More than 10,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since the Syrian conflict began some 16 months ago. In the midst of the fighting, historical and cultural monuments have also been put at risk. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has issued a plea to those fighting to conserve the monuments.
UNESCO is particularly concerned about Aleppo, containing the historic Citadel of Aleppo, which is listed on the World Heritage List. Reports have indicated there is heavy fighting in Aleppo, an ancient city which has been home to Hittites, Assyrians, Greeks, Romans, Umayyads, Ayyubids, Mongels, Mamelukes, and Ottomans, over the course of millennia.
“Owing to the volatile security situation, it has not been possible to assess the extent of the damage to the ancient city of Aleppo and several other World Heritage sites, including the Crac des Chevaliers, Palmyra, the Ancient Villages in Northern Syria and Damascus,” UNESCO explained.
UNESCO has contacted Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and asked that they ensure the relevant international agreements for the protection of cultural property are adhered to.
The Citadel of Aleppo is one of the oldest and largest castles in the world, dating back to at least the 3rd millennium BC.