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World Heritage Convention

Decision 40 COM 7A.18
Ancient City of Damascus (Syrian Arab Republic) (C 20bis)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decisions 37 COM 7B.57, 38 COM 7A.12, and 39 COM 7A.36, adopted at 37th (Phnom Penh, 2013), 38th (Doha, 2014) and 39th (Bonn, 2015) sessions respectively,
  3. Taking into account Decision 40 COM 7A.22 on the World Heritage properties of the Syrian Arab Republic, adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul, 2016),
  4. Expresses its deep concern over the damage caused by the conflict, and the fire at al-Asrooniya neighbourhood within the property, and requests the State Party to submit a detailed report on the damage caused by the fire;
  5. Also requests the State Party to engage in regular communication and consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies on ongoing emergency first-aid interventions at the property and on future urban plans for the al-Asrooniya neighbourhood; and in particular to:
    1. Limit conservation or restoration to first aid interventions until the security situation improves,
    2. Take immediate action to save the remaining structures through adequate shoring and temporary consolidation measures,
    3. In order to recover the social-economic life of al-Asrooniya and other neighbourhoods, develop restoration and reconstruction guidelines, in collaboration with the Advisory Bodies and the World Heritage Centre, that take into account existing documentation and surveys before and after the fire, and the particular social and economic needs of the areas,
    4. Submit to the World Heritage Centre for review by ICOMOS and approval by the World Heritage Committee, reconstruction and restoration plans in al-Asrooniya neighbourhood prior to the commencement of any works;
  6. Urges the State Party to plan and implement all necessary risk-prevention and mitigation plans outlined in the Emergency Response Plan of December 2013, and to report back to the World Heritage Centre on the progress made thereon;
  7. Also urges all parties associated with the situation in Syria to refrain from any action that could cause further damage to the Ancient City of Damascus, including preventing the use of cultural property and prominent architectural elements, in particular the Suleymaniye and Omayyad Mosque Minarets, for military purposes;
  8. Takes note that the State Party has invited a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission to evaluate the state of conservation of the property and identify measures needed to reverse the decay and ensure the conservation and protection of the property,and that the mission is foreseen end of 2016, provided that the security situation allows;
  9. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017;
  10. Decides to retain the Ancient City of Damascus (Syrian Arab Republic) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Decision Code
40 COM 7A.18
Conservation, List of World Heritage in Danger
States Parties 1
State of conservation reports
2016 Ancient City of Damascus
Report of the Decisions adopted during the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016)
Context of Decision