Reconnecting: The Contribution of Cultural Heritage to the Return Home After Forced Migrations due to Human Induced Disasters

The conflicts that have been happening around the world since the turn of the 21st century, which are also known as modern warfare, threaten cultural properties and their users, and lead to irreversible damage. The forced displacement of communities, who have shaped and preserved their cultures for centuries, and who are the owners and users of the cultural properties which have become part of their lives, causes the original users of these properties to change, and leads to the migration of collective memory, which develops via the relationships between places and activities.

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction-UNISDR) states that the disasters’ negative impact on vulnerability will continue to increase (UNISDR, 2015, p. 108). When the risks that cultural properties are exposed to are reviewed, it is understood that expediting the post-war/post-conflict return process of displaced communities is not only important in terms of the healthy rehabilitation process of societies and the environment; it is also the main requirement for protecting cultural properties in a sustainable manner.

The countries that border conflicts zones and host refugees in particular, have certain duties and responsibilities with regards to the return process of refugees after a safe and stable environment is established in their home countries.

Completed in 2019, this doctoral study examines the relationship between “war-displacement-preservation of cultural heritage” through the Syria example. The research conducted as part of this dissertation consisted of international treaties, case studies, and an impact assessment carried out through interviews held with Syrian university students living in Turkey, most of whom are studying architecture or engineering. The obtained data was evaluated in terms of determining cultural heritage’s role in planning the return processes after forced mass displacements.

The Relationship Between Conflict, Displacement and Cultural Heritage
The study aims to develop an integrated system that examines the processes of risk management, tangible and intangible cultural heritage preservation, and the return process of communities after forced mass displacements, which are usually dealt with independently in conflict zones, within the context of sustainable post-trauma preservation and rehabilitation.

The Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research (HIIK) assesses the scale of destruction a conflict causes by looking at the infrastructure, habitation, economy and culture in the conflict zone; and determines the intensity levels of conflicts according to the total number of affected people (dead, injured, harmed, casualties, refugees and displaced) during the conflicts (URL 1, p. 9). The scale of destruction and level of intensity are considered as the most effective criteria in conflict assessment.

Analysing the numerical data published by international institutions after 1990 on wars and conflicts shows us that there has been a change in disaster data over time, as well as demonstrating that conflicts and wars have led to the emergence of new risks and new ways of destruction for cultural heritage on a wide range of scale.

Cultural heritage falls victim to damage and destruction during wars and conflicts either as the direct target of destruction or as part of a general destruction (historical environment, ecological balance of natural heritage sites, archaeological sites, outstanding universal value of properties, local resources). Apart from these, insufficient repair and maintenance, loss of function due to loss of users, illegal excavations and smuggling of ancient artefacts etc. due to the administrative problems and new security flaws caused by conflict environments pose significant threats in terms of cultural property protection, as well.

While having an impact on the settlement areas in destination places, mass displacements caused by wars/conflicts in historical environments also pose a significant threat with regards to the preservation of tangible and intangible cultural heritage in these abandoned places (homelands). When people migrate and end up in different places through mass displacements, their traditional ceremonies, rituals, cultural values and productions based on and related to specific places, all of which are important aspects of being a community, scatter around with the people who practice them, which leads to interruptions in their continuity. It also leads to an increased risk of damage and destruction on the abandoned places as they are no longer in function and lack necessary repair and maintenance.

Delays in refugees’ return to their homelands, and failing to find proper and sustainable solutions for this process after conflicts and wars finally come to an end, result in new risks for the protection of cultural property. Furthermore, increase in the amount of damaged structures, increasing difficulties in repairing/reusing them, the pieces from the structures that are scattered around completely disappearing over time, acceleration of destruction, losing documentary value, lack of experts, decrease in scientific resources, rapid loss of traditional/local structure knowledge and traditional/local practices, increased lack of material and application, changing demographic structure are the expected results of forced mass displacements.

Because forced mass displacements happen unexpectedly and suddenly, and result in large masses moving together, there is no prior preparation for the process, which cause substantial negative effects both on the sending and the receiving places. Therefore, it is necessary to examine the impacts on both of these places separately and thoroughly, and to study the linear causality between them.

At the turn of the 21st century in particular, the phenomenon of immigration gained a new dimension, and its qualities have changed. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) data (2015) show that regions with high refugee population intensities have changed and the immigrations are now from the Middle East and North Africa. Furthermore, the number of refugees has reached the highest since the World War II.

