UN agency condemns destruction at ancient cultural site in Syria

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Ancient City of Bosra, Syrian, World Heritage site. Photo: ©UNESCO/Véronique Dauge

The destruction of parts of a major archaeological site in southern Syria has been condemned by the head of the UN cultural agency (UNESCO).

The Ancient City of Bosra, which contains ruins from Roman, Byzantine, and Muslim times, was an important stop on the ancient caravan route to Mecca.

The Syrian Directorate of Antiquities and Museums confirmed that the  destruction occurred during combat between government forces and rebel groups on Tuesday.

Dianne Penn has the story.

The Ancient City of Bosra contains a second-century Roman theatre, early Christian ruins and several mosques.

It was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1980.

The damage to the site represented a "further escalation" in the horror of war, according to Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN cultural agency, UNESCO.

She said cultural sites in Syria must be protected as they are essential to restoring peace in the country.

The UN official called on professionals worldwide who work in cultural fields, and particularly the art market, to be vigilant against traffic in artefacts from Bosra.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 41"

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