Since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011, organizations and individuals around the world have contributed in various ways to documenting the destruction of cultural heritage, fighting illicit trafficking and raising awareness among the international community. The following is a selection of online resources that provide information on the current state of Syrian heritage sites and describe initiatives for their safeguarding.
The Syrian DGAM – Directorate General for Antiquities and Museums, presents governmental initiatives to protect the country’s heritage on its website, in English and Arabic.
The INTERPOL has called on its 190 member countries for vigilance as to the risk of trafficking of Syrian cultural goods. Relevant information is included in the stolen works of art database. In particular, INTERPOL asked for the member states’ cooperation in recovering ancient mosaics that were stolen from the site of Afamia in 2012.
The International Council of Museums (ICOM) created a Red List of Syrian Cultural Objects at Risk in 2013. Designed to fight illicit traffic, the illustrated list helps heritage professionals and law enforcement officers to identify artifacts that are protected by legislation and most vulnerable to trafficking.
The World Monuments Fund’s dedicated webpage, Crisis Syria, presents the Fund’s initiatives for Syrian heritage, which include a petition and fundraising campaign.
The UNESCO run page Safeguarding Syrian Cultural Heritage provides extensive coverage of news regarding museums and sites. It also describes international initiatives to monitor the state of Syrian heritage, which include the recent establishment of a UNESCO Observatory for the Safeguarding of Syrian Cultural Heritage in Beirut.
The Association for the Protection of Syrian Archaeology (APSA), founded in Strasbourg in 2012, documents the ongoing damage to Syrian heritage through its website, Facebook page and YouTube channel, with live updates from archaeologists and journalists based in Syria.
The New York City based network SAFE – Saving Antiquities for Everyone, promotes the safeguarding of Syrian heritage through its webpage Syria: A Global Concern. It presents a useful overview of the effects of conflict on Syrian heritage, as well as a list of current initiatives.
The non-profit organization Heritage for Peace, based in Girona, Spain, aims to support all Syrians in safeguarding cultural heritage during conflict. Its highly informative website includes scholarly articles on Syrian heritage, news updates and a comprehensive list of resources for heritage preservation and management. Heritage for Peace recently published a report that summarizes the actions undertaken by different bodies and organizations to protect Syrian tangible heritage since the beginning of the conflict.