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The Conflict in Syria Is Damaging the Country’s Historic Sites

The ongoing fighting in Syria is devastating irreplaceable artifacts

smithsonian.com

In Syria, the damage from current conflict includes, in addition to the staggering loss of life and an ever-growing population of refugees, the loss of some of the oldest relics of complex human societies.

“When the earliest hominids first came from Africa they passed through Syria, and their remains, together with the tools they made, can still be found there,” says Durham University archaeologist Emma Cunliffe for The Conversation.

Humans first settled here and learned to farm. They built the first towns here in the Levantine Crescent more than 6,000 years ago, which grew into cities with great temples, statues, murals, writing, and codes of law.

Fighting has damaged the 2000 year-old market district of Aleppo, “the Krak de Chevaliers, a 12th-century Crusader castle near Homs” and much more.

Cunliffe:

Even as the history of the world is vanishing before our eyes, this is a conflict that has left more than 100,000 people dead, and millions displaced and traumatised. The question must be asked: in the face of such devastation, how can mere stones matter? My answer, at least, is that it is not one or the other, but only adds to the tragedy. It is the loss of the soul of the nation, and the loss of a mutual shared history from which to frame peace, but also the proof that although peace has left before, it can come again.

Here, a Visually user and blogger who goes by the name Sadegh.sm mapped the list of World Heritage sites and other archaeological and historical resources damaged by the civil war.

Syrian Heritage Sites Under Attack

h/t Marina Koren

More from Smithsonian.com:

UNESCO-Listed Medieval Souk in Syria Burned, Bombed
Looters Are Selling Artifacts to Fund War in Syria

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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