Conflict Endangers Syrian Treasures

Posted on August 28, 2012


The recent fighting in Syrian city Aleppo poses irreparable damage to the city’s architectural and cultural legacy.

A recent article in The New York Times explains that, as the world’s oldest continuously inhabited human settlement, Aleppo has been home to different civilizations for over 5,000 years. One of the oldest structures in the world – The Temple of the Storm God – is located within its boundaries.

As a historic city, Aleppo is no stranger to military conflict. Over time it has been attacked and defended by the armies of Alexander the Great, Genghis Kahn, Tamerlaine, and Muslim general Saladin.

Despite worldwide appeals to protect the treasured sites, cultural preservation is not likely to trump military strategy. Senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies Ed Husain explains, “Assad’s father bombed mosques. A government that readily kills its own people cannot be expected to respect and preserve historical monuments, bricks and mortar. All is expendable for control of the country.”