Ancient City of Damascus (Syria)
The Deputy Director of the World Heritage Centre reported on the information unofficially transmitted to UNESCO expressing concern over the work being done on the western wall of the Mosque of the Omeyyades in Damascus (Syria). When invited by the Chairperson to provide clarification, the Delegate from Syria retraced the history of the Mosque and confirmed that the work in question is being effected on a wall built about twenty years ago to protect the Mosque's inner courtyard from the rain.
The ensuing discussion emphasized the need for the Centre to have a comprehensive and updated documentation available and for the State Party concerned to specify the type of intervention, which may vary from consolidation, restoration, renovation or reconstruction. One delegate pointed out that the States Parties must understand, when fears are expressed concerning a site or a monument inscribed on the List, that it is the duty of the Committee to follow up, in a spirit of openness and co-operation, by sending a mission to the site. This opinion was seconded by other delegates. One of them expressed the hope that the word "reconstruction" would never appear in the reports of the Committee and that a mission might visit Damascus in 1993 and that a report as detailed as the one devoted to the Vatican be submitted at the next meeting of the Bureau. Taking note of the favourable opinion of the Delegate from Syria, the Committee requested the Centre to send a technical mission in the first quarter of 1993.