On Culture – Place – User Relationship and the Effect of Heritage on Place Attachment
Man-made places, the traditional characteristics created by repeating and developing these places, and the traditional practices carried out in these places form a whole. Defining a place only as a geometrical object ignores the experiences people have had there (Tümertekin & Özgüç, 1998, p. 59). Furthermore, places concretise culture; and each person feels attached to a certain place (Bağlı, 2006, p. 225). Cultural heritage plays an important role in shaping the spatial and social characteristics of cities, and the human element complements this role, and is necessary for the emergence and sustainability of culture.

In his paper, Riedlmayer (1995) talks about the destruction that specifically targeted the cultural heritage in Bosnia-Herzegovina during the Bosnian war as: “...Throughout Bosnia, libraries, archives, museums and cultural institutions have been targeted for destruction, in an attempt to eliminate the material evidence – books, documents and works of art – that could remind future generations that people of different ethnic and religious traditions once shared a common heritage in Bosnia...” (Riedlmayer, 1995, p. 338).

Cultural properties are the concretised version of a city’s and its inhabitants’ memories. The change, transformation or destruction processes that they go through changes and destroys the city’s values and threatens the components that constitute its identity (Önge, 2012, p. 402). However, it is these components that define the places in a historical city (Önge, 2012, p. 404). In addition, cultural places protect intangible cultural heritage in its natural context (Öcal, 2007, p. 30). It is only when physical places that form the tangible cultural heritage are protected along with their original users that the intangible cultural heritage can be protected, as well. Places and humans should not be considered separately; they constitute a whole in which they share and interact with each other.

To describe intangible cultural heritage, Öcal (2007) wrote: “practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills and instruments, objects, works of art as well as the cultural areas, communities, groups and sometimes individuals that are related to these, are part of the cultural heritage”.

Cultural heritages are products of place, time and people. They are in a continuous evolution process; being constantly updated, and changing their responses based on different situations. “Human dimension” can enable sustainable development, and as such, it is the main topic that needs to be discussed here (ICOMOS-ICORP, 2015, pp. 2-3). Human dimension is the reason why culture is not static; and why it is a constantly developing and dynamic phenomenon.

Cultural heritage reminds people of their creativity and has the power to give them hope (Kreimer, 1998, p. 32). Killing one person destroys one individual’s own memory whereas destroying cultural heritage erases the memory of a person/people (Riedlmayer, 2002). People attach their history, memories and properties to places with tangible cultural heritages, and live with the uniting power of cultural heritage. When this is interrupted, the things that symbolise people’s roots and origins disappear, which gradually decreases people’s feeling of attachment.  

Cities consist of countless layers of history; and “urban memory” is a collective formation. The concept of historical layers existing together is therefore quite valuable. Most people who have experienced the trauma of war have a strong longing for the lost products of their pasts before the war. The past “layers” and “stories” that cities embody are tangible proofs that enrich the future of the new cities they inhabit (Gavin & Maluf, 1996, p. 29). In this context, it is only when places are protected together with the carriers of culture (communities, groups or individuals that maintain culture) that a real, proper protection can be achieved.

Return Process After Forced Mass Displacements and its Contribution to Sustainable Development
The concept of international displacement makes it necessary to re-examine the concept of returning home, to re-discuss these two concepts together, and to propose solutions for both with regards to the management and decreasing of the risks they pose.

The topic of returning home after being displaced is examined under several terms such as, remigration, repatriation, return flow, counter flow, homecoming etc. (Öner, 2012, p. 265). Immigration and the concept of returning home gives meaning to “the existence of place”; and all the parameters belonging to a place becomes important. This is why the concept of place brings the local users and the process of return together.

The studies conducted on cities show that the property owners in small cities are mostly the actual users of those properties, and this leads to more participation contribution. Aygen (1992, pp. 84-85) explains this situation as follows: “users are attached to the places they have lived in for generations with sentimental bonds beyond those places’ mere material values”. Loss of traditional/local cultures caused by the fast displacement of communities increases the importance of traditional/local users and the culture they have created, the protection of property rights of the owners of those cultures, and the importance of the societies, groups and individuals that sustain that culture.

An examination of the data and information from international institutions dealing with the issue of displacement due to conflicts/wars in the 21st century reveals that only half of the refugee population are able to return to their homes. To tackle the new risk this creates, the situation should be turned into an opportunity by ensuring that the locals are involved in the cultural heritage preservation process. 

