Beirut- The city of Palmyra and its historic ruins have been under ISIS’s control since May 2015. Since then, ISIS militants have destroyed part of the ruins, which are a designated UNESCO World Heritage site.
On Sunday the Syrian Armed Forces confirmed that they had liberated Palmyra from ISIS, with support from national aviation and Russian Aerospace Forces.
The Italian government announced its willingness to send “blue hats” to the archaeological city of Palmyra.
For his part, the Italian Minister of Cultural Heritage, Dario Frantzescana explained that the matter is related to blue hats Culture, which is the Italian group of operations in charge of the protection of cultural heritage in areas of tensions.
The minister added that the blue hats would be ready to protect cultural heritage, which was destroyed by terrorism. The international community and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), have to decide whether Palmyra will be the first task to be undertaken by the Blue hats. They will also have to set working methods and a date for this task besides studying the possibility of other countries participating in that process.
Moreover, Russia reaffirmed that it will help rebuild ancient sites in the Syrian city of Palmyra.
Director of the renowned Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, Mikhail Piotrovsky confirmed his museum’s readiness to participate in the restoration process.
Piotrovsky’s remarks came in response to statements made by UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova, who said she will ask for a close cooperation with Russia’s State Hermitage to restore the remaining historic monuments in the city.
He noted that Hermitage museum is considered to be the largest scientific institution specialized in restoration projects and enjoys a well-recognized experience in this field.
Piotrovsky called for evaluating the level of destruction caused by terrorism, indicating that “While the ISIS terrorist organization began their attack on Palmyra, vandalizing its archaeological ruins and exploding its monuments, our specialists started to think about means of preserving this ancient city and cooperated with all museum experts around the world to collect what is necessary for launching an international campaign to revive and rebuild the city once it is recaptured.”
For his part, Head of the Russian General Staff, Valery Gerasimov, announced that Russia will deploy bomb disposal experts into Syria in the next few days to help defuse explosives in the city of Palmyra. The support given by the Russians will include engineers and robots, which will be used to defuse numerous bombs and mines, which were left by ISIS.
On the other hand, Syria’s Directorate-General of Antiquities and Museums, Maamoun Abdulkarim, believes that the restoration could take five years.
“If we have UNESCO’s approval, we will need five years to restore the structures damaged or destroyed by ISIS,” Maamoun Abdulkarim told AFP.
“We have the qualified staff, the knowledge and the research. With UNESCO’s approval, we can start the work in a year’s time.” “80 percent of the ruins are in good shape,” he added.