The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today announced the dispatch of a mission of experts to Lebanon to assess the possible damage caused to historical sites in the recent conflict there. Among other locations, experts will visit UNESCO’s World Heritage sites of Tyre, Baalbek and Byblos. Tyre and Baalbek, first built by the Phoenicians grew over the centuries and retain, to this day, some of the finest examples of Imperial Roman architecture at its zenith, the agency said in a news release, adding that experts will analyze the structural soundness of the monuments on these sites and their state of conservation. Byblos, north of Beirut, bears testimony to the earliest stages of the Phoenician civilization and early urban organization in the Mediterranean world, UNESCO said. It has been affected by the oil spill caused by a leak from a coastal power plant bombarded in July. The experts will assess the potential damage of the oil spill to the ancient Port. The experts are also expected to visit cultural heritage sites in the south of Lebanon that are not inscribed on the World Heritage List at the request of the Lebanese authorities. UNESCO first sent a mission to Lebanon in August for a preliminary identification of possible areas of cooperation with the national authorities. “While initial inspection has revealed no significant destruction of cultural heritage sites in Lebanon, we must ensure that ancient edifices have not been structurally weakened by the impact of explosions nearby,” UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura explained. He added that “Naturally, UNESCO also stands ready to help Israel take stock of the effect of the war on its heritage, including, for example, the Old City of Acre inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.”

UNESCO sends experts to assess wars effects on Lebanons cultural heritage
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