Children play in the park of the Safir Maalula Hotel, next the damaged church of Saint Sarkis (L), in the ancient Christian town of Maalula, 56 kilometers northeast of the Syrian capital Damascus, on December 20, 2014. AFP Photo
Satellite imagery indicate that 290 cultural heritage sites in Syria, whose history stretches back to the dawn of civilization, have been damaged by its ongoing civil war, the United Nations’ training and research arm (UNITAR) said on Dec. 23.
Syria’s heritage spans the great empires of the Middle East but cultural sites and buildings around the country, such as Aleppo’s Umayyad Mosque, have been looted, damaged or destroyed in the three-year-old conflict.
Using commercially available satellite pictures, UNITAR found that 24 sites were completely destroyed, 189 severely or moderately damaged and a further 77 possibly damaged…