Our projects in development

The impact of the 2023 earthquake on the archaeological locations on the Syrian coast

The archaeological sites on the Syrian coast were severely damaged due to the recent earthquake that struck Syria and Turkey on the 6th of February 2023. The damage as a result of the earthquake affected dozens of sites in the governorates of Tartous and Lattakia and led to the closure of a number of important castles. Additionally, there are partial collapses and large cracks exposing the sites to further damage and the possibility of the structures being lost forever. Not only is the built heritage at risk but also large numbers of the local population have lost their homes and livelihoods and need urgent assistance. It is necessary for the international community and heritage stakeholders to move quickly to carry out urgent archaeological rescue operations for these sites and the inhabitants around them.

The impact of the 2023-Earthquake on archaeological locations in northwest Syria

This area before the earthquake suffered alot due to the conflict. The earthquake affected in many sites, these affected sites and their condition is detailed below in this report. The site damage sections are divided into damage that occurred before the earthquake, and damage sustained since.

Impact of the earthquake on cultural heritage in Northeast Syria

The recent earthquake in Syria has exacerbated the already dire situation of the historical and archaeological sites in different areas in northeast, northwest and costal region in Syria which have long been endangered by the ongoing conflict and the effects of climate change. These sites, including ancient cities castles, mosques, churches, historical monuments.

However, the conflict and the increased humidity resulting from climate change have weakened the structures over time. The earthquake has caused significant damage, resulting in cracks, fissures, and collapses in walls, arches, and reservoirs, further endangering these important sites.

Cultural heritage authorities are now faced with the challenging task of assessing and repairing the damage, as well as implementing emergency response and preventive measures to ensure the preservation of these valuable cultural heritage sites.
Heritage For Peace worked these last days within its initiatives ANSCH (the Arab Network of Civil Society Organizations to Safeguard Cultural Heritage) and in collaboration with several civil society organizations inside Syria, to monitor the impact of earthquake on cultural heritage in Syria. The monitoring work will include the affected regions in northeast Syria, northwest Syria and coastal regions. The first motoring report is now for northeast Syria to download 
and in the coming days we will continue to publish more reports to follow up more about the impact of earthquake on cultural heritage

Follow ANSCH social media channels in Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn

Protection of Heritage at Places in Conflict through Digital Tools: The Role of Civil Society

This project aims to use digital tools for the remote support of the civil society organizations and local organizations working in the protection of historical and archaeological heritage in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen.

This project is led by (CSIC-IMF) and funded by the BBVA Foundation with a budget of €75,000, and in partnership with Heritage for Peace. The project aims to use digital tools, such as a Mobile APP, to support local NGOs and organizations dedicated to the protection of historical and archaeological heritage, to develop databases on heritage assets in danger in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen. 

This project supports the action of a series of NGOs on the ground, with which the IMF maintains contact. In addition, the project has the agreement of the Directorates of Antiquities of the four countries in which the project take place.

SHELTr (Syrian Heritage Law Training)

This current project is in development by Heritage for Peace in partnership with Save Muslim Heritage, with a budget of €50,000, funded by Gerda Henkel Stiftung, with the aim of providing legal training to court staff in the opposition-held Syria, on matters pertaining to cultural heritage. The program was born out of research carried out by Heritage for Peace on the current judicial landscape in the opposition-held areas of Syria.

In those regions, every single power imposed its own interpretation of the law to manage heritage questions. Questionnaires were completed with various stakeholders including Imams, lawyers, heritage experts, and local council members inside Syria. SHELTr relies on the development of a curriculum addressing legal aspects of cultural heritage protection in three legal frameworks relevant in Syria: Syrian National Law, Islamic Law, and International Humanitarian Law.

The project is divided into 5 phases (preparation > content development > e-course formatting > e-course > evaluation-assessment). Through this program, local legal stakeholders will be better informed to advocate for, and adjudicate on, the protection of cultural heritage in areas controlled by the opposition.