Syria has a rich and lively heritage which reflects the aspects of diversity that the Syrian society is distinguished for. Besides, this land has preserved invaluable relics belonging to the different civilizations that lived on this land thousands of years ago in peaceful coexistence, a characteristic of the culture of the ancient world. Nevertheless, Syria's antiquities today are standing on the thresholds of a vague and an undecided future due to destructive violence casting its shadow over all aspects of life, in addition to its impact on our cultural heritage.
Since the beginning of the painful events, several archaeological sites and historical landmarks have suffered damage as a result of becoming battlefields. What is more, barbaric excavations and fierce digs have damaged other sites. The architectural structures of some museums have been affected down to bombings, and some of those museums have been subject to thefts, as well. Moreover, forgery of antiquities, particularly statues and mosaics, has been active lately; unique and matchless sites have recently been transformed into arenas of firearms training, and some others have been targeted on extremist ideological grounds. Furthermore, violations have affected the Syrian cultural heritage by means of destruction and distortion and have unfortunately caused damage whose effects cannot be erased from the history, cultural identity and memory of the Syrian people. In addressing the issue of what the cultural heritage is undergoing, the DGAM has relied on the obligations imposed by its prominence as a scientific and professional institution, founded more than eighty years ago. Moreover, it has established its good reputation as a result of accumulating the efforts of generations of archaeologists and cooperating with foreign scholars who have shared their expertise and powers for decades. Hence, the DGAM has been seeking to unify visions through separating and safeguarding the cultural heritage from politics and its repercussions and through learning to come together as Syrians irrespective of our different political views to defend our own antiquities, being part of the fabric of Syrian life and a source of pride and self-definition that brings us all together as one nation for our present and future.
In order to spare the Syrian archaeological heritage and keep it far away from danger as much as possible, the DGAM has appealed to all parties to avoid the archaeological sites and respect their sanctity. Thanks to this vision, the DGAM is still functioning so efficiently; its cadres are still united in all governorates and its efforts have yielded successful results in many cases and regions. Besides, by means of cooperating with members of the local community in areas where institutions are absent, the DGAM has managed to reduce the impact of the damage and violations threatening the archaeological sites.
Thus, since events worsened, the DGAM has published detailed reports every six months in order to give a clearer picture that documents the damage befalling the sites and the measures taken locally and internationally in search of solutions to help ward off danger. This is an up-to-date version of the report (English version | Arabic version)
, documenting the damage and violations at the different Syrian museums and archaeological sites as well as the measures taken since the beginning of the crisis until the end 2013. This report was prepared by the DGAM relying on any available photos and information provided by the departments of antiquities in the different governorates or sent by members of the local community in the affected areas.