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
Syria’s largest city was home to more than two million people before the war. Now most of its residents have left, and the city is divided between pro-government forces and rebels — NYT
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
Some of the damage could be repaired, he said. Still, “it won’t be the same,” he said. “Once you have blown down a building, it is blown down.” — NYT
Graham Bowley draws attention to the list of cultural treasures in Syria and northern Iraq, that have been; destroyed, damaged or looted, as a result of three years of war. For more information, see previous coverage here, here and here.
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...
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
“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...
At least 15 Syrian students were killed on Thursday when rebel mortar bombs landed on the canteen of Damascus University's College of Architecture, state-run media reported. — Al Arabiya
Mortar shells landed on the canteen of Damascus University's College of Architecture killed at least 15 students and wounded 30 others on Thursday, state television reported, blaming rebels who have stepped up attacks in the heart of the Syrian capital.
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
“The authorities would have us believe this is urban planning when we are in the middle of a war” — France 24 International News
Journalist Sarra Grira alerts us to the latest turn of events in the ongoing Syrian crisis. The government of Bashar al-Assad has begun selective implementation of Law Number 66. While the law’s official goal is demolition of buildings built in southern Damascus without state approval, for...
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