Syrian heritage sites in danger

Phnom Penh - Six ancient sites in Syria were listed as endangered by the World Heritage Committee on Thursday.

A Syrian rebel (rear) walks inside a burnt section of the Umayyad Mosque in the old city of Aleppo hours before the Syrian army retook control of the complex on Oct 14, 2010. Unesco on Thursday added six ancient sites in Syria, including a fortress of Saladin and a Crusader castle, to the endangered World Heritage list, warning that more than two years of civil war had inflicted heavy damage. (AFP file photo)

Committee member states meeting in Cambodia expressed "deep concern" about the danger that the war in Syria poses to the sites.

"The danger listing is intended to mobilise all possible support for the safeguarding of these properties," the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) said in a statement.

The committee will also consider the creation of a special fund to rescue Syria's world heritages.

The report found that the ancient cities of Aleppo, Damascus and Bosra have been damaged during the civil war, which has claimed more than 93,000 lives and caused huge destruction.

"We saw more trouble spots during the last years that affected world heritage sites," Mechtild Rossler, deputy director of the World Heritage Centre told dpa.

"The state has to inform us if sites are in danger, which did happen in the case of Syria. The documents we provided to the committee contain (this) information," she added.

During its annual meeting, which ends Sunday, the committee will also decide whether 30 sites, including Japan's Mount Fuji and the city of Agadez in Niger, are of "outstanding universal value" and will be added to the World Heritage list.

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