Two international conferences recommend that Palmyra archeological site must be preserved

DAMASCUS, (ST)- Participants in the two international conferences on Palmyra held in the cities of Lausanne and Paris have recommended that Palmyra, the world heritage site, must be preserved and that its condition should be monitored before any renovation activities.

The two conferences were sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

 The conferees focused in their recommendations on implementing urgent but limited renovation works in some building like the castle and the Temple of Baal in order to avoid more collapses and on rehabilitating Palmyra's Museum.

The recommendations provided for renovating the Museum artifacts which were exposed to deliberate destruction taking into consideration the international standards of renovating archeological buildings and pieces.

The recommendations focused on enhancing international cooperation supported by UNESCO and the International Council of Museums (ICOM) in order to update the list of the antiquities looted by terrorists from Palmyra and establish mechanisms for consolidating the sources of data collecting and storing and for sharing information on obtained documents.

The two conferences called for drawing up a map for Palmyra archeological site that includes all the data and documents available about the historical city and its monuments and for sharing this map on all websites including that of UNESCO.

Concerning the local community, focus in the recommendations was put on the importance of integrating this community into the archeological site and disseminating awareness about the site's historical importance and on encouraging the intangible heritage vocations like the traditional handicrafts which contribute to improving the living standards of citizens.

Other recommendations stressed the need to establish an international  coordination mechanism to collect and exchange available data and documents under the supervision of UNESCO and to work for removing Palmyra from the List of the World Heritage in Danger.

 Director General of Syria's Antiquities and Museums (GDAM) Mahmoud Hammoud told SANA on Monday that the participating Syrian delegation reviewed the works carried out by the Directorate in Palmyra after security was restored to it, including assessing the damage, identifying the museum's collection and the missing pieces and implementing a survey for illegal excavations at the site.

Hammoud went on to say that the delegation discussed the challenges and problems that face the GDAM in the process of preserving Palmyra. He pointed out that the delegation also discussed the need that UNESCO assumes its responsibility in mobilizing necessary efforts to rehabilitate Palmyra according to the highest standards of renovation.

He expected that the two conferences will have positive results on Palmyra and will contribute to speeding up the return of concerned international organizations to resume their role in preserving the Syrian heritage from the Palmyra gate.

A number of archeologists from Italy, Japan, France, Germany and Poland, a delegation from the Russian Hermitage Museum and representatives of international organizations concerned in protecting antiquities took part in the two conference.

Hamda Mustafa