Şirin highlights the driving force that returning constitutes by describing the situation as “the return of the refugees to their homeland is of primary importance in the recovery process of societies that have just come out of war” (Şirin, 2008)

People tend to maintain their traditions and the routine of their daily lives; therefore, the best actions to take during post-disaster rehabilitation processes are described as the actions made by involving the locals in the rehabilitation process. The behaviours and actions of local communities after experiencing disasters reveal unique information for the protection of cultural heritage (Vatan, 2015). Protecting cultural heritage helps people quickly restore the traditional and daily routines of their lives after disasters. It has been proven that protecting cultural heritage can be achieved more easily and rapidly through the return of refugees to their homes.

To maintain the sustainability of cultural heritage, it is important that the users remain the same, and the general integrity of the heritage remains intact.

The immigrations during and after the wars and conflicts at the turn of the 21st century, the irreversible cultural heritage losses, return of refugees, problems in protecting cultural heritage, the national/international laws and regulations, failing to achieve holistic sustainable development despite the return of the original users are considered as important problems in this process. Returning is not enough on its own for achieving peace. In order to have successful sustainability, it is necessary to prepare the country for a sustainable return process. Turning the existing risk into an opportunity, and using the protection of cultural heritage as a driving force constitute the basis for a sustainable work.

A successful long-term sustainable development can be achieved by incorporating the resources and the traditional/local construction knowledge of a country which went through a disaster, in the development process and by letting original users participate, as well. Preparing the country for a sustainable return process is also important.

Cultural heritage makes a direct and significant contribution to social attachment, sustainable improvement and psychological welfare as well as creating sustainable development against economic, social and environmental problems. To enable the continuity and sustainability of cultural heritage, and to maintain its existing integrity, it becomes more and more important that the users, who are the building block of social environment, remains unchanged.

UNESCO emphasizes the role of experts in passing culture on; it calls these people, who produce culture and pass it down to future generations, “living human treasures”; and highlights their contribution in the preservation and transfer of culture without damaging the goals of sustainable development (Öcal, 2013, p. 39). Countries’ populations decrease as people die or migrate due to war. Extended periods of war cause more people to die and make it harder for refugees to return to their homelands. However, original users and resources are necessary for learning traditional construction techniques and material knowledge. Therefore, to achieve sustainability, it is quite important that refugees return to their homelands. Economic and social development is integral to and is a prerequisite for creating sustainable peace after wars (Kreimer, 1998, p. 32).

On Sustainable Development and the Participatory Policies in International Treaties
Initially, protecting and rehabilitating physical environments after wars/conflicts was handled in a more general context. However, the meetings, conferences and publications after 1990 began focusing on the World Heritage Sites and religious monuments; and with the 2000s, the focus of the works shifted towards the social impact and contribution of intangible cultural heritage as well as the spirit of a place; and the importance of local participants began to be highlighted.

The direct and indirect damage inflicted on significant cultural heritages as a result of massive and highly destructive conflicts has been one of the most critical reasons for protecting them. Each country attributes different values to their cultural heritage and has different priorities when protecting them. Therefore, we need international regulations (Kocalar, 2012, p. 280). It is also necessary that the topic of protecting cultural heritage against disasters is covered more extensively in the conservation policies for preserving cultural heritage and passing them down to future generations. Table 1 shows some of the meetings held in recent years and their subject matters in relation to this paper.

Table 1. Subject matters of international treaties/meetings after 2010 regarding the issues of conflict, displacement, return, cultural heritage, local participation and sustainable development

Protecting cultural heritage is of key importance for post-conflict rehabilitation. In addition, cultural heritage rehabilitation is a necessary resource for the recovery of local communities. The process of building peace involves interpreting heritage in a variety of ways. The participation of all related parties, and encouraging intercultural dialogue regarding cultural heritage are highly important (URL 2, p. 5).

The Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (Paris, 2005) and the Council of Europe Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society (Faro, 2005) are among the important conventions supporting a “holistic protection and sustainable development”.

2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – SDG 11.4, begins with the premise that protecting heritage can increase the rate of sustainable urban transformation. It talks about the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development, and the social aspects of cultural heritage, albeit with a focus on civic participation and responsibility. Afterwards, in the 2016 Habitat III conference and the ICOMOS AGA&ADCOM “Post-Disaster Construction” meeting held in Istanbul, it was stated that preserving tangible and intangible heritages together during post-disaster reconstruction process is necessary; and that sustainable development can only be achieved by protecting places, memories, local participants and traditional methods altogether.

