A UN report using satellite imagery has found that nearly 300 sites of incalculable value for Syrian and human history have been destroyed, damaged or looted in the country’s more than three-year-old civil war.
From ancient markets to world-famous mosques and Crusader castles, Syria is home to countless treasures that stretch back to the dawn of civilization.
But since the country's brutal war erupted in 2011, heritage sites have been plundered by all sides -- regime loyalists, rebel forces, jihadist fighters and even desperate residents.
Using commercially available satellite images, the UN’s training and research arm (UNITAR) found that 24 sites were completely destroyed, 189 severely or moderately damaged and a further 77 possibly damaged.
FRANCE 24 looks at a few of the landmarks that have been wrecked in the conflict.
The ancient oasis city of Palmyra, known for its spectacular Roman colonnade, is almost two thousand years old. The Syrian army has built a road that cuts through the necropolis, damaging several tombs. © Jospeh Eid, AFP
This picture, taken on March 14, 2014, provides evidence of shelling at Palmyra, a UNESCO world heritage site. © Jospeh Eid, AFP
A bombed out square near the Old Citadel of Aleppo, another UNESCO site and a key battleground pitting rebel forces against troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. © Zein al-Rifai, AMC, AFP
Aleppo, Syria's former commercial hub, has been especially hard hit in the fighting. Its 11th century Umayyad Mosque was partially destroyed in 2013, with rebels and the regime blaming each other for reducing the famed minaret to rubble. © Jalal al-Halabi, AFP
A satellite view of the Sufi Uwais al-Qarni Mosque and a shrine to Ammar ibn Yasir, one of the companions of Islam's Prophet Mohammed, in the city of Raqqa, on October 11, 2011, before they were wrecked by the Islamic State (IS) group. © Unitar-Unosat, AFP
The same site on December 23, 2014, after IS militants bombed the Sufi shrine. Sufi Muslims are regarded as heretics by the jihadist group. © Unitar-Unosat, AFP
A member of the Syrian regular army looks onto the once rebel-held CraC des Chevaliers, a fortress built by Crusaders and retaken by the army amid intense shelling in March 2014. © Sam Skaine, AFP
Date created : 2014-12-24