SYRIA: World Heritage Sites Destroyed by War

Several cultural sites throughout Syria have been significantly damaged since the start of Syrian Civil War. Harm has come to all six of Syria’s registered sites on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List. By their date of inscription, these are: the Ancient City of Damascus (1979), the Ancient City of Bosra (1980), the Site of Palmyra (1980), the Ancient City of Aleppo (1986), the Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (2006), and the Ancient Villages of Northern Syria (2011). This graphic illustrates four of the six.

World Heritage List: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/

Damaged World Heritage Sites
Damaged World Heritage Sites

Crac de Chevaliers

Perhaps one of the best-preserved examples of the Crusader castles, Crac de Chevaliers sits high above the Syrian landscape on a 2,130 ft. hill. Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war, at least three events occurred that left damage to the castle. One particular shelling event in August 2012 left the Crusader Chapel damaged.

Ancient City of Bosra

Bosra is a major archaeological site, containing ruins from Roman, Byzantine, and Muslim times. Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war, a number of probable shell craters appeared within the site, including a hole in the roof of the Al-Omari Mosque.

Ancient City of Aleppo

Aleppo is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Located at the crossroads of several trade routes from the 2nd millennium B.C., Aleppo was ruled by many different empires. In spring 2013, it was reported that the minaret of the Great Mosque of Aleppo had been destroyed during the fighting.

Site of Palmyra

Palmyra contains the monumental ruins of a great city that was one of the most important cultural centers of the ancient world. During the Syrian civil war, fighting has caused several of the columns to collapse. Additionally grave robbers have stolen numerous objects from Palmyra’s tombs.

The Unexpected Opportunities of Global Warming

If you are one of the few holdouts that refuse to believe the earth’s climate has changed in the recent past, take a look at the arctic. The Polar Regions contain strong visual evidence to support the idea that the earths average temperature has risen by 1°C since 1880. The thickness and extent of the polar ice sheets are becoming significantly smaller. You don’t need to be a climatologist to observe the latest satellite imagery to see the obvious decline in ice sheet coverage.

Arctic Shipping Routes
Arctic Shipping Routes

Consequence

  • Routing a ship through the Northwest Passage (NWP) requires insurance. There are many dangers ships encounter while sailing through the passage. These include: icebergs, channel depths, whale migration patterns, environmental impacts. Insurance can increase up to 30%.
  • Sailing the Northwest passage can save traders both time and potential revenue. Navigating from western Asia to the eastern U.S. requires passage through the Panama Canal. The canal has a depth limitation so bulk cargo ships can not utilize the full potential of their ships carrying capacity. Moreover since the canal is located in Central America, the distance saved using the NWP is significant.
  • In September 2014, the MV Nunavik sailed unaccompanied through the NWP becoming the first ship to do so. Check out the detailed blog kept by the ships crew: http://www.fednav.com/en/voyage-nunavik
  • Even though the Northwest Passage is entirely within the territorial waters of Canada, the U.S. and various European countries maintain they are an international strait and transit passage, allowing free and unencumbered passage.