As part of its continuous efforts to support Syrians in protecting and safeguarding their cultural heritage, UNESCO, together with ICCROM-ATHAR, and the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage - Bahrain (ARC-WH) organized a training for Syrian professionals in Beirut, Lebanon, with the aim to establish national teams capable of undertaking emergency response interventions to secure endangered built cultural heritage, as well as training other teams within the country.
Held from 1 to 10 June 2015, the "First Aid to Built Cultural Heritage in Syria" workshop brought together twenty three architects, restoration experts, civil engineers, museum curators and archaeologists from major Syrian cities and the country' s cultural institutions, including the Damascus National Museum, Old Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, Crac des Chevaliers, Daraa, Der Ez-Zor, and Lattakia.
The training comes to follow-up on a workshop organized in late 2014, which was attended by nine of the participants to this year’s course. International and Syrian experts from UNESCO, ICCROM, ICOMOS and local NGOs conducted this workshop's programme that was developed in close cooperation with the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM) in Syria. The programme was composed of four main modules: rapid documentation; damage assessment and structural analysis; risk assessment and management; and working with local communities.
As the conflict in Syria enters its fourth year, and with the worsening of the humanitarian and security situation, concerns over the protection of the Syrian cultural heritage have increased notably. In response to this prevailing alarming situation, and at the explicit request expressed by Syrian stakeholders, and particularly the DGAM, UNESCO launched the “Emergency Safeguarding of the Syrian Cultural Heritage” project, a pioneering initiative funded by the European Union with the support of the Flemish Government in partnership with the ICCROM and ICOMOS. The project focuses on building technical capacities of Syrian experts and institutions and strengthening local, regional and international coordination to develop efficient responses. For more information, please visit the International Observatory of Syrian Cultural Heritage.