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UNESCO Adds 6 Syrian Sites to List of World Heritage in Danger

PHNOM PENH-  The World Heritage Committee has decided to place the six World Heritage sites in Syria on the List of World Heritage in Danger so as to draw attention to the risks they are facing because of the situation in the country, according to a UNESCO's press statement on Thursday.

"According to Xinhua, the statement said that "the danger listing is intended to mobilize all possible support for the safeguarding of these properties which are recognized by the international community as being of outstanding universal value for humanity as a whole."

Syria has six sites on the World Heritage List: Ancient City of Damascus, Ancient city of Bosra, Site of Palmyra, Ancient City of Aleppo, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal'at Salah El-Din, and Ancient Villages of Northern Syria.

"All six sites were placed on the list of World Heritage in Danger on Thursday during the 37th session of the World Heritage Committee in Phnom Penh," Roni Amelan, UNESCO's spokesman, told Xinhua over telephone.

According to the UNESCO's document, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies noted that due to the armed conflict situation in Syria, the conditions are no longer present to ensure the conservation and protection of the Outstanding Universal Value of the six World Heritage properties located in Syria.

The UNESCO also called upon all parties associated with the situation in Syria to "refrain from any action that would cause further damage to the cultural heritage of the country and to fulfill their obligations under international law by taking all possible measures to protect such heritage".

H. Mustafa

"Iskenderun in the Middle of Turkish Revolution"

PARIS- Syrian Students National Union (NUSS) in cooperation with the Syrian community in Paris, recently organized a symposium entitled "Iskenderun is a part of Syria in the Middle of the Turkish Revolution" at the Syrian Cultural Centre in Paris. A number of French citizens, independent journalists, and professors attended the symposium.

Belgian journalist of Iskenderun origin Bahar Kimyongür  said: "The Turkish revolution is a result of the failure of Erdogan's  policy in the previous period since he divested Turkey from secularism on which modern Turkey is based ".

Kimyongür clarified that Erdogan has gone far away from merciful Islam which most of Turks believe in.  He also declared that there are "ships putting their loads of Jihadists in Turkey so that these jihadists infiltrate into Syria".

The journalist stressed that Turks, in their various spectrum, reject the role played by Erdogan's government against Syria especially after the Rihania explosions that revealed his government dishonesty and lies ".

 The Belgian journalist warned against the spread of American and European training camps in Antakya, but he pointed out that there are some signs that the USA intends to get rid of Erdogan after his defeat in Syria.

 

For his part Jumaa Bassam Tahhan, an expert of Syrian origin and who is a specialist in global espionage issues, assured that turning Taqsim square into a trading center is a big challenge to the leftist Turkish parties, particularly because this is the square where tens of protesters, supporting these parties, were killed during the demonstrations that swept Turkey in the seventies of last century.

From his part, retired General  and Strategic Advisor, specialized in international terrorism and espionage affairs Alan Korfez, confirmed that Syria is being exposed to a global conspiracy by 29 Arab and foreign countries, noting that a large number of  mercenaries, who entered Syria, are funded by Qatar , Saudi Arabia in cooperation with Turkey with the aim of undermining the Syria-backed resistance project.

Other participants emphasized  that the Turkish Taqsim revolution will continue till the downfall of Erdogan. They stressed that Syria's success in creating a giant market, spreading from the Arabian Gulf to northern Turkey and Iran, is considered a threat to America's economic interests in the region.

N.H. Khider

"Images form My Country" Highlights Syria's Cultural, Tourist, Archaeological Sites

 Thanks to his fifty years old experience in photography, artist Issam Al-Nouri has been able to professionally picture the most important archaeological, heritage, tourist, cultural and religious sites in Syria.

In his photography exhibition, "Images from my Country", Al-Nouri tried to enrich the knowledge of Arab and foreign people about Syria's great history.

In cooperation with the "Association of Friends of Damascus", the exhibition, which was opened recently in Abu Remaneha Cultural Center,  displayed 77 black and white as well as colored photographs depicting most famous old Damascene lanes, houses, and alleys. His Camera monitored magic, beauty and histroy, especially in the Umayyad Mosque, Tukeia Sulaymaniyah , Medhat Pasha Souk, al-Azem Palace and Maktab Anbar.