Evaluating the Issue through the Example of Syria

The troubles that started in the Middle East in 2010 have caused countless people to die; and either have already destroyed or is threating to destroy many cultural property sites with documentary values for the region’s rich history. They have also damaged the intangible heritage, whose connection to the region have been interrupted. During the Syrian Civil War that broke out in 2011, many cultural heritage sites from the World Heritage list have been damaged, including the Ancient City of Bosra, the Ancient City of Damascus, the Ancient city of Aleppo, the Crac des Chevaliers Crusader Castle and the Ancient Villages of Northern Syria, the Ancient City of Palmyra and many more cultural properties. In 2013, these world heritage sites were added to the list of World Heritage in Danger. UNESCO formed a new branch in 2015 regarding the cultural heritages that are in danger.[1]

Internal conflicts that began in Syria in April 2011 have caused more than 3 million Syrian citizens to take refuge in other countries; Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq being in the first place, due especially to safety reasons. Until 2019, the number of countries that Syrians have migrated to have increased rapidly, which in turn have caused an increase in the rate of “collective memory” loss as the migrated communities end up in different places.

According to the 2015 UNHCR report, the Syrian refugees constitute the largest refugee population ever recorded within the UNHCR’s mandate (UNHCR, 2015). The sources show the pre-civil war total population in Syria at approximately 23 million (URL 3). According to the reports of Stephen O’Brien (2016), it is stated that 13,5 million people, which is more than the remaining population, are in dire need of humanitarian assistance (URL 4). It is seen that the ratio of Syrian refugees has almost reached one-third of the existing populations of some host countries or cities.

When examined according to the risk phenomenon, which is defined as potential losses, the war in Syria poses a new risk of “tangible and intangible cultural heritage loss” as a result of more than half of the population having been displaced due to armed conflicts, and the environment having been damaged by the war. In addition to the damage caused by armed conflicts in Syria, a country with rich cultural heritage, the change of users due to internal and external migration poses another risk, and that is the breaking of place-user-activity relationship, which expedites the rate of cultural heritage loss.

The Law no. 6458 on Foreigners and International Protection in Turkey was adopted in April 2013 and came into force in April 2014; and based on this law, the “Temporary Protection Regulation” was enacted in October 2014. These include some articles that clarify the legal status of refugees in Turkey. The Regulation arranges the legal rights of people under “temporary protection status” (Kirişci & Salooja, 2014).

Regarding the situation in Syria, the UNESCO Turkey National Commission emphasises the importance of the issue with regards to cultural properties by saying “wars and conflicts have exposed humanity to saddening consequences such as the destruction and displacement of cultural heritage, and the disappearance of the carriers of heritage through migrations and deaths”, “...the situation has reached a level that requires even more awareness from the international community about preserving cultural heritage” (URL 5).

The online course regarding the protection of cultural heritage in danger in Syria organised by ICOMOS-ICCROM in 2012 and 2013 in coordination with UNESCO and with the partnership of Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM), ICCROM and ICOMOS ICORP is one of the many international works on the topic. 

These data show us the necessity of finding solutions for the abovementioned risks posed by the conflicts/wars that happened recently in Syria and can similarly happen anywhere else. In this context, they also show us that the countries that host refugees have certain duties and responsibilities, as well.

Impact Assessment Study Conducted with Syrian Guests Immigrated to Turkey After 2011
When we look at the hallmarks and descriptors of a city, we see that most of these are places that people gather in and have activities, or places that exist within historical areas. Cultural structures are generally structures that we use as reference points in our daily lives. In major disasters like wars and conflicts, attachment to a place is usually severed pretty quickly; because, most of the time, such disasters make it imperative for people to leave those places.

Through impact assessment study, we tried to gather information about the pre-war/pre-conflict living conditions of displaced people, about the relationship between cultural values and places; and tried to determine the importance of place in traditional activities.

Impact assessment study questions[2] were organised under 5 categories. The questions are about defining the general situation of the user, architectural design and environment relationship (to understand physical space), and the relationship between places and activities (daily life styles); about what the participants thought of the pre-war preservation status of the regions they came from, the changes that happened in physical spaces because of the war, their lives in their new homes (arrival destination), and post-war Syria.

According to Turkish Council of Higher Education data, the number of Syrian students studying in universities was close to 15 thousand as of 2016-2017 academic year. Around 5 thousand of them were female students. It can be understood by looking at the number of students in previous years that the numbers are increasing.

