PARIS, Mar. 04 (Press Shia) – Director General of UNESCO Irina Bokova called for doubling efforts to protect the Syrian heritage as a whole after liberating Palmyra City from the ISIL terrorists.

Earlier on Thursday evening the General Command of the Army and Armed Forces announced that the Syrian Arab army regained control over Palmyra City and the surrounding areas after a series of the successful military operations backed by the Syrian and the Russian air forces.

In a statement published on the UNESCO website Bokova said “the protection of the archaeological site of Palmyra is both a major cultural issue and an imperative for security, peace and the recovery of a whole country,” said the Director General.

Bokova added “this heritage has survived millennia, it fosters unity and identity for the Syrian people. Its preservation is inseparable from the protection of human life and is an integral part of the response to humanitarian emergencies. It must be left out of the conflict.”

She indicated that “UNESCO is currently holding an emergency international meeting in Beirut to coordinate the protection of cultural heritage in the devastated ancient city of Aleppo.”

Bokova affirmed that the UNESCO “remains fully engaged with Syrian antiquities officials and all its partners for the preservation of Syrian heritage as a whole. The situation requires extreme vigilance and constant international cooperation at the highest level for the coming decades.”

“Palmyra has already suffered too much from the infernal cycle of looting, systematic destruction and fighting. These degradations must stop, and UNESCO will do its utmost to document these damages so that these crimes do not go unpunished. I remind all the forces involved of the absolute necessity to safeguard this emblematic heritage as a key condition for peace in the region,” she added.

SANA/Press Shia