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Five of six Syrian World Heritage sites ‘exhibit significant damage’

Author  :       Source  :    University of Pennsylvania     2014-10-10

In war-torn Syria, five of six World Heritage sites now exhibit significant damage, according to new high-resolution satellite image analysis by the nonprofit American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
Funded by the National Science Foundation, the analysis provides authoritative confirmation of previous reports of damage to the individual sites.

“Only one of Syria's six World Heritage sites—the Ancient City of Damascus—appears to remain undamaged in satellite imagery since the onset of civil war in 2011," said Susan Wolfinbarger, director of the Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights Project at AAAS. Historic structures at the other five sites—the Ancient City of Bosra, the Ancient Site of Palmyra, the Ancient Villages of Northern Syria, and two castles, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal'at Salah El-Din have all been damaged and, in some cases, destroyed, AAAS reported. Wolfinbarger added, however, that “the Damascus site also could have damage not visible in satellite images.”

The AAAS analysis reveals extensive damage in Aleppo, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, dating to the 2nd millennium B.C. "In satellite imagery, massive destruction is obvious throughout the city." Wolfinbarger said.

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