Ancient City of Damascus (Syrian Arab Republic) (C 20bis)
Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 1979
Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
Destruction as well as ascertained and potential threats consequent to the armed conflict in Syria started in March 2011
Corrective measures identified
Not yet identified
Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
Not yet identified
Previous Committee Decisions see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/20/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 156,050
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/20/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Total amount granted to the property: USD 10,000 from the Italian Funds-in-Trust.
Total amount provided to the six Syrian World Heritage properties: 2.46 million Euros by the European Union (for World Heritage, movable and intangible heritage); USD 200 000 by the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage in Bahrain (for cultural heritage under conflict); USD 170 000 by the Flemish Government (for World Heritage, movable and intangible heritage); 63 000 Euros by the Government of Austria (for World Heritage, movable and intangible heritage)
Previous monitoring missions
March and December 2007: World Heritage Centre missions for the King Faisal Street project; April 2008: Joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission. April 2016: World Heritage Centre Rapid Assessment mission
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
Before the conflict:
- Poor state of conservation
- Inappropriate restoration techniques
- Lack of a buffer zone
- Lack of a management plan
- Development projects threatening the significant historic fabric
Since March 2011:
- Damage due to the armed conflict
- Fire due to an electrical incident at al-Asrooniya and elsewhere in the property
Illustrative material see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/20/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2017
On 18 January 2017, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report for the six Syrian World Heritage properties, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/20/documents.
Despite the measures taken by the State Party to implement the December 2013 Emergency Response Plan, the State Party reports that in addition to the fire that broke out in April 2016 and damaged 105 shops as well as the “Ottoman Bank”, several additional fires spread in the property in 2016. On 2 December 2016, a huge fire broke out in souk al-Hamidiyah destroying eight shops and damaging 12 others. On 4 October 2016, a fire damaged a traditional house near the al-Ward Mosque in the historical protected district of Sarouja at the north west of the property.
The State Party indicates that the Department of the Old Damascus at the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museum (DGAM) implemented several measures in cooperation with other stakeholders operating in the Old City. These activities include damage assessment undertaken in collaboration with the Damascus Governorate and the shop owners, documentation in coordination with the Heritage Committee of the Engineers Syndicate and the Directorate of the Old City (Damascus Governorate), and the implementation of an underground electric network as well as the reconstruction of damaged shops. It further indicates that despite the intention to preserve the historic and traditional urban fabric, the construction techniques and materials used are not those historically used in the property. The State Party also reports that the DGAM continues to raise awareness amongst the local authorities on the need to strengthen risk mitigation measures in the Old City, in particular fire prevention, such as by removing inflammable materials and providing fire-extinguishing devices.
In addition, it indicates that in the framework of the Anqa project (a joint ICOMOS/CyArk initiative) started in January 2016 for the 3D modelling of landmark monuments, the 3D documentation of the property by drones has started.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM
See General Decision 41 COM 50 of this Document on the World Heritage properties of the Syrian Arab Republic.
In the framework of the UNESCO “Emergency Safeguarding of Syrian Cultural Heritage” project and at the request of the DGAM, UNESCO organized a First Aid support meeting on 14 and 15 November 2016, for the follow-up to the Committee Decision 40 COM 7A.17. The meeting gathered 25 participants representing six Syrian institutions, a local NGO, and Syrian experts, in order to discuss the restoration plans undertaken and foreseen following the fire in al-Asrooniya neighbourhood, address risk mitigation measures in the neighbourhood in particular, and in the overall property in general, and clarify the World Heritage Convention’s mechanisms and procedures for the approval of emergency and non-emergency actions. The meeting agreed on follow-up actions for the implementation of the recommendations of the meeting, which are available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/news/1593.
Moreover, during the Technical Assistance Workshop organized by the World Heritage Centre in Beirut from 13 to 15 December 2016, UNESCO experts discussed with DGAM staff the project proposed for the restoration of the “Ottoman Bank” in al-Asrooniya neighborhood. In their report available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/events/1386, the experts noted that the proposed project lacks information, maintains the modern partitions in place before the fire, and follows a restoration principle that does not respect the authenticity of the monument.
