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UNESCO: Syria Archaeological Sites Looted ‘on Industrial Scale’

The head of UNESCO warned that Archeological sites in Syria are being looted “on an industrial scale,” with proceeds being used to fund Islamic State extremist.

Irina Bokova the Director-General of UNESCO said, “Satellite imagery shows that archeological sites in Syria are dotted by thousands of illegal excavations… that show there is looting on an industrial scale,”

“Limiting the trafficking in cultural property is a top priority because it finances the actions of the extremists,” she told a news conference…The world expects from us to undertake decisive and uncompromising actions… to stop this source of funding for the extremists.”

The Association for the Protection of Syrian Archaeology (APSA) said that more than 900 monuments and archeological sites have been looted, damaged or destroyed In the past four years of war and with Islamic State controlling large swathes of the country,.

The jihadists have blown up several famed tower tombs at the UNESCO-listed world heritage site of Palmyra, which they captured in May, they murdered the also killed the head of antiquities in Palmyra, Khaled al-Assad, and hung his mutilated body in public.

Bokova described the destruction at Palmyra as  “an impudent crime against civilization because it was a symbol of cultural dialogue, a material proof of the ability of cultures to interact… This is what the extremists are seeking to destroy.”

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