Beside the ancient Damascene sites,  Al- Nouri was able also to monitor many important archaeological sites in different Syrian governorates, before being renovated and expanded. These archaeological sites included the ancient city of Palmyra, which he documented in black and white pictures in 1965, as well as the Krak des Chevaliers (Al-Husen Citadel) in addition to the marvelous natural scenes in the Syrian coast area.

Talking to the press about his experience in photography, artist al- Nouri said that a lot of his paintings have expressed much nostalgia to certain places he had visited, including a place in occupied al-Quds called "Jetmani" where a huge olive tree stands and where Jesus Christ, peace be upon him, had held prayers.

Artist Al-Nouri held many collective and individual exhibitions in different Syrian governorates.

The artist, who has a Bachelor of  Law, was born in 1938.

Raghda Sawas

Islamic Damascus Ceramics

DAMASCUS, (ST) - The pottery and porcelain industry is one of the unique industries in the eastern Mediterranean region. The industry of pottery dates back to the eighth millennium BC, whereas ceramic industry goes back early to the second millennium BC.

Researcher, Mona Muezzin, in her book entitled "Islamic Damascus Ceramics", preserved in the National Museum in Damascus, talks about her view of this industry from the thirteenth century to the eighteenth century AD.

 Mrs. Muezzin gives a clear idea about the artistic, scientific and industrial activity through manufacturing the pot by hand and then dried in furnaces, followed by the installation of dyes or colors prepared of natural materials and the implementation of the decorative subject on the pot of different shapes.

The artist who decorates ceramic pots is always professional and talented.  He must carry and stir the pot in one hand , however, and with the other hand holds the brush. First, he divides the pot into fields or ranges and second he expand motifs within those spaces to immerse the pottery in a textured glass and grill it again to get an earthenware.

"Pottery and porcelain industry is of great importance and inherent in archaeological sites, and helps to define the history of the site as the porcelain particularly helps define the history of Islamic sites due to the spread and diversity of porcelain widely used in medieval Islamic," Mrs. Muezzin pointed out.

 Scientists and specialists in this field provided all types of ceramic studies and identified their features and classification, Mrs. Muezzin added.

Most who have worked in this field is Dr. Arthurlin who occupied as Secretary of Victoria and Albert Museum, one of the world's largest museums in London, in addition to his specialty in acquisition of ceramic artifacts. Damascene ceramic archaeological artifacts are unknown, even though some of them came to international museums by some dealers and collectors of antiquities, Mrs. Muezzin explained.

 The writer works in her research on the preparation of a special card for each artifact which offers basic information such as the name, number, source of museum, type of ceramic and measures, indicating whether the item is complete or incomplete.

 The researcher also made an inventory of all Damascene ceramic pieces, whether in the warehouse or in the museum and identified their resources and then classified them according to their types.

 Sh. Kh.

International Plan to Protect Syrian Cultural Heritage

 

 

 

 DAMASCUS, (ST) - At the invitation of UNESCO and the contribution from the Swiss government, an international workshop was held recently in Jordan entitled  "Regional Training on Syrian Cultural Heritage, Treating the Issue of Illicit Trafficking". Present at the workshop were the Director-General of Antiquities and Museums in Syria, Dr. Maumoon Abdul Karim, and members of the accompanying delegation.

A report by the Directorate of Antiquities and Museums said that the workshop conducted an objective discussion of the phenomenon of illicit trafficking of cultural property in general, and regional training on the protection of Syrian cultural heritage particularly it is threatened by serious risks because of the acts of vandalism and theft.

The axes of the workshop included the international and legal framework to combat illicit trafficking and the current reality of the Syrian antiques in addition to the regional and international cooperation for the protection of Syrian cultural property in Syria.

 

In the axis of the international legal framework to combat illicit trafficking, representatives of UNESCO offered a comprehensive review of the international legal framework for the protection of cultural heritage around the world and dealing with the phenomenon of illegal trade. The international legal norms, contained by the UNESCO Convention of 1954 for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Events of Armed Conflict, were introduced. The conferees emphasized that the damage to cultural property of any people means damage to the cultural heritage of all humanity.

 

The UNESCO Convention of 1970 was reviewed concerning the measures that must be taken to prohibit and prevent the import, export, transfer and ownership of the cultural property in an illegal way and the obligation of States concerned to protect cultural property, existing within their territories, of thefts and excavation work contrary to the law, export illegally and work to expand the frameworks of international cooperation in this domain because the protection of cultural property can not be viable only if it is organized at the national and international levels. 

