AAAS Satellite Image Analysis: Five of Six Syrian World Heritage Sites "Exhibit Significant Damage"

22 Sep 2014 10:02 AM | Anonymous

AAAS Satellite Image Analysis: Five of Six Syrian World Heritage Sites "Exhibit Significant Damage"

In war-torn Syria, five of six World Heritage sites now "exhibit significant damage" and some structures have been "reduced to rubble," according to new high-resolution satellite image analysis by the nonprofit, nonpartisan American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

The AAAS analysis, offering the first comprehensive look at the extent of damage to Syria's priceless cultural heritage sites, was completed in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology's Penn Cultural Heritage Center (PennCHC) and the Smithsonian Institution, and in cooperation with the Syrian Heritage Task Force. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the analysis provides authoritative confirmation of previous on-the-ground reports of damage to individual sites.

AAAS analyzed satellite images of six Syrian World Heritage sites: the Ancient City of Aleppo; the Ancient City of Bosra; the Ancient City of Damascus; the Ancient Site of Palmyra; a site encompassing two castles, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din; and the Ancient Cities of Northern Syria (Jebel Seman, Jebel Barisha, Jebel Al A’la, Jebel Wastani, and Jebel Zawiye). | AAAS

"Only one of Syria's six World Heritage sites undefined the Ancient City of Damascus undefined 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, including ancient mosques, schools, and civilian as well as government buildings, 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."