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National Campaign: Engaging Local Communities in Protecting Syria's Cultural Heritage

 The ongoing crisis in Syria has had damaging effects on the archeological heritage in Syria. Some historical sites have been sabotaged, looted, robbed and sometimes even destroyed, with some artifacts smuggled outside the country.  For this reason, the Ministry of Culture, through the General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums, launches a national campaign to engage local communities in order to protect Syria's  cultural heritage-  a  treasure for all humanity.

The campaign aims, according to Dr. Mamoun Abdulkarim, the director General of Antiquities and Museums, to raise the awareness of the local communities about the great value of their national heritage, to encourage them to take pride in its constituents and to protect it from theft and sabotage.

In an exclusive interview with Syria Times reporter, Butheina al-Nounou, Dr. Abdulkarim added that it is an established fact that without the support of the local communities to all initiatives set to realize the real value of their heritage, all efforts made by official bodies concerned will remain inadequate to achieve the desired objective.

The campaign will involve all Syrian governorates. It is designed to adopt advertisements and street billboard, in addition to 15-30-minute TV and Radio spots to promote the basic theme of the national campaign. Coordination will be maintained  with journalists in both newspapers and electronic journals to publish introductory and informative articles, serving to this end.  Work will also focus on directing staff in different directorates of Syrian antiquities to cooperate with volunteers and advocates of antiquities preservation, along with opinion leaders, cultural and intellectual elite, and religious figures in rural and urban areas to promote the Syrian heritage protection Campaign. Brochures and other publications will be distributed in universities and schools for this matter.   For further awareness dissemination, the General Directorate for Antiquities and Museums will hold a press conference to launch the campaign and to publicize it in the different media outlets.

Butheina al-Nounou