MOSCOW, April 25. /TASS/. The Russian State Hermitage Museum and the Likhachev Research Institute for Cultural and Natural Heritage (Heritage Institute) are willing to take part in the restoration of Syria’s Palmyra, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has told a meeting of the Russian Commission for UNESCO.
The minister pointed to the Strategy for reinforcing UNESCO’s action for the protection of cultural pluralism in the event of armed conflict adopted at the 38th session of the organization. The declaration on the protection of culture in the armed conflict zones has been endorsed at the St. Petersburg Cultural Forum as a follow-up of this program.
"The decision provides for a wide range of steps to preserve historical monuments. We are satisfied with the fact that dozens of countries, including France and the U.K., have joined it as co-authors," Lavrov noted.
"In accordance with the provisions of this decision, it is planned to send an international expert mission to Syria, which will also comprise permanent representatives to UNESCO, to evaluate the amount of restoration work at Palmyra and develop a concrete assistance plan," the minister said.
"Conditions for UNESCO experts to visit Palmyra will be created in the nearest future. We are in constant contact with the organization on this issue," Lavrov said.
Palmyra, an ancient city in Syria’s Homs province, was under the control of Islamic State militants since May 2015 and was liberated by the Syrian army on March 27, 2016, with support from the Russian air group and special operations forces. The city referred to as the "gem" of the Syrian Desert was one of the richest ancient civilization centers. The Silk Route ran through Palmyra located in an oasis some 240 kilometers of Damascus. Palmyra’s architectural museum complex has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.