During Syria's current crisis and in view of the exceptional circumstances affecting all sectors, including the archaeological and cultural sector, which has suffered pillaging and damage at the hands of looters, ideological extremists and takfiris, the DGAM, comprised of no more than 2500 staff members, including more than 800 archaeologists, architects, and engineers, continues to function professionally.
Despite all the tragedies Syria is enduring, our employees are even more resolute in carrying out their duties to defend Syria's invaluable heritage. We do believe that rescuing our heritage is a moral and ethical responsibility that we bear alone. Hence, we are determined to pass this heritage on to future generations although we are left alone.
Amidst this destructive war and existential battle, we lost great heroes, and some of our colleagues lost their homes and possessions. However, we managed to transport more than 90% of the museum collections to safe places except for those preserved in the museums of Idlib, Maarrat al-Nu'man and Bosra, which are still at risk. We hope that those collections will remain secure with the help of the local community and our employees. In addition, we have documented damage as well as tens of thousands of artifacts, and published detailed information in a systematic and scientific method as regards that. Our goal is to constitute a unified vision, shared by all Syrians, which represents their collective memory and stresses that the Syrian heritage belongs to all Syrians notwithstanding any differences.
The local community in most areas has never hesitated to cooperate and work with the DGAM to protect our heritage against antiquities gangs and looters, targeting and damaging numerous sites.
Defending our cultural heritage is considered a sacred mission and a noble responsibility, that we have shouldered with the support of faithful and true friends, who have stood by us and our institution, particularly in the past couple of years, including the UNESCO, ICCROM, ICOMOS, ICOM, INTERPOL, scientific institutions, prestigious universities and significant figures.
Nonetheless, we do feel unfortunate as some people march to a different drumbeat, who seek for politicizing the Syrian cultural heritage to serve conspiracy agendas, that do not aim to rescue that heritage. Some of those people have worked in Syria but have been disloyal to and have attacked our institution, which has always provided them with all the help needed. They have even criticized some of those who attended the December-2016 conference on the Syrian antiquities in Damascus
. They have fabricated lies in order to affect communication with the DGAM and put pressure on our sincere friends to prevent them from keeping in touch with us. We believe this is intellectual terrorism and flagrant violation of personal freedoms.
These people are only a few, whose names would not have been recognized had not they worked in Syria and explored its heritage. Their lies do not help rescue Syria's heritage; on the contrary, they look for personal gains and interests and support some suspicious agendas.