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A new report has revealed that Syria's heritage has suffered significant damages. Five of the country's six World Heritage sites have been badly affected by the incidences of war, said the report that was compiled by University of Pennsylvania experts.
Released this week, the report was based on high-resolution satellite photos that showed repeated damages caused to mosques, Roman buildings and a Byzantine castle.
The Penn Cultural Heritage Center at Penn's Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Syrian Heritage Task Force provided great help to the Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights Project of the American Association for the Advancement of Science to write the assessment. Richard Leventhal, the center's executive director, said a two-year grant has been provided to the Cultural Heritage Center to look into how historic material is used in conflicts.
Brian Daniels, director of research and programs for the Penn center, trained 20 Syrians in earlier this summer to protect the sites. Daniels gave the training in southern Turkey near the Syrian border and he taught the strategies that can be used to protect museum collections during emergencies. Supplies were also given to secure pottery and library books.
Daniels said that he was amazed by the bravery exhibited by the Syrians. "They are aware their lives are at extreme risk. They feel that it is their responsibility, their duty, to try to save these things that are most precious about Syria's history", he added.
According to Daniels, the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, and the Assad regime have to be blamed for causing an incredible amount of destruction.
Building or towns majorly account for Syria's heritage, including the Ancient City of Damascus, the Ancient City of Bosra, the Site of Palmyra, the Ancient City of Aleppo, two castles - the Crac des Chevaliers and Qal'at Salah El-Din - and the Ancient Villages of Northern Syria.