The meeting of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee is underway in Istanbul with participants discussing adding new heritage sites, as well as the protection of artifacts and historical sites in conflict zones, Daily Sabah reported. During Monday’s session, the committee discussed the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria, the monumental ruins of which were partially demolished. "The working conditions there are very difficult," said Mechthild Roessler, director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre. In the midst of a war, roughly 4,000 mines have been removed from the area, but there could be more hidden underneath the rubble. The UNESCO meeting will continue until July 20, with new cultural and natural heritage sites set to be announced between July 15 to July 17. Speaking on a panel at the summit, Culture and Tourism Minister Nabi Avcı outlined Turkey’s efforts against artifact smuggling from Syria. "The work of our security forces with the coordination of the Culture Ministry is promising to prevent the illegal transfer of cultural artifacts, Daily Sabah concluded.