Emergency Red list of Syrian cultural objects at risk

ICOM and the Observatory on Illicit Traffic in Cultural Goods

The International Council of Museums (ICOM), created in 1946 and representing museums and museum professionals, is committed to the promotion and protection of natural and cultural heritage, present and future, tangible and intangible. In 2013, ICOM created the first International Observatory on Illicit Traffic in Cultural Goods, once more formally placing the fight against this trend at the heart of its public service missions. The Red Lists have been designed to fight the illicit traffic of cultural objects from certain countries.

Emergency Red List of Syrian Cultural Objects at Risk

Following reports of widespread damage and looting at cultural heritage sites in Syria, ICOM decided to publish the Emergency Red List of Syrian Cultural Objects at Risk with the aim to help art and heritage professionals and law enforcement officials identify Syrian objects that are protected by national and international legislations. In order to facilitate  identification, the Emergency Red List illustrates the categories or types of cultural items that are most likely to be illegally bought and sold.


Syria has, over many millennia, been home to diverse cultures and ancient kingdoms, including prehistoric tribes, Islamic societies, European crusaders, Persian merchants and the Abbasid and Ottoman Empires. Syria's diverse cultural heritage is reflected in the plurality of its national character. The ongoing destruction of stes and disappearance of cultural objects impoverishes our knowledge and understanding of Syrian cultural heritage and its many and varied contributions to world heritage.

The Red List of Syrian Cultural Objects at Risk is downloadable from this page.