Monday, October 28, 2019

Funding ISIS by Looting Antiquities

This marble bas-relief, likely looted by Islamic State, was seized at Paris’s Roissy airport in March 2016 after arriving from North Lebanon. PHOTO: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Plundered antiquities from Syria were sold to ISIS and used by that terrorist organization to fund their fighting. The group looted ancient sites and also purchased ancient statues, jewelry and other precious artifacts stolen in Syria and Iraq. Experts say it may take decades for the stolen artifacts to surface.

“Once looted in Syria and Iraq, objects enter a gray market shrouded in secrecy,” said Michael Danti, an archaeologist who directs the Boston-based Cultural Heritage Initiatives and advises the U.S. State Department on the looting of antiquities in Syria. “It’s a problem that will stay with us for years to come.”

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