The following main recommendations were agreed upon at both the First Aid support meeting and the Technical Assistance Workshop:
- Reinforce coordination between the entities in charge of the property, notably with regards to emergency situations, and establish a special unit for Disaster Risk Management and Prevention;
- Ensure coordination with the World Heritage Centre, before the implementation of any restoration works;
- Develop an integrated Site Management Plan;
- Create a data bank of documentation and archives;
- Ensure the strict use of traditional construction techniques and materials for the restoration to avoid the deterioration of the urban fabric and the gradual loss of its authenticity;
- Review the cultural heritage law to avoid the gradual loss of authenticity in the property, and ensure that violations within the urban fabric are stopped and controlled;
- Carry out preventive awareness-raising activities for the local communities and the private sector.
For the Ottoman Bank, in particular:
- Clarify the coordination mechanism for the restoration of the building;
- Carry out a sound structural diagnosis and implement emergency measures as a priority, in particular emergency consolidation and the protection of the building from weathering;
- Undertake restoration works in conformity with the original building design, as identified in the archives and documentation available.
The damages regularly caused by fire in the property are of concern. For the protection of the property, it is crucial to implement all necessary risk-prevention and mitigation measures outlined in the Emergency Response Plan of December 2013, as well as the recommendations agreed upon during the First Aid support meeting and the Technical Assistance workshop. Although restoration works at the shops were urgent, it is regrettable that the project was not submitted to the World Heritage Centre for examination by the Advisory Bodies, before any work was implemented, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, and that these restorations affect the traditional fabric of the property. It becomes urgent to develop an integrated management plan for the property.
It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission to the property to examine the restoration works that have been undertaken and the foreseen ones, as soon as the situation allows.
General Decision on the World Heritage properties of the Syrian Arab Republic
- Current conservation issues
The armed conflict in Syria started in March 2011 and has constantly escalated leading to significant violence and degradation of humanitarian conditions. It continues to inflict damage on the inscribed properties as well as on the 12 sites inscribed on the Tentative List. Sites continue to be damaged by shelling, street fighting, underground explosions, extensive illegal excavations, military use, construction violations, quarrying, in addition to intentional destructions and inappropriate use of archaeological sites by internally displaced populations.
On 18 January 2017, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/sessions/41COM/documents, with detailed information on the destruction and damage at the six World Heritage properties. This report represents an official statement from the Syrian authorities and collates available information from the branches of the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM) and from the local communities up to 31 December 2016. The State Party notes that as ground access in Syria for heritage experts is limited the full extent of the damage to World Heritage properties cannot be assessed in detail. Therefore, the report do not provide first-hand information on all sites, and thus do not allow a full understanding of the extent of damage to the properties.
The State Party reported on the actions carried out by the DGAM, despite the difficult working conditions, to monitor the World Heritage properties and cultural heritage in general, assess damages, undertake emergency conservation and risk mitigation actions whenever possible, and inventory built and movable heritage. The report also stressed the DGAM efforts in maintaining salaries for its staff in the inaccessible regions (Ancient Villages of Northern Syria, Ancient City of Bosra), and highlighted the positive role played by local communities in some cases to safeguard heritage and limit illegal excavations.
