Since 2011, the news about thousands killed and millions made homeless in Syria's civil war has saddened me. Now, more than 50,000 people have been killed, thousands more injured, imprisoned and tortured. Having personal contact with someone from that country makes the fighting and suffering in Syria all the more relevant to me. But the violence has also caused irreparable damage to some of the world's most precious historical sites.
The destruction of ancient treasures should concern everyone around the world.
Now, vicious fighting has wiped out part of Central Aleppo, a stunningly preserved medieval settlement, probably the finest example of its kind in the world. Aleppo is one of the oldest continuously occupied cities on the planet.
Heritage binds communities together. Like the heirlooms, photos and stories in a family home, it forms the base of shared memory. When the fighting ceases, the people will have to gather together what they have left and start again. And we will all be poorer with part of our earliest civilization destroyed.