Obama Urged to Protect Syrian Cultural Heritage

Posted on October 9, 2013

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As the possibility of a military strike against Syria becomes more real, cultural heritage organizations worldwide are appealing to President Obama to take steps that will ensure that Syria’s cultural heritage is protected.

Prominent groups, including the United States Committee of the Blue Shield, have asked that Obama issue an executive order which would require federal agencies to “enter into agreements with any allies and any rebel forces” in order to protect important sites.

Syria is home to some of the world’s oldest archeological sites, some dating back 6,000 years to the Neolithic age. Unfortunately, much of this cultural heritage has already been subject to looting and destruction since the January 2011 uprising against President Bashir al-Assad.

During the American invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, the Defense Department took various measures to train American troops on the identification and protection of cultural heritage. Cultural heritage organizations worldwide are hoping that the United States will take similar measures, should a strike against Syria become a reality.

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