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ASOR Syrian Heritage Initiative

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ASOR Syrian Heritage Initiative
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The ASOR Syrian Heritage Initiative is a cooperative agreement between ASOR and the U.S. Department of State that is designed to document, protect, and preserve the cultural heritage of war-torn Syria. Hundreds of significant heritage sites have been damaged since fighting began in 2011. Although the destruction of cultural property represents only part of the humanitarian crisis, these harmful actions threaten our common world heritage and the cultural diversity of the Syrian people. We have an ethical obligation to respond, and our project is part of an international effort to empower Syrians to protect their heritage and cultural identity.
The ASOR Syrian Heritage Initiative implements cultural property protection by:
1. Promoting global awareness
2. Documenting and mapping heritage damage
3. Planning emergency responses and post-war initiatives

Promoting Global Awareness
  • Monitor a wide range of media to document the impact of the conflict on cultural heritage
  • Communicate with Syrian heritage specialists, networks of volunteers, and NGOs to help monitor, document, and verify the condition of heritage collections and sites
  • Provide Syrians with training in and tools for heritage documentation
  • Coordinate efforts with other organizations that are working to safeguard Syrian heritage
Documenting and Mapping Heritage Damage
  • Utilize satellite imagery to monitor, document, and verify damage and preservation needs
  • Develop a comprehensive digital map and inventory of cultural heritage sites
  • Create a bibliography and repository of sources on cultural heritage collections and sites in Syria
  • Engage and share information with other groups that are creating inventories and maps of cultural heritage
Planning Emergency Responses and Post-war Initiatives
  • Produce written and imagery-based condition documentation for sites in the heritage inventory and assess the major preservation issues affecting cultural heritage
  • Develop multiple small and large-scale documentation and preservation projects for heritage sites in Syria that can be implemented in the future
  • Provide resources for short-term, high impact mitigation projects to prevent and decrease the risk of further damage to collections and sites
  • Identify human resource priorities and training needed to strengthen future cultural heritage management capacity for Syria
Related Articles
Prescott, Kurt. 6 Things You Need to Know About ASOR’s Syrian Heritage Initiative. ASOR, 2014.

Syrian Heritage Initiative Bibliographies

In order to understand fully the damage that has occurred to Syrian cultural heritage sites, it is important to obtain a comprehensive understanding of these sites prior to the civil conflict that began in 2011. Academic publications, excavation reports, archaeological surveys, and damage assessments are just some of the many sources that can paint a broad picture of pre-conflict cultural heritage in Syria, which in turn proves instrumental to our documentation efforts and preservation planning. Below you will find a series of bibliographies that contain both published and unpublished works in a variety of languages, including English, Arabic, French, German, and Italian, among others. We encourage you to seek out these sources and to learn more about the cultural heritage that is currently at risk.
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