On 9 April 2017, the State Party provided updated information on the conservation of the sites inscribed on the Tentative List, which indicates the following:
- In ‘Ebla (Tell Mardikh)’, ‘Mari (Tell Hariri)’ and the site of Dura Europos, illegal excavations stopped;
- In ‘Apamea (Afamia)’, illegal excavations are still on-going on but to a lesser degree than in previous years;
- In ‘Maaloula’, the Municipality, in collaboration with the DGAM and the United Nations Programme for Development (UNDP), has cleaned the site to accelerate the return of inhabitants, and started undertaking rehabilitation projects, such as the restoration of the Patriarchal Monastery of Mar Takla (almost completed), the rehabilitation of Mar Sarkis and of a hundred residential buildings, which suffered minor to medium damage. In addition, the study for the rehabilitation of the infrastructure has been completed;
- No information on damages is provided at the site of ‘Raqqa-Rafiqa: the Abassid City’ (still under the control of extremist armed groups) and the site of ‘Qasr al-Hayr ach-Charqi, a desert Castle’ (occupied by armed groups since 2013);
- At the site of the ‘Noreas of Hama’, local authorities ensure the conservation of the Noreas and the maintenance of its machinery for the effective operation of the system. The DGAM is preparing a restoration project for masonry structures that should be implemented in 2017;
- In ‘Ugrarit (Tell Shamra)’, the national archaeological mission is ensuring the regular maintenance at the site.
- No further damage is reported at the sites of ‘Tartus: the Crusaders Citadel-City’ and ‘Arwad Island’.
Activities undertaken by UNESCO
- Since the 40th session of the Committee (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016), UNESCO has pursued its actions to assist the State Party in its continuous and sustained efforts to safeguard cultural heritage;
- At the international level, UNESCO continues to raise the awareness of the international community on the destruction of cultural heritage in Syria, notably through the #Unite4Heritage campaign and in the framework of the implementation of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2199 adopted on 12 February 2015. On 24 March 2017, the UNSC adopted Resolution 2347 recognizing for the first time the importance of heritage protection for peace and security;
- At the national level, UNESCO has pursued its activities to monitor the situation of Syrian cultural heritage, raise awareness on its protection, undertake short, medium and long-term actions to safeguard it, and coordinate the work of national and international entities working on its safeguarding;
- In the framework of the European Union-funded project “Emergency Safeguarding of Syrian Cultural Heritage” (2.46 million Euros), co-financed by Flanders and Austria, started in March 2014 and implemented in partnership with ICOMOS and ICCROM, the following activities were undertaken:
- A meeting was organized by UNESCO and INTERPOL in Beirut on 14-15 December 2016, to discuss with other international and national organizations the effective strategies for the implementation of relevant international agreements established to strengthen the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural objects,
- An awareness raising video clip on the destruction of heritage in Syria was launched on 23 November 2016 and shared on social media, and available at: http://en.unesco.org/syrian-observatory/videos.
- Since 29 November 2016, the 3D documentation and structural analysis of the Crac des Chevaliers is being carried out by the DGAM with the technical support of a professional team,
- On 14-15 November 2016, a First Aid Support Meeting was organized in collaboration with the World Heritage Centre for the follow-up to the Committee Decision 40 COM 7A.18 on the Ancient City of Damascus to coordinate with all stakeholders the measures to be taken for the protection of the property and the recovery of al-Asrooniya neighbourhood, and in particular of the “Ottoman Bank” historic building,
- A follow-up training on emergency 3D recording and archiving of cultural heritage in high-risk zones was organized by UNESCO Office in Beirut from 26 to 30 October 2016 for staff members from several Syrian ministries, municipalities, NGOs and members of the Engineers Syndicate and the civil society, and provided training on the use of modern techniques for the digitization of their archives,
- A training on the safeguarding and digitization of historic documents and archives in Syria, was organized in collaboration with the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) from 19 to 23 September 2016 in Beirut,
- A 52-minute "Documentary on the Safeguarding of the Syrian Cultural Heritage" in Arabic, English and French, on the actions implemented for the protection of cultural heritage in Syria is being produced and foreseen to be launch by end of 2017;
- The UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund and the World Heritage Centre have supported the evacuation of the Palmyra Museum collection and the damage assessment in the museum, carried out from May to August 2016. In addition, the UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund has supported the organization of the below listed technical coordination meeting for the Ancient City of Aleppo (1-3 March 2017) and a coordination meeting entitled ‘Aleppo, the responsibility and the challenge’ organized by the Syrian Ministry of Tourism in Aleppo (15 March 2017), as well as emergency damage assessment and consolidation works in Aleppo;
