Asad al-Lat

This lion who watched over the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra for over 2000 years was the first thing ISIS militants destroyed. Now it lives on as the first 3D model uploaded to Wikicommons, freed for everyone.

Read more at Wikimedia.

Statement on Bassel Khartabil's Death

bassel in palmyra

Yesterday we received the devastating information that #NEWPALMYRA founder Bassel Khartabil was unlawfully executed by the Syrian regime. Needless to say, along with all of the international community whose lives he touched, we were shocked and saddened to learn of the outrageous, unwarranted, extrajudicial killing of our dear friend and collaborator.

Bassel worked tirelessly to share knowledge and culture for the advancement of the Syrian people. His projects were cultural prototypes; developing the near-future alpha versions of platforms catalyzing change in culture for the advancement of society, whether through software tools, community organization, or digital art. He founded the Aiki Lab hackerspace in Damascus, providing a vital community meeting place and educational space for youth interested in innovation. As the project lead for Creative Commons in Syria, he was instrumental in negotiating the terms of CC licensing throughout the Arab world. And of course, his prescient work in cultural heritage preservation laid the foundations for #NEWPALMYRA. His passion and efforts inspired a new community of coders and artists to take up his cause and further his legacy, and resulted in the offer of a research position in MIT Media Lab’s Center for Civic Media, his listing in Foreign Policy’s 2012 list of Top Global Thinkers, and the award of Index on Censorship's 2013 Digital Freedom Award.

Despite having many opportunities to flee the civil unrest in Syria, Bassel’s intense loyalty to his family, his wife Noura Ghazi Safadi, and his community compelled him to return to Damascus. He was taken from the streets in March of 2012 in a military arrest, and imprisoned in the infamous Adra camp with 7000 other political prisoners. His detention was ruled unlawful by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and condemned by international organizations such as Creative Commons, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Jimmy Wales Foundation. In October of 2015 he was moved to an undisclosed location, and we now know he was executed shortly thereafter.

Although our hearts break for our friend, we will redouble our efforts to further his vision of building a new future for Syrian culture upon its rich history through architecture, technology, art, and community. We ask for your help, collaboration, and continued support in keeping his legacy alive in the wake of this senseless and brutal tragedy.

To continue supporting Bassel's memory and work, Creative Commons has set up the Bassel Khartabil Memorial Fund, at the request of his family. Contributions to the fund will go towards projects, programs, and grants to individuals advancing collaboration, community building, and leadership development in the open communities of the Arab world. Please consider making a donation if you are able so we can continue this important work.

Barry Threw

More reflections on Bassel’s life and death:




  • 它是一項數位考古計劃:我們和網路協作社群合作,針對近日被ISIS徹底摧毀的帕米拉城蒐集資料、加以分析,在虛擬空間中加以重建,並將其數位模型與基本數據於公共領域分享。

  • 它是一項文化發展計劃:我們透過工作坊,連結藝術家、工程師、考古學家、建築師與不同專業工作者,一起考據探索、重建遺址,並鼓勵據以創造新的藝術作品。

  • 它是一項策展計劃:我們與世界各地博物館、展覽機構合作,透過展覽和活動分享敘利亞的文化資產,鼓勵人們透過建築的視角,展現文化與力量。



我們誠摯邀請你加入我們的行列:不論你是3D 工程師、考古學家、策展人、程式設計師、教育工作者、媒體工作者、研究者、維基人,你可以協助我們:


  • Your photos can be used to help remodel Palmyra!
  • Please include a text file with a description of your photos or 3d models.
  • Unless otherwise specified, by upload your photos or model to #NEWPALMYRA they will be placed under a CC0 license.


For questions, please email

Creative Commons License This work is released under CC0