The Cultural Costs of the Conflict in Syria | WYPR

The Cultural Costs of the Conflict in Syria

May 12, 2016

The destruction of the Temple of Bel at Palmyra in August 2015.

The war in Syria has displaced more than half the population, and hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been killed. The country’s rich cultural heritage is another victim of the conflict. Syria’s archaeological sites include the ruins of our earliest civilizations and some of the most important cultural centers of the ancient world. ISIS has attacked archaeological sites, including the famous ancient city of Palmyra, with bulldozers and explosives. Bombing, looting, and illegal excavation have wreaked further havoc. Palmyra is one of six UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Syria. All have been damaged or destroyed. What’s been lost and what’s being done to protect the antiquities that remain? 

Guests: Glenn Schwartz, Whiting Professor of Archaeology at Johns Hopkins University and Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Studies; and Amr Al-Azm, associate professor of history and anthropology at Shawnee State University in Ohio. Amr Al-Azm manages the Heritage Protection Initiative for The Day After, an organization dedicated to planning a transition from the current regime in Syria.