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UNESCO Says Syria's Cultural Heritage Being Devastated

The United Nations’ Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is warning that Syria’s rich cultural heritage is being devastated by the country’s civil war, which is now in its third year. UNESCO said fighting has damaged historical sites and buildings throughout the country, including the Umayyad Mosque in Aleppo, and the Crac des Chevaliers Castle, which dates from the 13th century Crusades. UNESCO said organized and armed looters have been plundering archaeological sites, stealing artifacts, and selling them on the black market. UNESCO chief Irina Bokova urged Syria’s warring parties to take measures to prevent further damage to historic sites, calling them “among the most precious in the Islamic world.” (14 PHOTOS)