World

Satellite images show 290 Syrian cultural sites have been damaged by civil war, UN agency says

  • FILE - In this March 6, 2013 file photo provided by the anti-government activist group Aleppo Media Center (AMC), which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows the minaret of a famed 12th century Umayyad mosque before it was destroyed by the shelling, in the northern city of Aleppo, Syria. A U.N. agency says Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014 that  satellite imagery shows that at least 290 cultural heritage sites in Syria have been damaged by the country’s civil war. (AP Photo/Aleppo Media Center, AMC, File)

    FILE - In this March 6, 2013 file photo provided by the anti-government activist group Aleppo Media Center (AMC), which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows the minaret of a famed 12th century Umayyad mosque before it was destroyed by the shelling, in the northern city of Aleppo, Syria. A U.N. agency says Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014 that satellite imagery shows that at least 290 cultural heritage sites in Syria have been damaged by the country’s civil war. (AP Photo/Aleppo Media Center, AMC, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - This file photo made on Thursday, May 1, 2014, shows belongings of Syrian rebels inside a chapel at Crac des Chevaliers, the world's best preserved medieval Crusader castle, in Syria.  A U.N. agency says Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014 that  satellite imagery shows that at least 290 cultural heritage sites in Syria have been damaged by the country’s civil war. (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic, File)

    FILE - This file photo made on Thursday, May 1, 2014, shows belongings of Syrian rebels inside a chapel at Crac des Chevaliers, the world's best preserved medieval Crusader castle, in Syria. A U.N. agency says Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014 that satellite imagery shows that at least 290 cultural heritage sites in Syria have been damaged by the country’s civil war. (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic, File)  (The Associated Press)

A U.N. agency says satellite imagery shows that at least 290 cultural heritage sites in Syria have been damaged by the country's civil war.

The United Nations Institute for Training and Research says in its report released Tuesday that UNESCO World Heritage sites in Aleppo, Damascus, the ancient city of Palmyra and the Crusader castle known as Crac des Chevaliers have all sustained major damage.

UNITAR says it analyzed 18 different cultural areas using commercially available satellite imagery. It found that 24 sites were destroyed, 104 severely damaged, 85 moderately damaged and 77 possibly damaged.

UNITAR says "national and international efforts for the protection of these areas need to be scaled up in order to save as much as possible of this important heritage to human-kind."