Show Details

Syrian Cultural Site Destruction

October 3, 2014

War in Syria is reducing much of the country’s cultural heritage to rubble.




Between 10 October 2009 (top) and 8 March 2014 (bottom), Palmyra’s north Roman necropolis has been disrupted by road construction and numerous earthen berms (pink arrows) to provide cover for military vehicles (yellow arrows). (Credit: © 2014, Digitalglobe, analysis by AAAS. Coordinates 34.55n, 38.26e)

Syria’s ancient heritage sites endangered.  I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The conflict in Syria is destroying the country’s cultural and historic treasures, according to analysis of satellite images conducted by the AAAS Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights Project. Syria is home to many World Heritage Sites—those are places designated by UNESCO for their cultural or physical significance. Geographer Susan Wolfinbarger is co-principal investigator on the Project.


We’re seeing massive damage in many areas of the country in general, but particularly to the world heritage sites. We’ve seen historic buildings just completely destroyed, we’ve seen damage in five of the six World Heritage Sites that are in the country.


She says the destruction of cultural sites is a human rights issue, because shared cultural and historical heritage helps societies heal and bond after the conflict is over. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.