Statement of the International Association for Assyriology concerning the humanitarian crises and cultural heritage in the Middle East (December 2016) (pdf)

Déclaration de l’International Association for Assyriology à propos du patrimoine culturel en Syrie et en Irak (pdf)
Stellungnahme der International Association for Assyriology (pdf)
Dichiarazione dell’ Associazione Internazionale di Assiriologia (pdf)
Verklaring van de International Association for Assyroliogy aangaande de humanitaire crisis en de bedreiging van het cultureel erfgoed in het Midden-Oosten (pdf)
Заявление Международной Ассоциации Ассириологов (pdf)
Uluslararası Assyrioloji Derneği’nin Orta Doğu’da Kültürel Mirasının Korunmasına İlişkin Bildirisi (pdf)


The growth of humanitarian crises in the Middle East continues to be a tragedy for the residents across the region.

The IAA is particularly sensitive to this human tragedy since the ancient societies that we study all had their homes in the region, and our members have a long history of working with colleagues and communities there. Alongside the danger to human life, these conflicts pose a grave threat to the rich tangible and intangible cultural heritage of the Middle East.

Damage to this heritage strikes at the identity and valued traditions of the peoples of the region.

There is also a long history of the politicization of the surviving sites, monuments, and remains of the ancient communities of the region.

We decry all damage to cultural heritage and efforts by any party to instrumentalize this tragedy politically in order to claim advantages in today’s conflicts.

The IAA calls on its members, the international community, and all parties to respect the right to life of all citizens and to work to prevent, minimize and repair damage to the heritage of the region.

December 2016


Statement of the International Association for Assyriology concerning the cultural heritage of Syria and Iraq (August 2014) (pdf)


إعلان للجمعية العالمية للدراسات الآشورية بخصوص الإرث الثقافي لسورية والعراق (pdf)
Aufruf der International Association for Assyriology zur Bewahrung des kulturellen Erbes Syriens und des Iraks (pdf)
Déclaration de International Association for Assyriology à propos de l’héritage culturel en Syrie et en Irak (pdf)
Dichiarazione dell’Associazione Internazionale per l’Assiriologia International Association for Assyriology riguardo ai Beni Culturali in Siria e in Iraq (pdf)
Declaración de la International Association for Assyriology acerca del patrimonio cultural de Siria y de Irak (pdf)
Deklaracja International Association for Assyriology na temat dziedzictwa kulturowego w Syrii i Iraku (pdf)
Declaração da Associação Internacional para a Assiriologia (International Association for Assyriology) a respeito do Patrimônio Cultural na Síria e no Iraque (pdf)
シリアおよびイラクの文化遺産に関する国際アッシリア学会声明 (pdf)
国际亚述学协会关于叙利亚和伊拉克文化遗产的声明 (pdf)

The International Association for Assyriology declares its grave concern about the ongoing and worsening situation in Syria and Iraq. Beyond the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Iraq since 1990 and in Syria since 2011, the cultural heritage of these two countries is in great danger. Irremediable damage is being caused to the legacy of ancient Mesopotamia, the cradle of human civilization. Museums have been plundered, and archaeological sites have been heavily damaged or destroyed.

In Iraq, sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List or submitted on the Tentative List are in danger or already much devastated: Assur (Qal’at Sherqat), Hatra, Samarra, Nineveh, Ur, Nimrud, Babylon, the Marshlands, etc. It is also the case with other important archaeological sites not recorded by UNESCO, such as Sippar, Larsa, Uruk, and many others. The Iraq Museum in Baghdad has been looted (2003).

In Syria as well, sites inscribed on the Unesco World Heritage List or submitted on the Tentative List have suffered serious damage: Aleppo’s citadel, Bosra, the old city of Damascus, Palmyra, Ebla, Dura-Europos, Mari, Tell Sheikh Hamad, Apamea, Krak des Chevaliers, Hama, Homs. The museums of Raqqa, Hama, Deir ez-Zor and Idlib have been plundered.

The ancient civilisations of Syria and Iraq play a vital role in their modern identities. The devastation wrought in these countries strikes a heavy blow against the cultural life of the region, and against a significant part of mankind’s shared cultural heritage. Furthermore, the damage to monuments and museums threatens an important source of future tourist income that could help communities rebuild towards a brighter future.

The International Association for Assyriology, which gathers scholars from around the world working in Cuneiform Studies and Near Eastern Archaeology, makes a public appeal for the preservation and the protection of sites, monuments and museums of Syria and Iraq.

August 2014