Syria is going on a bit of a PR drive, with its photogenic British-born first lady, Asma al-Assad, as its lynchpin. A fawning profile in the March issue of American Vogue was to be followed by the forum, which Mrs al-Assad was due to host.

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Some of the most influential cultural figures in the world were due to gather in Damascus next month to discuss the importance of cultural heritage. The director general of Unesco, the director of the Louvre and the head of the British Museum were all planning to address the inaugural Cultural Landscapes Forum, organised by Syria’s first lady, Asma al-Assad. But following a week of protests in Syria, in which at least 60 people have been killed, the forum has been postponed. Perhaps though, it should never have been organised in the first place.

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