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War imperilling Yemen’s heritage

13, Feb 2018 | CJP Team

The years-long Saudi Arabia-led war against the Houthi rebels in Yemen has impacted the country’s culture and historical landmarks, according to Al Jazeera. Experts are concerned that the Awwam Temple, as well as other historic and cultural landmarks in the country that have not been singled out by international authorities are under threat. The temple is situated in an area that is now on the front lines of the war, and is a symbol of the region’s ancient, pre-Islamic history, with some portions believed to date back to the 7th century BC. Saudi-led airstrikes have ruined historic mud homes in Saada, which is the birthplace of the Houthi rebels. Airstrikes have also struck the Old City in Sana’a, Yemen’s capital. The Old City is more than 2,500 years old. In 2015, airstrikes harmed a portion of the Great Marib Dam, near the Awwam Temple, which reportedly dates back to the 8th century BC and was constructed by the Saba dynasty. Even shockwaves generated by explosions can hurt fragile buildings. UNESCO has supplied the coordinates of around 50 historical landmarks to those militaries involved in the war, in an attempt to protect the landmarks, according Anna Paolini, director of the agency’s regional office. “Although we’ve seen less collateral damage and targeting of heritage, it still happens,” she told Al Jazeera. The war has also forced out foreign archaeologists and historians, resulting in stalled work at the Awwam Temple and other historical sites.

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