- Following the second international meeting for the Emergency Safeguarding of Syria’s Cultural Heritage organized by UNESCO in Berlin from 2- 4 June 2016 with the support of the German Government, the revised Road Map was finalized and published on the World Heritage Centre’s Website at: https://whc.unesco.org/en/news/1505/. The Road Map, which was drafted with the support of 230 Syrian and international experts concerns Syria’s built, movable and intangible heritage, and addresses coordination, ongoing initiatives on documentation, damage assessment, and capacity building efforts and defines the next steps focusing on future emergency and protection plans;
- UNESCO organized a Training of the Trainers Workshop on World Heritage in Young Hands, in Damascus from 25 to 27 October 2016;
- The World Heritage Centre has successfully fundraised with the Flemish Funds-in-Trust for the project ‘Implementation of the Committee Decisions for the Site of Palmyra’ (USD 100 000), approved in December 2016;
- The joint World Heritage Centre/ICCROM/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission, which was foreseen to be carried out to Damascus in December 2016, could not take place under the United Nations security and safety rules. Nevertheless, in order to respond to urgent conservation needs, the World Heritage Centre organized a Technical Assistance Workshop at the UNESCO Office in Beirut from 13 to 15 December 2016, for the World Heritage properties of the Crac des Chevaliers, Palmyra and the Ancient City of Damascus. This Technical Assistance Workshop provided the DGAM Restoration Unit staff with the technical support needed for the conservation and restoration works in al-Asrooniya neighborhood in Damascus, at the Crac des Chevaliers and at the site of Palmyra (Citadel, National Museum of Palmyra, Temple of Bel and Triumphal Arch), through discussions on surveys, drawings, and projects. As a result, technical advice and recommendations were made by the experts on the priorities and actions to implement at these sites, see page: https://whc.unesco.org/en/events/1386/;
The UNESCO Office in Beirut undertook a Rapid Assessment mission to the Ancient City of Aleppo on 16-19 January 2017, together with the UN Resident Coordinator and the DGAM. The mission confirmed the extent of damages in the accessible areas of the property, as well as the state of educational institutions in the city and identified urgent and short term needs;
- UNESCO organized a technical coordination meeting for the Ancient City of Aleppo in Beirut on 1-3 March 2017. The meeting gathered key representatives of national stakeholders, and international entities involved in the documentation, protection, conservation and strategic planning in Aleppo, with the objectives of harnessing the safeguarding of tangible and intangible cultural heritage in future recovery plans of the city and protecting the property. Participants agreed on short, medium and long term actions for the recovery of the property (see Plan of actions available at: https://whc.unesco.org/en/news/1639/);
- Since April 2017, UNESCO appointed two national officers in Aleppo, one for Culture and one for Education to ensure coordination with local and national authorities for the implementation of activities for the recovery of the property;
- UNESCO and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research’s Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNITAR/UNOSAT) are jointly preparing a publication on damage assessment in the Ancient City of Aleppo.
Activities undertaken by the Advisory Bodies
- In September 2016 ICOMOS hosted an international workshop in Paris to explore the development of initial guidance on reconstruction in World Heritage properties. This 3-day workshop included delegates from State Parties, the Advisory Bodies and the World Heritage Centre as well as individual experts;
- The outcome of the workshop, a document entitled Provisional ICOMOS Guidance on Post Trauma Reconstruction in Cultural World Heritage Properties, was launched in March 2017, and is available at: http://openarchive.icomos.org/1763/. This Guidance is addressed to State Parties who are the respondents to the traumas. It aims to fill the gap between emergency action and reconstruction. The Guidance does not focus on solutions but rather on the participative processes needed to find a solution that has the capacity to recover cultural value, and particularly the attributes of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV). This document will be updated in response to feedback and complemented by case studies;
- ICOMOS, through ICORP its International Scientific Committee on Risk Preparedness, and ICCROM are partners in the “AMAL in Heritage” programme for managing disaster and conflict risks for cultural heritage in the Middle East and North Africa. Other partners are the Global Heritage Fund, the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage, the Cultural Emergency Response programme at the Prince Claus Fund and the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage in Erbil. AMAL aims to build capacity for heritage professionals and local community members in risk preparedness and emergency response procedures;
- AMAL is developing user-friendly mobile and web applications for rapid damage assessment. These were tested in October 2016 at a workshop in Bahrain with participants from AMAL partners and other experts from the region. The workshop established the AMAL Beta Community of cultural heritage professionals from Syria, Iraq, and Tunisia who will contribute to the ongoing design process of the mobile application and will conduct on-site damage assessment exercises and projects in Syria, Iraq, Tunisia, and other countries in the region when conditions allow.
- Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM
The armed conflict situation in Syria and its continued escalation has affected the six World Heritage properties and has substantially limited capacities to adequately sustain and protect their OUV. The properties have been increasingly threatened by ascertained and potential dangers, in particular the Ancient City of Aleppo, which has been extensively and increasingly destroyed, and which runs the risk of further irreversible destructions during the challenging recovery phase. From 11 December 2016 to 2 March 2017, Palmyra fell back under the control of extremist armed groups who inflicted additional invaluable damage to the property.
The illegal excavations across archaeological sites and tells in Syria are a major source for the illicit trafficking of cultural objects and are causing extensive and irreversible damages to those sites, many of which are on Syria’s Tentative List, as well as providing looted artifacts for sale in regional and international black markets.
It is recommended that the Committee commend the DGAM, heritage professionals in Syria and local communities who have made sustained efforts to protect cultural heritage and to monitor it closely.
The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies will continue to support the State Party in the identification of the necessary corrective measures and in the development of a Desired state of conservation for the removal of the properties from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), as soon as the situation allows.
It is important that humanitarian and security actions be done in coordination with cultural heritage stakeholders, to avoid further irreversible damages to the properties, and allow for undertaking first aid measures for its cultural heritage. Furthermore, it is recommended that systematic documentation of all damage incurred at the World Heritage properties be duly pursued, whenever the situation allows, and that the Committee reiterate its call to the State Party to safeguard damaged properties through minimal first aid interventions to prevent theft, further collapse and natural degradation, and refrain from undertaking other measures until the situation allows for the development of a comprehensive strategy and action plan that respond to international standards and high-quality scientific methods.
With regard to post-conflict interventions, it is recommended that the Committee call on the State Party to plan the future of the World Heritage properties according to international conservation charters and standards, in full consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies.
It is recommended that the Committee call for international and national heritage professionals to continue to unite for the safeguarding of Syria’s cultural heritage; and to further support its safeguarding through earmarked funds and to contributions to the UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund.
Until conditions improve, it is also recommended that the Committee urge all parties associated with the conflict in Syria to refrain from any action that can further damage the heritage of the country, in particular World Heritage properties and all sites included on the Tentative List, and to fulfill their obligations under international law, and in particular the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2347 of March 2017, in part by taking all possible measures to protect such heritage including the evacuation of World Heritage properties used for military purposes, and the halting of all damages that result from targeting World Heritage properties. It is also recommended that the Committee reiterate its suggestion that the State Party consider ratifying the Second Protocol (1999) of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Heritage during times of Armed Conflict.
It is further recommended that the Committee also call upon all parties associated with the conflict in Syria and the international community, in particular the neighbouring countries to Syria, to ensure effective measures for the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural objects, in line with the UN Security Council Resolution 2199.
