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Now based in Jordan, she collects information about the situation from Syrian colleagues and the Internet.

"To our knowledge, the German Archeological Institute excavation sites have not been affected by looting, but a massive destruction of Syria's cultural heritage is definitely taking place," she told DW in an email interview.

She told DW that all German Archeological Institute researchers in Syria were relocated as soon as turmoil began in the country, at the beginning of 2011.

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Major antiquities have been stolen from at least six museums.

Fortunately, the 77,000 artefacts which make up the collections in Syria's archeological museums are now stored in a secure location.

Along with other international representatives of archeological missions, Bartl also collaborated with UNESCO by pointing out which objects were at risk of being looted.

Indeed, major archeological sites in Syria have been ransacked.

According to Bandarin, the government has allowed Abdulkarim to deal with the rebels on the issue of heritage conservation.

He appoints people to guard cultural treasures in rebel-controlled areas and, apparently, the rebels accept their authority.Nevertheless, these attempts to watch over the sites are sometimes stalled by technical issues.For instance, due to the situation in the country, international missions were unable to transfer funds to pay guards for their work at excavation sites.As Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO, emphasized in her appeal last week, paying attention to this aspect of the conflict does not mean overlooking the humanitarian tragedy.The destruction of this heritage is a "part of the humanitarian disaster in Syria," she said.With the uncertainty surrounding the international community's involvement in the Syrian war and the unbearable number of casualties caused by the conflict, discussing material losses may seem like a lesser priority.

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