War on Syria targets cultural heritage: minister

Syria’s Culture Minister Mohammad al-Ahmad said that the “foreign-backed war” waged on Syria hasn’t only targeted the peace and security in the country but also the cultural heritage and history.

Al-Ahmad made the remarks during an interview with Chinese News Agency Xinhua, saying that the Culture Ministry in Syria has a plan to rebuild the damaged ruins and historic sites, which have been subject to systematic destruction and looting by the hands of the foreign-backed rebels, including the al-Qaida-linked militants and the Islamic State (IS) group.

The minister said that the challenges facing the Syrian culture are immense and have always been throughout history as, during ancient wars, many of the historic sites suffered damage and destruction.

He said that in Aleppo city, for instance, many of the buildings that have been destroyed during the war are ancient ones, which means that the war is targeting the Syrian culture.

He noted that the terrorist groups have targeted the ancient city of Palmyra in central Syria, which has 2,000-year-old artifacts and sites.

“In fact, the targeting was a cultural one in the first place and after the destruction. We have a long work to do, particularly in the ruins that have sustained big damage,” he said.

Regarding the plans of the ministry to restore the ruins, the Syrian minister said that “we have plans to rebuild the ruins and we have plans to rebuild the human because building is not only through the reconstruction of buildings but also rebuilding the human being that has also suffered from the war and violence.”

As part of the reconstruction of the human, the minister said that the ministry is interested in translating foreign literature.

“We realize that translation is a method of rebuilding the culture and human beings as well,” he said.