Decision Adopted: 41 COM 7A.46
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7A.Add,
- Recalling Decisions 38 COM 7A.12, 39 COM 7A.36, and 40 COM 7A.17, adopted at its 38th (Doha, 2014), 39th (Bonn, 2015) and 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016) sessions respectively,
- Taking into account Decision 41 COM 7A.50 on the World Heritage properties of the Syrian Arab Republic,
- Expresses its concern over the damage regularly caused by fire within the property;
- Regrets that the restoration works undertaken in al-Asrooniya neighbourhood are not based on historical archives and documentation, and do not use traditional materials, thus impacting the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;
- Reiterates the urgency to plan and implement all necessary risk-prevention and mitigation actions outlined in the Emergency Response Plan of December 2013, and to report back to the World Heritage Centre on the progress made thereon;
- Reiterates its request to the State Party to:
- Limit conservation or restoration works to first aid interventions until the security situation improves,
- Take immediate action to save the remaining structures through adequate shoring and temporary consolidation measures,
- Submit to the World Heritage Centre, for review by ICOMOS, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, any reconstruction and restoration project within property, in particular al-Asrooniya neighbourhood including the “Ottoman Bank”, prior to the commencement of any works;
- Encourages the State Party to also implement the recommendations of the First Aid Support Meeting and the Technical Assistance Workshop, in particular:
- Reinforce coordination for the protection of the property, including through joint committees for disaster risk management and for the restoration of the “Ottoman Bank”,
- Develop an integrated management plan,
- Create a data bank of documentation and archives to ensure that restoration works are carried out in conformity with the original buildings design,
- Ensure the revision of the cultural heritage law to avoid the gradual loss of authenticity in the property,
- Ensure the strict use of traditional construction techniques and materials for the restoration works within the property,
- Carry out a sound structural diagnosis and implement emergency measures at the Ottoman Bank as a priority, in particular emergency consolidation and the protection of the building from weathering;
- 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;
- Calls on all UNESCO Member States to support emergency safeguarding measures, including through the UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund;
- Requests the State Party to invite of a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission to proceed to a comprehensive assessment of the state of conservation of the property and identify measures needed to reverse the decay and ensure the conservation and protection of the property, as soon as the security situation allows;
- Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2018, 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 42nd session in 2018;
- Decides to retain the Ancient City of Damascus (Syrian Arab Republic) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Decision Adopted: 41 COM 7A.50
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7A.Add,
- Recalling Decisions 38 COM 7A.12, 39 COM 7A.36 and 40 COM 7A.17, adopted at its 38th (Doha, 2014), 39th (Bonn, 2015) and 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016) sessions respectively,
- Deplores the conflict situation prevailing in the country, the loss of human life and the degradation of humanitarian conditions;
- Taking note of the reports provided by the State Party regarding the state of conservation of the six Syrian World Heritage properties and of the sites inscribed on the Syrian Tentative List, commends the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM) and all the heritage professionals and the local communities in Syria who are working on monitoring and protecting cultural heritage for their sustained efforts amidst extremely difficult conditions, but expresses its utmost concern at the damage occurred and the threats facing these properties and cultural heritage in general;
- Urges all parties associated with the situation in Syria to refrain from any action that would cause further damage to cultural heritage of the country and to fulfil their obligations under international law, and in particular the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2347 of March 2017, by taking all possible measures to protect such heritage, including the halting of all damages that result from targeting World Heritage properties, sites included in the Tentative List and other cultural heritage sites;
- Also urges the State Party to adopt measures for the evacuation of World Heritage properties being used for military purposes;
- Further urges the State Party and the international community to include recovery actions within the properties to the overall humanitarian, security and peace building response;
- Urges furthermore the State Party to safeguard damaged properties through minimal first aid interventions to prevent theft, further collapse and natural degradation, and to refrain from undertaking conservation and restoration work until the situation allows, for the development of comprehensive conservation strategies and actions that respond to international standards in full consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies;
- Requests the State Party to pursue the systematic documentation of all damage incurred by the World Heritage properties, whenever conditions allow, and to implement all possible risk mitigation measures, to inform on the development of the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the properties from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) and the identification of corrective measures for all six properties;
- Launches an appeal to all Member States of UNESCO to cooperate in fighting against the illicit trafficking of cultural heritage coming from Syria as per the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2199 of February 2015, and in engaging in the protection of cultural heritage during armed conflict as per the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2347 of March 2017, and reiterates its suggestion to the State Party to consider ratifying the Second Protocol (1999) of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Heritage during times of Armed Conflict;
- Insists on the importance of ensuring that there be effective coordination of all efforts with a view to restoring, reconstructing, and conserving the cultural heritage of Syria with the effective participation of UNESCO ;
- Calls upon the international community to further support the safeguarding of Syrian cultural heritage through earmarked funds or through contribution to the UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund;
- Also calls upon the international and national cultural heritage professionals to unite for the safeguarding of Syria’s cultural heritage, and pursue their ongoing initiatives in coordination with UNESCO;
- Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2018, an updated report on the state of conservation of the properties and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 42nd session in 2018.
