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Emergency Red List of Syrian Cultural Objects at Risk

The fight against illicit traffic in cultural goods requires the enhancement of legal instruments and the use of practical tools disseminating information, raising public awareness, and preventing illegal export. 

Following reports of widespread damage and looting at cultural heritage sites in Syria, ICOM decided to publish the Emergency Red List of Syrian Cultural Objects at Risk with the aim to help art and heritage professionals and law enforcement officials identify Syrian objects that are protected by national and international legislations. In order to facilitate identification, the Emergency Red List illustrates the categories or types of cultural items that are most likely to be illegally bought and sold.

Museums, auction houses, art dealers and collectors are encouraged not to acquire such objects without having carefully and thoroughly researched their origin and all the relevant legal documentation. Due to the great diversity of objects, styles and periods, the Emergency Red List of Syrian Cultural Objects at Risk is far from exhaustive. Any cultural good that could have originated from  Syria should be subjected to detailed scrutiny and precautionary measures.

 

Download the Emergency Red List of Syrian Cultural Objects at Risk in English 

Download the Emergency Red List of Syrian Cultural Objects at Risk in French 

Download the Emergency Red List of Syrian Cultural Objects at Risk in Arabic 

Download the Emergency Red List of Syrian Cultural Objects at Risk in German 

Download the Emergency Red List of Syrian Cultural Objects at Risk in Turkish 

Context

Syria has, over many millennia, been home to diverse cultures and ancient kingdoms, including prehistoric tribes, Islamic societies, European crusaders, Persian merchants and the Abbasid and Ottoman Empires. Syrians have diligently preserved and protected the material remains of these past cultures, supported by the development of national legislation.

Events shaking the Arab region have triggered a wave of concern regarding cultural heritage in Syria. The threat of long-lasting damage to Syrian cultural heritage sites is especially worrisome. Objects from these sites are highly coveted in the international art and antiquities markets and therefore subject to theft, looting, and illicit trafficking.

Syria’s diverse cultural heritage is reflected in the plurality of its national character. The ongoing destruction of sites and disappearance of cultural objects impoverishes our knowledge and understanding of Syrian cultural heritage and its many and varied contributions to world heritage.