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Disappearing Piece by Piece: Archaeological Heritage in Syria, part 4

Since armed conflict began, it has reached an unprecedented level with huge human loss, countless refugees, and extensive damage to cultural heritage. As, e. g., in Iraq in 2003 looting antiquities has become a huge business. This is a Storify of the news between mid-November 12 and mid-January 13.


  1. "Artefacts are dug up or stolen from the many sites, smuggled across the Lebanese and Turkish borders, authenticated by experts and then sold on to clients from around the world, including the US", says this article of the Financial Times:
  2. "War is good for business", says a dealer of illicit antiquities in this article by the German "Die Welt".
  3. A summary on looting in Syria during December 2012 by German archaeologist Rainer Schreg:
  4. Damage and destruction in museums

  5. There are 38 archaeological and heritage museums in Syria. They cannot guarantee any protection to the objects stored there, says this overview. The Facebook group "Protect Syrian Archaeology" offers a detailed insight into the current situation: Some museums are under military control, others are destroyed, others are looted. "Protect Syrian Archaeology" appeal to the people of Syria: "Vos musées sont pillés! Vos richesses culturelles sont menacées de destruction! Évitons le désastre des musées irakiens!"
  6. "Protect Syrian Archaeology" posts this video on January 12th writing: "Al-Jazeerah: Interview with the spokesman of 'Protect Syrian Archaeology'. 12 Syria museums have been robbed and bombed". The interior of archaeological museums is shown.
  7. جابر بكر اثنا عشر متحفا سوريا تعرض للقصف والسرقة
  8. Apamée état de lieux du musée archéologique تقرير عن متحف أفاميا الاثري
  9. Homs état de lieux du musée archéologique تقرير متحف حمص الاثري
  10. Damage and destruction on site

  11. This article from November 19th by archaeologist Emma Cunliffe summarizes what we know about the state of Syria’s most important heritage sites:
  12. A brief summary of the news from Aleppo, Apameia and other sites offers this CNN video of December 7th 2012. A German group under the guidance of Prof. Heinz Gaube, Tübingen, was able to restore more than 1.000 historic houses in Aleppo during the past decades. Also this achievement is under threat now.
  13. World News Syria's heritage under threat
  14. "The old city of Aleppo - once a shocwcase in Syria - now it's a shadow of itself", says this comment by news agency Reuters from end of December 2012:
  15. Aleppo's Old City now a ghost town on the front line in Syria.
  16. A video said to be of December 10th and 27th 2012 from inside the Omayyad mosque, a UNESCO World Heritage site, showing people fighting there. "If the fighting continues", writes "Protect Syrian Archaeology", "the mosque might collapse."
  17. Alep Combats à la Mosquée Omayade حلب تقرير اشتباكات الجامع الاموي
  18. Inside Syrian city scarred by war