Syria has a long and rich history of shadow puppetry but modern technology and seven years of war has seen the art form suffer from serious decline, the UN’s cultural body has warned.
Last week, the ancient form of storytelling was added to Unesco’s list of cultural activities in urgent need of saving.
And no-one was more pleased by the move than Shadi al-Hallaq, the only shadow puppeteer left in Damascus. He hopes that international recognition from the UN will revive the art.
“When they rang to congratulate me, it was like a day dream,” the 43-year-old puppeteer told AFP news agency.
“There’s no-one in Syria who masters the art except me.”