The UNDRWA Convention of 1995also was reviewed, which is an important tool for the protection of cultural heritage and defining a mechanism to restore cultural property sold illegally. The convention also emphasizes the return of stolen cultural property and exported illegally and inciting international society to combat the phenomenon of illicit trafficking in cultural property.

 

About the current reality of the Syrian antiques "damages and protection", the Director General of Antiquities and Museums in Syria offered a comprehensive presentation entitled " Reality of antiquities in Syria since the beginning of the crisis until now and strategic protection".

He underlined that all Syrian museums' possessions are intact and safe, and drew underlined the need to distinguish between the damage in museums and the situation of archaeological sites that some suffer from abuse. He pointing out to the great efforts made by the General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums in co-operation with the official authorities and local community to alleviate the damage as much as possible for cultural property. 

The Director General reviewed precautionary measures in the Syrian museums to ensure the protection of these museums and the damages that hit some archaeological sites in the governorates. He noted the importance of cooperation with all the parties and international organizations working in the cultural affairs for the protection and recovery of cultural heritage "taken out of Syria illegally".

He also spoke about the success of the national campaign launched by the Ministry of Culture and the General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums. The campaign entitled "Syria my home" that contributed to alert citizens to the importance of cultural heritage and the need to protect and preserve it as a "major component of national identity and a source of pride."

 

In the area of regional and international cooperation for the protection of Syrian cultural property, the Director General of Antiquities and Museums talked about the impact of regional and international cooperation in the protection of cultural and humanitarian heritage and the importance of effective international and regional cooperation to contribute to the preservation of cultural heritage in Syria.

 Mr. Abdul Karim talked about the delay of international organizations of performing their duties in communicating with the Ministry of Culture and General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums in Syria. He pointed out to the facts about the damage and threats that hit the Syrian heritage.

He stressed the importance of addressing an appeal to the United Nations and governments to exclude the Syrian cultural heritage of the unfair international sanctions imposed on Syria and demanded to issue an international resolution of the Security Council to assist in the protection of Syrian cultural heritage and prevent illicit trafficking.

 Mr. Abdul Karim talked about the need and importance of foreign missions licensed to operate in Syria to hold activities and workshops with Syrian archaeologists to evaluate the damage hit the archaeological sites and search for ways to fix them. He also stressed the need to provide scientific and technical support to his directorate being the authorized official government body to protect and manage the Syrian cultural heritage.

At the conclusion of the workshop, participants stressed their keenness to continue cooperation with the General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums and willingness to provide assistance by all possible means to protect Syrian cultural property from the dangers that threaten it. Representatives of international organizations participating in the workshop appreciated the efforts exerted by the bodies concerned in the cultural affairs in Syria and precautionary procedures contributed to maintaining the treasures in museums.

During the workshop, discussions focused on the measures that can be taken to combat illicit trafficking and the current needs and threats to the protection of cultural heritage in Syria and the role that could be played by the international community represented by the international cultural organizations  such as Interpol, international customs, procedures that can be carried out by neighboring countries to help ease the risk to the Syrian cultural heritage, how to assess the damage, recovery mechanisms and prospects of regional and international cooperation in this regard. 

At the end of the workshop a set of proposals and recommendations were provided including the preparation of an international plan by all parties involved in the workshop to work with the General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums to defend and protect the Syrian cultural heritage. A plan was prepared including two levels of action and mechanisms of action , medium-range and long-range. Asking the Security Council to adopt an international resolution to prevent trafficking in stolen Syrian cultural property during the current crisis and the work to recover the Syrian cultural property.

Present at the workshop were representatives of most the international institutions and bodies working on the protection of cultural heritage around the world including UNESCO, ICOM,  International Council of Monuments and Sites, International Center for the Study, Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, the International Committee of the Blue Shield, Interpol, International Customs, French and Italian police to combat illicit trafficking in cultural property, most important foreign archaeologists licensed exploration in Syria and representatives of a number of neighboring countries. 

The participation of the Syrian delegation was the first international meeting since the beginning of the crisis in Syria, where the delegation discussed the threats and risks that face the Syrian cultural heritage, ways and mechanisms of activating international cooperation to reduce their effects.

Sh. Kh