Decision Adopted: 41 COM 8C.2
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC/17/41.COM/7A, WHC/17/41.COM/7A.Add and WHC/17/41.COM/7A.Add.2),
- Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
- Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Decision 41 COM 7A.54)
- Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 41 COM 7A.55)
- Belize, Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Decision 41 COM 7A.2)
- Bolivia (Plurinational State of), City of Potosí (Decision 41 COM 7A.23)
- Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.4)
- Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 41 COM 7A.24)
- Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 41 COM 7A.6)
- Democratic Republic of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.7)
- Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.8)
- Democratic Republic of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 41 COM 7A.9)
- Democratic Republic of the Congo, Salonga National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.10)
- Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.11)
- Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 41 COM 7A.32)
- Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 41 COM 7A.3)
- Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 41 COM 7A.18)
- Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 41 COM 7A.33)
- Iraq, Hatra (Decision 41 COM 7A.34)
- Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 41 COM 7A.35)
- Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (site proposed by Jordan) (Decision 41 COM 7A.36)
- Libya, Archaeological Site of Cyrene (Decision 41 COM 7A.37)
- Libya, Archaeological Site of Leptis Magna (Decision 41 COM 7A.38)
- Libya, Archaeological Site of Sabratha (Decision 41 COM 7A.39)
- Libya, Old Town of Ghadamès (Decision 41 COM 7A.40)
- Libya, Rock-Art Sites of Tadrart Acacus (Decision 41 COM 7A.41)
- Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 41 COM 7A.14)
- Mali, Old Towns of Djenné (Decision 41 COM 7A.28)
- Mali, Timbuktu (Decision 41 COM 7A.29)
- Mali, Tomb of Askia (Decision 41 COM 7A.30)
- Micronesia (Federated States of), Nan Madol: Ceremonial Centre of Eastern Micronesia (Decision 41 COM 7A.56)
- Niger, Aïr and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 41 COM 7A.15)
- Palestine, Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Decision 41 COM 7A.42)
- Palestine, Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir (Decision 41 COM 7A.43)
- Panama, Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Decision 41 COM 7A.25)
- Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 41 COM 7A.26)
- Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.16)
- Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 41 COM 7A.21)
- Solomon Islands, East Rennell (Decision 41 COM 7A.19)
- Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Aleppo (Decision 41 COM 7A.44)
- Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Bosra (Decision 41 COM 7A.45)
- Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Damascus (Decision 41 COM 7A.46)
- Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient Villages of Northern Syria (Decision 41 COM 7A.47)
- Syrian Arab Republic, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (Decision 41 COM 7A.48)
- Syrian Arab Republic, Site of Palmyra (Decision 41 COM 7A.49)
- Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 41 COM 7A.31)
- United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (Decision 41 COM 7A.22)
- United Republic of Tanzania, Selous Game Reserve (Decision 41 COM 7A.17)
- United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 41 COM 7A.1)
- Uzbekistan, Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz (Decision 41 COM 7A.57)
- Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Coro and its Port (Decision 41 COM 7A.27)
- Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 41 COM 7A.51)
- Yemen, Old City of Sana’a (Decision 41 COM 7A.52)
- Yemen, Old Walled City of Shibam (Decision 41 COM 7A.53)