Islamic State militants swept into the desert city of Palmyra in central Syria on Wednesday, and by evening were in control of it [...].
Palmyra has extra resonance, with its grand complex of 2,000-year-old colonnades and tombs, one of the world’s most magnificent remnants of antiquity [...] that has raised fears both locally and internationally that Palmyra, a United Nations world heritage site, could also suffer irrevocable damage. — nytimes.com
The ruins of an ancient city that have withstood centuries of conflict in the Syrian desert are now facing their greatest threat yet: the militants of the Islamic State.
Activists, officials and citizens of the city say ISIS has launched a prolonged assault on Palmyra, an "oasis in the desert" north of Damascus that the U.N. cultural agency UNESCO says contains the "monumental ruins of a great city that was one of the most important cultural centers of the ancient world." — mashable.com
The US Army is looking to recruit the next generation of “Monuments Men and Women” to help preserve sites and cultural property in combat zones and to advise troops on heritage. [...] It is turning to museum directors, archaeologists and preservationists to fill these posts. [...]
With extremist groups such as Islamic State using the destruction of cultural heritage as a tool of war, such expertise is needed more than ever. — theartnewspaper.com
Sometimes it's easy to pretend that architecture exists outside of this world, erupting instead in the blank of a 3D space governed only by the laissez-fair laws of software. But sometimes a news headline will penetrate through this fog of imagination, appearing as a blazing light shining forth...
In the tents of Syrian refugees, stories abound and tragedies surround them daily... With the passage of time, a tent becomes a home and shelter, their only place in this limited world. When rain exhausts the roof of the tents and wind uproots them, the refugees agonize as much as they did over the destruction of their houses in al-Raqqa or Aleppo. “We may have grown accustomed to our tent. Some of us like it, and others still cannot stand it. Do you know how the world can become a tent?” — Al-Akhbar
As a result of the Syrian civil war, there are now 3 million Syrian refugees registered in neighboring countries — an exodus that began in March 2011 and shows no sign of abating, the United Nations refugee agency said on Friday. The record figure was 1 million refugees more than a year ago, and an additional 6.5 million are displaced within Syria, meaning that "almost half of all Syrians have now been forced to abandon their homes and flee for their lives," it said. — Al Jazeera
As the Islamic State rampages through Syria and Iraq, thousands are being displaced to add to the growing refugee population created by a civil war against Bashar al-Assad. The Islamic State actively uses infrastructure, specifically hydoinfrastructure, as a militaristic tactic exacerbating...
Friday, August 8:Guggenheim Bullies Journalist: Molly Crabapple reports for Vice on inhumane immigrant labor conditions on Saadiyat island in the UAE, where a new arm of the Guggenheim (and Louvre, and NYU) is being built. The Guggenheim holds its cards close and skirts responsibility when...
While the civil war in Syria has killed tens of thousands of people, it has also destroyed countless of the country's ancient treasures. Now a number of Syrians are trying to save what artifacts they can -- and are risking their lives to do so. — spiegel.de
US museums are teaming up with the Syrian Interim Government’s Heritage Task Force to help protect Syrian museum collections and stem the loss of cultural heritage amid the country’s ongoing civil war.
Late last month, experts from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, and the Pennsylvania Museum’s Penn Cultural Heritage Center quietly organised a three-day training session for curators, heritage experts and civilians in an undisclosed location outside of Syria. — theartnewspaper.com
Zaatari is becoming an informal city: a sudden, do-it-yourself metropolis of roughly 85,000 with the emergence of neighborhoods, gentrification, a growing economy and, under the circumstances, something approaching normalcy, though every refugee longs to return home. [...]
The change, accelerated by regional chaos and enterprising Syrians, illustrates a basic civilizing push toward urbanization that clearly happens even in desperate places. — nytimes.com
Many of the world’s displaced live in conditions striking for their wretchedness, but what is startling about Kilis is how little it resembles the refugee camp of our imagination. It is orderly, incongruously so. Residents scan a card with their fingerprints for entry [...]. Inside, it’s stark: 2,053 identical containers spread out in neat rows. No tents. None of the smells — rotting garbage, raw sewage — usually associated with human crush and lack of infrastructure. — nytimes.com
For the sake of argument, let's say that Bashar al-Assad is on the phone. He wants her to build him a prison in Damascus. "Well, I wouldn't mind building in Syria," she shrugs. "I'm an Arab and if it helps people, if it's an opera house or a parliament building, something for the masses, I would do it. But if someone asks me to build a prison, I wouldn't do it. I wouldn't build a prison, irrespective of where it is, even if it was very luxurious." — the guardian
She won't build a prison? How many buildings have been designed, and constructed where the intent is one thing, and the ultimate use has been for something quite nefarious? I don't care who she builds for, ultimately she has to live with those decisions, but she can't be this naive, and expect...
“Protecting heritage is inseparable from protecting populations, because heritage enshrines a people’s values and identities,” she said. “Serious damage has already been inflicted on Syria’s heritage. The destruction of sites such as the historic souk [market] in Aleppo has made headlines around the world. I urge all parties to take all necessary precautions to stop the destruction of Syria’s cultural heritage.” — Al-Ahram Weekly
The mosque, which is a Unesco world heritage site, has been in rebel hands since earlier this year but the area around it is still contested. — BBC News
Both the state news agency and footage uploaded on YouTube show the 'disappearance' of Aleppo's Umayyad Mosque. The mosque is a Unesco world heritage site but has been at the heart of bitter fighting for several months as rebels try to oust President Bashar al-Assad. In photos published by AP...
a Danish architect and part-time aviation journalist is mapping each claimed shoot-down of Assad’s jets and helicopters, resulting in the first running tabulation of the cost — at least in terms of machinery — of the escalating Syrian air war. Bjørn Holst Jespersen’s map, sponsored by journalist David Cenciotti’s blog The Aviationist, marks 19 possible “kills” by rebel forces, as reported in the press or seen in YouTube videos. — wired.com
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