Old City of Aleppo

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Fire swept through the old central souk in the old city of Aleppo, which is considered the soul of city, damaging a vast and well-preserved labyrinth of medieval storehouses, shops, schools and ornate courtyards as fierce clashes to carry out a “decisive battle” for the city continued.

A fire rages at a medieval souk in Aleppo, Syria, in an image taken from Shaam News Network video.

Despite the frequent calls by UNESCO and other international organization to protect the ancients sites, Assad military forces continue their barbaric attacks on Syrian treasures. According to nytimes, "Fire swept through the old central souk in the old city of Aleppo, which is considered the soul of city, damaging a vast and well-preserved labyrinth of medieval storehouses, shops, schools and ornate courtyards as fierce clashes to carry out a 'decisive battle' for the city continued."
See: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/30/world/middleeast/fire-sweeps-through-ancient-souk-of-aleppo-citys-soul.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
”The fire started late Friday amid heavy government shelling and was still burning Saturday morning, activists said. One Aleppo-based activist, Ahmad al-Halabi, estimated the fire destroyed a majority of the shops in the district. "It's a disaster. The fire is threatening to spread to remaining shops," said al-Halabi, speaking from the stricken area by telephone. He claimed Syrian authorities cut the water supply off the city, making it more difficult to put out the fire. He said rebels and civilians were working together to control the fire with a limited number of fire extinguishers.
See: http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2019287717_apmlsyria.html?syndication=rss

SEO believes that the only side benefited from the destruction of the old Souk in Aleppo is the Assad regime and considers Syrian government is directly responsible. SEO reiterates the appeals issued in May-2012 by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova expressed “grave concern about possible damage to precious sites” and called upon “all those involved in the conflict to ensure the protection of the outstanding cultural legacy that Syria hosts on its soil”.
http://whc.unesco.org/en/news/915

Mr. Abdullah Ibraheem, former SEO board member said, “It is devastating to watch our long preserved treasures ruined by Assad’s gangs; their only drive is to suffocate the city from its major financial resources. Although we acknowledge that human cost is the most dramatic, however the destruction inflicted on the old Souk in Aleppo is just an additional slap on the face of humanity, civilization and the international community for failing to protect a long standing treasures from barbaric action. “

SEO urges the UNESCO to implement an actual on ground plans that will serve to secure the safety of ancient sites, treasures and museums all across Syria.

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Sawsan Jabri
Syrian Expatriates Organization
(734) 769-4017
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