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 protestors. 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 Statement on Syria
17 May 2011

The ongoing conflict in Syria gives reason for concern, not only amongst academics but for everybody devoted to the conservation of cultural heritage, and aware of the vulnerability of cultural institutions’ collections, sites and monuments. Artillery, and all military action, poses a grave danger to cultural institutions and sites, as shown in the past in the old city of Hama (1982) and more recently at the mosque of Daraa. Any loss of Syrian cultural property would greatly impoverish the world’s collective memory.