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Damage assessment and emergency actions in Manbij (Syria)


Activities, News, Project news

Rehabimed is involved in an ISIS damage assessment and emergency consolidation project at three monuments in Manbij. A project led by Heritage for Peace, funded by the British Council and which begins this June.

The project will intervene in three heritage buildings dating from Byzantine times to the early 20th century:

The Al-Antabi tomb contains unique frescoes and geometric drawings dating back to the Byzantine period, which have suffered extensive damage as a result of wartime looting and structural damage.

The Syriac Church contains mosaics dating from Greek times. Both the building and the works of art inside have been badly damaged as a result of looting and illegal excavations during the conflict. The destruction of the faces of the mosaic characters are especially impressive.

The Greek mosaics in the Manbij Syriac Church were subjected to systematic destruction of the faces of all characters by ISIS.

The Ottoman hammam is a building built during the Caliphate period, and which later served as a home for displaced Palestinians fleeing the 1948 crisis. After 2011, and during the occupation of Manbij, it was used as a prison for ISIS. As a consequence, the building suffered modifications to the façade and interior alterations, with cracks and partial collapses.

The old Ottoman hammam has undergone multiple transformations, both inside and outside, and partial collapses of the structure.

With a duration of one year, the project begins with the training of 15 local heritage professionals (archaeologists and architects) to assume the inventory, evaluation and consolidation tasks foreseen by the project. The fields of training will be: Manual and digital survey of buildings, structural stabilization of monuments and restoration of decorative elements, especially frescoes and mosaics.

Once the training is complete, a systematic inventory of all the city’s heritage assets will be carried out, as well as a diagnosis of the three buildings that are the subject of consolidation and repair work. All of this, to preserve valuable heritage assets, to raise awareness among the local population and, also, to create work activity related to heritage, in a place where economic hardships are indescribable and the international community maintains an inexplicable blockade with the excuse that the regime in Damascus is not democratic.