This impact assessment was conducted in June 2016 and in April 2018 with Syrian university students, who have immigrated to Turkey, and who are studying in Karabük University and On Dokuz Mayıs University, respectively. Firstly, permissions were obtained from the related provincial migration authorities and request letters were sent to the universities. From the university enrolment lists, architecture and civil engineering students were selected, and face-to-face interviews were held in small groups. The students volunteered to participate in the surveys. 100 university students participated in the research. Their ages ranged between 20-26. 12% of the participants were female students. When we looked at all the Syrian university students, we saw that the majority were males.

The general profiles of the participants were reviewed. The main reason for selecting the participants from students of civil engineering and architecture departments was their ability to examine their environments. It is a fact that as professionals, these students will be part of the decision making and execution mechanisms after they return to their homeland during the peace process; and they will be able to learn about and evaluate their surroundings. It was also important to remind them of the importance of the cultural assets in their country and make them feel that their cultural heritage is valued.

The Table 2 below shows examples of questions, question categories, and how they were assessed. An evaluation of the study is provided after Table 2.

Table 2. Examples of impact assessment study questions

In addition to statistical evaluation, qualitative evaluation was used in the study. In their answers, the participants stated that displacement due to conflict was one of the events that they were most affected by; they said that they have left people behind; that most of them want to go back home, and that when they return, they want to participate in the reconstruction of their country/historical places/their homes.

Although the concept of cultural heritage was not mentioned in the impact assessment questions on purpose, and the participants were not directed in any way, the participants themselves mentioned historical places and place names in many of their answers. These included, for instance, the Historical Citadel of Aleppo, the Deir ez-Zor Suspension Bridge, the Great Umayyad Mosque in Aleppo, the Ancient City of Palmyra, castles and historical places, Damascus Square etc.

Based on their answers, the fact that they were unable to continue traditional activities when the war broke out clearly shows the rupture in the relationship between place and activity. Using local materials in accommodation/housing units, and owning these places brings forth many solutions. Having access to local materials and having skilled locals to use them enable user participation as well as meeting the needs of the skilled workers in the return process; it also ensures that local materials are used in this process.

The last 3 questions of the impact assessment study were asked through images of Syrian cities before the conflicts began. The fact that the participants recognised and remembered those images as places, that the images conjured up many emotional memories, and that they caused them to talk about their attachment to their cultural heritage proves that cultural heritage is a part of collective memory. All these data show that cultural heritage will have a positive impact on the return process; that it will be an important reason to return; and that it will help create a more efficient environment during the return process. 

Attachment to a place is evaluated according to several values; houses, traditions, symbols, memories. Being forced to displace/migrate makes it difficult for societies to continue their old lives (Rennick, 2003). Society members can form a connection with each other through the power of communication that their common social histories provide, and through their traditions (Arslan, 2009, p. 15).

Disaster Risk Management and Historical Environments Relations
Disaster risk reduction includes all policies, strategies and measures that make people, villages, cities and countries more resilient against dangers; and that decrease vulnerability against risks and disasters (Chris, 2012, p. 16).

Researches on disaster management are civil defence focused; and they show that a systematic evaluation of the process, which started as reactive interventions after an event broke out, and later transformed into proactive approach that is focused on risk management/reduction, began to be made after the 1989 IDNDR Declaration. Regarding the topic of disaster risk reduction, the United Nations has founded the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction. Additionally, UNESCO has brought UN agencies, intergovernmental organisations, and civil society organisations together as part of one network for “International Strategy for Disaster Reduction”.

The number of displaced and migrated people since the turn of the 21st century has reached millions. When wars get longer and the amount of time it takes for establishing peace increases, returning home becomes harder; and the level of vulnerability and possible damage increase. This makes vulnerability and risk management important. As part of the disaster risk management framework, planning out the necessary protections as well as the return process can enable us to prevent new risks and reduce the existing ones. Therefore, the works and efforts before and during wars/conflicts decrease losses; and make tangible and intangible value documentation better and stronger.

The 5 priority actions of the Hyogo framework show us that in the future, many other regions can be exposed to the same disaster risk of wars and conflicts that we have had in recent years, as well as the irreversible damage they have caused on cultural heritage; and remind us of the necessity of better defining this risk, reducing it, raising awareness and taking action.

When evaluating disaster risk, it is necessary to use, develop and apply traditional/regional, local construction knowledge and practices by complementing them with scientific knowledge. Therefore, the knowledge and contribution of the locals should be given importance in the rehabilitation works and the vision determined after conflicts. Local contributors should be included in the returning process from its preparation stage onwards as part of the risk management planning. Preservation of cultural heritage acts as the driving force for achieving this.

