Syria’s Antiquities Chief Maamoun Abdulkarim accuses Turkey of refusing to return seized antiquities looted in Syria. Abdulkarim claims that the artifacts amount to a total of 2,000 objects illegally excavated from sites, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Palmyra and the older site of Mari. The two countries have opposed each other since the civil war in Syria started in 2011, with Turkey supporting armed rebel groups fighting against President Assad’s regime. An official from Turkey has recognized that antiquities have been seized by Turkish border patrol, but says that they must remain in custody because of the country’s laws prohibiting the declaration of such property. The issue shows the real damage caused by black market antiquities trafficking and its connection to larger problems in this war.
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Photo: Bust of a Woman from Palmyra on display in the Vatican Museum./ElissaSCA