The Syrian conflict, which began in 2011, is an ongoing conflict between the Syrian government and multiple opposition groups, with both sides receiving external international support. The uprising began as a chain of peaceful protests for democracy and political freedom and was immediately followed by a government crackdown, deploying the army against the protesters. This escalated rapidly, and by 2012 the International Committee of the Red Cross had declared the situation an official armed conflict. The conflict has resulted in extensive civilian casualties, millions displaced, and widespread devastation of Syria’s infrastructure and cultural heritage, including damage to all six World Heritage sites.

Blue Shield – 2nd Statement on Syria
7 April, 2012

As the conflict in Syria continues to deteriorate, and following its first statement from May 2011, the Blue Shield reiterates its grave concern regarding the safeguarding of the country’s invaluable cultural and historical heritage, and bemoans the great suffering and loss of life that the situation has engendered.

The recent events are great cause for apprehension for the world heritage community. Both the tragedies suffered by the people of the Syrian Arab Republic and the dangers faced by heritage sites and institutions give reason for distress.