Archaeological loss estimated at $2bn

Museums in Syria ‘severely damaged’ by smugglers

GMT 16:39 2013 Monday ,11 March

Arab Today, arab today Museums in Syria ‘severely damaged’ by smugglers

UNESCO says it is concerned about 6 World Heritage sites in Syria
Damascus - George Al Shami

UNESCO says it is concerned about 6 World Heritage sites in Syria Twelve out of 38 Museums in Syria have been “severely damaged” due smuggling, theft and vandalism, the local media has reported. According to the BBC, nearly $2bn worth of archaeological artefacts have been stolen, damaged or destroyed in museums located across the country, especially from hotspots such as Aleppo and Homs.
Many of the prized artefacts are believed to have been smuggled out the country and sold to collectors and institutions in neighbouring countries.
Last January, the Jordanian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Nayef Al Fayez, said that the “Jordanian border with Syria has witnessed a large number of antiquities being smuggled from Syria”, stressing that Jordanian authorities acted quickly in seizing the artefacts to be returned to Syria when “peace” is restored.
“Jordan has played a big role in protecting Syrian monuments in artefacts, and has managed to prevent much of the smuggling that has taken place since the conflict began,” said Al Fayez.
Meanwhile, Lebanon’s Culture Minister, Laana Moshawah, said that 18 archaeological mosaic paintings were stolen from the northeast of Syria, admitting that these artefacts are “near the border with Lebanon.”
Many archaeological sites have been exposed to looting since the beginning of the Syrian crisis in 2011. The UN agency UNESCO recently said it is concerned about the fate of six world heritage sites, located in Damascus, Aleppo and Bosra.

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