Thursday Aug 09, 201212:30 PM GMT
Ancient Syrian sites extensively looted, pulverized amid clashes
The Krak des Chevaliers castle has been destroyed during clashes between the Syrian army and anti-government insurgents.
The Krak des Chevaliers castle has been destroyed during clashes between the Syrian army and anti-government insurgents.
Thu Aug 9, 2012 12:29PM
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The situation of Syria's heritage today is catastrophic."

Lebanese archaeologist, Joanne Farchakh

Archeological sites and museums of Syria have been extensively looted and destructed as clashes continue between the Syrian army and anti-government insurgents.


According to a report published by The Independent, monuments and museums of the capital Damascus and the flashpoint city of Aleppo have been largely spared.

Syrian archeologists say an Assyrian temple has been destroyed at Tell Sheikh Hamad and the wall and towers of al-Madiq castle, one of the most forward Crusader fortresses in the Levant, have been ravaged.

Thieves have also stolen Roman mosaics of Apamea, ripping up the Roman floors and transporting them with bulldozers.

Similar incidents have been reported in the "Dead Cities", a group of 700 abandoned settlements in northwest Syria between Aleppo and Idlib.

Around 40 villages grouped in eight archaeological parks situated in north-western Syria provide reflect the rural life in Late Antiquity and during the Byzantine period, featuring architectural remains of dwellings, pagan temples, churches, cisterns and bathhouses.

"The situation of Syria's heritage today is catastrophic," said Lebanese archaeologist Joanne Farchakh, who also investigated the looting and destruction of Iraqi treasures following the US-led attack on the country in 2003.

"As for the old churches, old houses, old streets of Homs, you can forget it - they don't exist anymore," she added.

The monastery of Sednaya, the Umayyad Mosque in Deraa, ruins of Bosra, and the Byzantine-era buildings in al-Bara, Deir Sunbel and Ain Larose in northern Syria are among the countless historical site looted or destroyed since the clashes started in the Middle-Eastern country.

Syria has been the scene of deadly unrest since mid-March, 2011 and many people, including large numbers of army and security personnel, have been killed in the violence.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on August 1 that the country is engaged in a ''crucial and heroic'' battle that will determine the destiny of the nation.

The anti-Syria Western regimes have been calling for President Assad to step down.

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