UNESCO condemns destruction of World Heritage site of Bosra

UNESCO condemns demolition of major World Heritage site of Bosra in Syria by government forces

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) headquarters in Paris.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) on Thursday condemned the destruction of parts of the ancient city of Bosra by attacks from the Assad regime forces.

“The destructions sustained by Bosra represent a further escalation in the horror of war and must be stopped at once to allow the concerned parties to consolidate the agreement reached on the ground to preserve the irreplaceable heritage of Bosra,” UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova stated.

The ancient city includes the Roman, Byzantine and Muslim era’s historical artefacts with a magnificent 2nd century Roman theatre.

The bomb attack caused the collapse of the western tower in the historic Bosra al Sham citadel, local resources said.

“Further deterioration is feared due to severe damage to the western courtyard adjacent to the theatre and to parts of the Ayyubid citadel surrounding it,” UNESCO said.

The main feature of the Roman Theatre is known to be constructed under Trajan, who governed the Roman Empire from 98 CE until his death in 117 CE

Irina Bokova said that the protection of cultural sites also means the protection of human lives as it is essential for the restoration of peace in Syria,”

Meanwhile, the organisation called the world art market for potential historical artefact smuggling from the site.

“The Roman theatre of Bosra embodies the rich diversity of the identity of the people of Syria and I call on culture professionals worldwide, and particularly on the art market, to be extremely vigilant so as to fight against the traffic in artefacts from Bosra,” Bokova said.

Bosra was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1980.

The organisation also condemned the destruction of an ancient Baalshamin Temple in Palmyra by DAESH in August and described the action committed as a "war crime."

Palmyra is a 2,000-year-old antique city home to the Roman era ruins.