The “Disaster Risk Management for Cultural Heritage in Forced Displacements Due to Man-Made Disasters” plan prepared within the context of this thesis consists of 3 stages:

1- “Risk Reduction and Preparation Stage” Before War/Conflict

2- “Monitoring and Capacity Maintaining Stage” After War/Conflict Breaks Out – Expands, and During War/Conflict

3- Post War/Conflict Rehabilitation Stage “Planning the Return Process and the Rehabilitation of Historic Texture”

During the risk reduction process, it is necessary to determine the current situation of cultural heritage, gathering data describing the cultural heritage-user relationship, and creating Secure Networks at several physical locations for safeguarding the data.

During preservation works, the first thing to do for protecting an asset/cultural heritage is to form the conceptual framework. The common key point that the concepts of “community participation, capacity development, sustainable development, vision, security, equality, reconstruction, and reconciliation”, all of which form the conceptual framework for post-disaster practices, highlight as the solution is the “user”. In addition, countries that came out of a war/conflict should be prepared for sustainable return process in all aspects, and the host countries should help with staggered repatriation of refugees when peace is restored.

The wars and conflicts that broke out in different regions of the world during the late 20th century and the early 21st century have caused irreversible damage on the cultural heritage of many countries, such as Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Serbia, Croatia, Sudan, Lebanon, Northern Mali, Syria and Yemen. The goal behind specifically attacking cultural properties during conflicts is to damage the cultural values of societies, destroy the identities of individuals and groups, and to sever the ties that connect them together as a society by breaking their ties to places.

Around the world, the impact areas of wars and conflicts grow bigger; and their frequency and damage on historic environments increase. International solidarity is a must for solving these problems. Cultural heritage belongs to the humanity as a whole, which means that the properties that are being destroyed are all of ours, as well. Therefore, in cases where there are wars/conflicts/security problems, it is necessary to find solutions by adding new articles to international treaties/regulations/laws for newly arisen risks; by making changes in existing legislations; by developing international policies; educating societies; making cultural properties and their users more resilient against the impacts of destructions.

The integration of society rehabilitation, cultural heritage rehabilitation, and system rehabilitation defines the reconstruction process. This process should not be seen only as rebuilding historical structures and monuments. This is a process that must be defined together with the users. Ensuring that the reconstruction process is completed through local skills with increased funds instead of imported skills and funds, and communities are financially reinforced will be the most important foundations for expediting the return process. It should be noted that having access to cultural properties, being able to use them, and maintaining cultural properties within daily life as part of one’s identity is a fundamental human right.  

* This doctorate study was supported by the Yildiz Technical University, Scientific Research Projects Coordination Office. Project No: 2016-03-01-DOP01.

Translator: Fatma Özhan


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URL 1- Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research (HIIK) Methodology of the Conflict Barometer

URL 2- Habitat III Issue Papers, 4 – Urban Culture and Heritage, New York, 31 May 2015 (Not Edited Version 2.0)

URL 3- Hyogo, GAR Reports Syria,

URL 4- United Nations, Office For The Coordination Of Humanitarian Affairs, Under Secretary-General For Humanitarian Affairs And Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien, Remarks At Syria Conference Plenary Session London, 4 February 2016,

URL 5- Treaties on the Protection of Cultural Heritage and Syria,

[1] State Party Report for Syrian Cultural Heritage Sites dated 12 February 2015 as part of UNESCO’s Report for the State of Conservation (SOC) represent an official statement from the Syrian authorities and collate available information from the branches of the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM) and from social media. However, the State Party notes that ground access in Syria is extremely limited for heritage experts, and the full extent of the damage to World Heritage properties cannot be assessed in detail at this time. Therefore, the reports do not provide first-hand information on several sites,  and thus do not allow a full understanding of the extent of damage to the properties. For the preparation of the state of conservation reports for the World Heritage Committee, additional information was sought from civil society organizations, international organizations, local experts and the media to supplement official data. The State Party reported on the work carried out by the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM), despite the difficult working conditions, to monitor the World Heritage properties and cultural heritage in general, assess damages, undertake emergency conservation and risk mitigation actions whenever possible, and inventory built and movable heritage.

[2] Doç. Dr. Nilgün Çolpan Erkan and Lecturer Mahmud Zin Alabadin consulted us during the preparation and evaluation processes of the impact assessment study about preparing the survey and the contents of the questions.