R E V I E W A N D A N A L Y S I S 41 Before the Syrian civil war, Aleppo was the largest city in the country with a population of over two million, and it was a major commercial and industrial centre of modern Syria. The protection of Aleppo’s heritage is not just about safeguarding its extraordinary examples of ancient structures and architecture, including the Umayyad mosques and the citadel, but also the socioeconomic vitality of the historic city centre and the way of life, traditions, knowledge, craftsmanship, and social practices embedded in the spirit of the place that should be recovered. These interlinked and multi-faceted values are the reason why this continuously inhabited historic city should have been protected and why its postconflict recovery is a priority for Syria. STRATEGIES FOR DEVELOPING RISK PREPAREDNESS FOR ENDANGERED SITES In the face of armed conflict, the main questions for the cultural heritage sector are how to protect the heritage, or at least, reduce and/or mitigate possible damage, as well as how to provide emergency response to damaged cultural heritage sites to prevent further damage and loss, and recover the impacted heritage. The Hague Convention and its 1999 Second Protocol not only provide a legal framework for the protection of heritage in times of conflict, but they suggest peacetime preparatory measures that should be undertaken by state parties to the convention. These measures, specified in Article 3 of the 1999 Second Protocol to The Hague Convention include, ‘the preparation of inventories, the planning of emergency measures for protection against fire or structural collapse, the preparation for the removal of movable cultural property or the provision for adequate in situ protection of such property, and the designation of competent authorities responsible for the safeguarding of cultural property’. The implementation of these measures is left to each state, and the protocol does not provide any further details. The limits of these measures depend on each country’s financial resources, national or domestic laws, administrative structure, and technical and scientific capacities. The preparation of inventories and documentation is a pivotal element of any preparedness, mitigation, and recovery action for cultural heritage and should be treated as the very first step. Documentation should record what exists as cultural heritage resources, but also, it should identify threats and vulnerabilities of heritage sites. Although we might think that all significant heritage and archaeological sites have been identified and recorded, archaeologists and heritage professionals still must find and record each one that’s likely to be affected. Projects like Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa (EAMENA), funded by the Arcadia Fund and the Cultural Protection Fund (CPF) and based at the universities of Oxford, Leicester, and Durham, try to fill in the gaps in documentation and heritage inventory in the sector by rapidly recording the fundamental information of endangered sites, their condition, and level of risk posed by using satellite imagery and other available resources (see the EAMENA website for more detail). Recording heritage sites and monitoring their conditions help the heritage authorities and national stakeholders to prioritise sites for preparedness and mitigation actions. In recent years, the role of 3D documentation in recording and preserving information about endangered sites and its potential use in post-conflict reconstruction has been highlighted. However, in the age of fast-growing digital technologies, it should be emphasised that all new techniques must serve cultural heritage protection, and while 3D documentation does play an important role, it is not the end goal of this process as it cannot replace the authenticity of the cultural heritage. Strategies for preparedness should start by assessing risks to identify, analyse, and evaluate threats and their possible magnitude and effects on cultural heritage, and its associated significance. Risk identification involves understanding and assessing the values, both tangible and intangible, that are attributed to cultural heritage because it is these that are to be protected. When assessing significance, the local community should be consulted and their perspectives on different aspects considered. The vulnerabilities of a heritage site or collection to various combinations of risks and the potential impact of each combination must also be analysed. Armed conflicts usually lead to complex emergency situations with a total or considerable breakdown of authority, displacement of people, and widespread damage to societies and economies. In this situation, the nature of risk is dynamic and can evolve while conflict and its consequences are unfolding. New and different risks to the cultural heritage may arise in various phases of a conflict, and thus, it is essential to constantly assess risks and their potential impacts. As outlined by Rohit Jigyasu, Joseph King and Gamini Wijesuriya in Managing Disaster Risks for World Heritage, by developing disaster scenarios based on the cause-effect relationship of primary and secondary risks, it may be possible to adopt a range of risk preparedness strategies, including disaster-prevention and mitigation measures. For example, one of the measures for fire prevention in a historic building can be avoiding, eliminating, moving, or securing sources of ignition (heat) and Temple of Bel, Palmyra, Syria, before and after destruction. Source: before, Google Earth (Pro). (08.09.2010). DigitalGlobe 2019, after, Google Earth (Pro). (03.12.2016). CNES/Airbus 2019