A charity dedicated to maintaining Edinburgh's heritage has offered to help the restoration of several of Syria's cultural sites.

Edinburgh World Heritage has offered to help the work of Professor Maamoun Adbulkarim, director-general of antiquities and museums, who this week called for help to protect the country's heritage.

In addition to the damage to the ancient site of Palmyra, many of Syria’s urban World Heritage sites have also been damaged through shelling, looting and military occupation.

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Adam Wilkinson, director of Edinburgh World Heritage, said: "Syria is home to some of the world’s most important archaeology, monuments and ancient cities which bear rich testimony to the development of human civilisation.

"Edinburgh leads the world in community-based heritage conservation within dynamic urban environments, and stands ready to help the communities of Syria conserve and restore its urban heritage".

Professor Maamoun Abdulkarim said: "We welcome Edinburgh World Heritage’s offer of help.

"Syria’s heritage belongs to its people, and to the people of the world.

"I look forward to building closer ties with the people of Edinburgh in the future."

Edinburgh World Heritage is an independent charity with the aim of "ensuring the city’s World Heritage status is a positive force for good that benefits everyone."

This week, Professor Abdulkarim said that in the current "tragedy" of conflict in the country, more than 300 sites had been destroyed or severely harmed by the warfare.

He said that the most famous of these, the ruins of ancient city Palmyra, are 80% "good" despite being targeted for destruction by Islamic State (IS), and 400 statues and 1000 objects from the city are currently safe in Damascus.

The archaeologist said he had excellent relations with universities in London and elsewhere but added: "We need help from Scotland, from [elsewhere in] the UK, from France and Germany.

"We need the visit of scientists, to exchange with us scientific ideas, from Scotland's laboratories and museums, from UK, from Italy - sometimes they cannot come to Damascus, but perhaps we can meet in Beirut."