Measuring Cultural Property Destruction in Iraq and Syria Template 1

Project Overview

This project sets out to document and interpret the heritage destruction which has occurred in Iraq and Syria, following the Iraq War of 2003, the ‘Arab Spring’ of 2011 and particularly since the rise of the ‘Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’ (ISIS).

Each of these events have triggered mass humanitarian tragedies and also proved fatal for many of the world’s most invaluable cultural heritage sites.

This project seeks to measure and interpret this heritage destruction over two distinct phases. The first phase concerns the period of US occupation in Iraq from 2003-2011. It documents the heritage destruction done not only by occupational forces but also by various terrorist groups and sectarian militias.

The second phase focuses on both Iraq and Syria after the onset of the Syrian civil war and the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, both in 2011. While several key actors have conducted large scale heritage destruction, the primary focus will be on the havoc unleashed by ISIS on various heritage sites.

In recent years, both Iraq and Syria have seen unprecedented degrees of heritage destruction.

Associate Professor Benjamin Isakhan

Associate Professor of Politics and Policy

Our team

Australian Research Council
Australian Department of Defence

Post-Doctoral Research Associates
Dr Taghreed Jamal Al-Deen
Dr Antonio Gonzalez Zarandona

PhD Candidate
Diane Siebrandt
Sofya Shahab

Research Assistants
Dr Ahmed Hassin
Wael Elhabrouk
Pete Mulherin