Decision : CONF 202 IV.7
Ancient City of Damascus (Syrian Arab Republic)
The Bureau expressed to the authorities of the Syrian Arab Republic its grave concern with regard to the serious damage sustained to the authenticity of this exceptional monument, the Omeyyades Mosque through the inordinate use of reinforced concrete, plaster and marble, and by the demolition and reconstruction work carried out without sufficient scientific studies and without taking into account international standards for authenticity and integrity. It recalled Articles 4 and 5 of the World Heritage Convention ratified by the Syrian Arab Republic on 13 August 1975, whereby States Parties undertake to ensure the protection and conservation of their heritage - in accordance with international standards - and Paragraphs 24(b), 56 and 75 of the Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention.
It requested the authorities to immediately issue the necessary instructions to suspend the work and that no further work be undertaken prior to a careful and in-depth study of the present needs, and in conformity with the standards of the international community concerning restoration work and with the advice, should they so wish, of experts that UNESCO is willing to provide.
It further recommended to avoid such work at all costs so as not to compromise the authenticity of other World Heritage sites, as for example, the monuments of the Ancient City of Aleppo. The Bureau thanked the authorities for the financial and human resources provided by Syria for the preservation of its heritage in general.