Damascus, SANA – Tourism Minister Bishr Yazigi received on Thursday a British delegation including parliamentary, academic and religious figures.
During the meeting, Yazigi briefed the delegation on the terrorist attacks and damage inflicted upon Syria’s civilization and historical and tourist sites during the war, explaining that those attacks targeted places of worship for the Muslims and Christians, citadels and archeological cities, markets and monuments.
The Minster appreciated the visit of the British delegation, saying the Syrian people will remember in the future those who have stood by them “in one of the fiercest of wars ever experienced by peoples throughout history.”
Answering a question on the scale of damage caused to the Syrian sectors due to the unfair unilateral economic sanctions imposed on Syria, Yazigi affirmed that these sanctions have targeted all the productive sectors as well as the daily life of the Syrian people, pointing out that tourism sector was highly affected in almost every aspect, including on the level of travel, tourism and online reservation offices.
Yazigi continued to say that there has been systematic destruction of the archeological sites inflicted by the terrorist organizations, in addition to stealing and smuggling antiquities and archeological items and trading them through brokers across the Turkish boarders.
For their part, the delegation’s members voiced their full solidarity with the Syrian state and people, saying they have realized since the beginning the dangers of the war waged against Syria.
Head of the delegation, Father Andrew Ashdown asserted that the facts and information which they have come to know during their visit are shocking to the entire international community, clarifying that the aim of the visit is to inspect the situation in the country closely and covey the facts to the politicians in Britain, especially that many people are misinformed about the reality of the events happening in Syria due to what is being published by some world media outlets.
In turn, Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords (1985-2005) Caroline Cox highlighted that she visited Syria to listen to the people’ stories and to be their voice in Britain instead of depending on the biased coverage of some media outlets.
The archeological researcher at Cambridge University, David Clark, who participated in excavation operations in Syria between 1980 and 1990, vowed to work with a group of his colleagues to keep track of the smuggled Syrian antiquities being sold at the black market in Britain.
The delegation later watched a documentary film displaying the most prominent archeological landmarks in Syria and showing before and after pictures of ancient sites and monuments that showed the scale of damage caused due to the terrorist attacks.
The delegation included other members of the Houses of Commons and Lords, religious and academic figures and researchers such as the member of the Parliamentary Committee for Human Rights Raymond Hilton, Director of the Oxford Centre for Training, Research, Advocacy and Dialogue Bishop Michael Nazir and a member of the Living Stones Board of Trustees.
Nearly a month ago, a delegation from the European Parliament headed by the Vice Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Javier Couso visited Syria and met a number of officials. The delegation members also visited a makeshift center and wounded Syrian Arab Army personnel.