The fighting in northern Mali could damage the World Heritage Site of Timbuktu, the UN’s cultural agency Unesco has warned.
Timbuktu’s “outstanding architectural wonders” must be safeguarded, it said.
Separatist Tuareg rebels joined forces with Islamist fighters to take the town on Sunday, and residents have told the BBC that Islamic law is being imposed.
The African Union has joined West African nations in imposing sanctions on Mali after a recent coup.
Meanwhile, representatives from the new military leadership are in Nigeria for talks with the authorities.
The military junta overthrew Mali’s government nearly two weeks ago, saying the campaign against the recent Tuareg rebellion had been poorly run. Read more.