Russia begins restoration of Arc of Triumph in Syria’s Palmyra

ALEPPO, Syria — Russia continues to advertise its restoration of historic websites in Syria. Russia’s ambassador to Syria, Alexander Yefimov, introduced his nation’s intention to revive the traditional Arch of Triumph that was destroyed by the Islamic State (IS) within the Syrian metropolis of Palmyra, based on a three-dimensional digital mannequin.

In an interview with the Russian state company TASS Nov. 4, the ambassador mentioned, “The primary critical steps have already been taken. For instance, in August 2020, Syria was given a three-dimensional model of the traditional metropolis of Palmyra ready by Russian specialists, and the restoration will likely be based mostly on that mannequin.”

Yefimov mentioned that this work is being carried out in shut coordination with UNESCO and the Division of Antiquities and Museums in Syria.

“We are able to’t say that there are insurmountable difficulties, however the course of itself is hard and requires delicate preparation and high-quality execution all through all its phases. Objectively talking, it’s going to take numerous time,” he defined.

In August 2020, Russia had offered a three-dimensional model of the Palmyra antiquities. The model, which Russian media described as an accomplishment and reward, depicts photographs of the historic metropolis of Palmyra, together with the theater and temple that IS destroyed in 2015.

Russia desires to attract the world’s consideration to the destruction of Palmyra, with the purpose of bringing in financing for the restoration, based on statements by Russian officers. It has already signed agreements with the Syrian regime to ascertain its guardianship over the ruins of Palmyra. The director of the Russian State Hermitage Museum, Mikhail Piotrovsky, had signed in November 2019 a memorandum of understanding with the Syrian Museums and Antiquities Authority to revive some historical facilities and artifacts in Palmyra, based on Sputnik.

Natalia Solovyova, deputy director of the Hermitage Museum, mentioned that the mannequin “supplies a possibility to evaluate new excavation locations and examine the world’s planning and reconstruction prices with out going to town itself.” Solovyova’s assertion on the time was thought of a message to European missions that had refused to go to the area for safety causes. In April 2016, Piotrovsky mentioned that he had handed Vladimir Putin proposals for the reconstruction of Palmyra, and confirmed that he had proposed to UNESCO that Russia be a part of the worldwide marketing campaign to revive the historic metropolis.

As well as, Russian archaeologists plan to revive the Church of St. Helena in Aleppo, and based on the Russian TASS company, archaeologists on the Petersburg-based Russian Institute of Historical past of Materials Tradition performed a whole topography of the Church of St. Helena, one of many oldest Christian church buildings within the metropolis of Aleppo courting again to the fifth century. The company famous that Russian scientists will depend on pictures, movies and scientific descriptions of the church to arrange a three-dimensional mannequin that may assist in future restoration tasks.

In November 2015, IS blew up and destroyed the archaeological Arch of Triumph in Palmyra, when it was controlling the world. The group additionally destroyed the temples of Baal Shamin and components of the Temple of Bel, and the well-known Lion of Athena statue on the entrance to the Palmyra Metropolis Museum, which dates again to the second half of the primary century B.C. and is on the UNESCO checklist of archaeological websites.

Ayman Nabo, director of the opposition’s Idleb Antiquities Center, advised Al-Monitor, “Russian allegations concerning the restoration of antiquities and historic websites in Syria are propaganda-based and exaggerated to a big extent, as Russia is searching for probably the most recognition and help from UNESCO, along with engaged on investing within the antiquities’ sector on each the financial and political ranges.”

He mentioned, “Russia is mendacity and has no expertise in restoring antiquities. It merely desires to extend its affect and infiltration in Syria and put together for a protracted keep by way of the gateway to antiquities and reconstruction. It desires to steal UNESCO funds by way of this outlet, and it is usually working to open new investments within the metropolis.”

Nabo added, “Many of the missions that have been working in Syria earlier than the outbreak of the Syrian revolution in 2011 have been German and French missions, and a few Japanese, Belgian and American missions. Russia solely had one mission that was working intermittently on the website of Tal Khazneh in Hasakah governorate in northeastern Syria.”

In mid-July, UNESCO printed the suggestions of the technical assembly on restoring the antiquities of Palmyra, which introduced collectively 34 worldwide specialists from France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Poland, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Russia, the UK and the Assad authorities. All through the 5 years of the regime and Russia’s management, Palmyra metropolis that was of their grip turned propaganda material for Moscow, which has used its world fame to advertise its victory over IS. The remaining archaeological sites in the course of the previous years have change into a shrine for Russian forces and their mercenaries, who seem sometimes in pictures taken on town’s stones.

Mohammad al-Sukari, researcher in Syrian affairs, advised Al-Monitor, “The restoration of the antiquities sector is a part of Russia’s coverage in Syria, and this appeared extra clearly after the sixteenth Astana Convention, which touched upon the coverage of early restoration. Undoubtedly, along with its try and deal with reconstruction and refugees, Russia is attempting to entrench the protected Syria narrative by specializing in the very important tourism sector, particularly in a metropolis like Palmyra, which has a worldwide standing.”

He famous, “These knowledge point out that Moscow has nearly fully monopolized the Syrian file and is significantly looking for a approach to revive the Syrian regime by way of the tourism sector. On the similar time, it hopes that this will likely be an entry level for some nations to rethink their basic coverage, particularly concerning isolating the Syrian regime internationally and confide in this sector. Thus, the Russian army and political efforts will be translated right into a quest to finish the isolation of the Syrian regime and perpetuate Russia’s management over the Syrian difficulty. This would possibly push different events equivalent to Turkey, Iran and the USA to take care of the difficulty based mostly on Moscow’s method.”

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