Friday, 3 August 2012

Looting at Palmyra Indicated by Soldier’s Video?

Palmyra (Wikipedia)
There is a discussion in 'France 24' of a video of an amateur video published several days ago of men manhandling and possibly looting archaeological treasures. The video has been posted on PhDiva's blog, and Facebook but as I said earlier I was initially sceptical. The France 24 text however gives more information on its provenance and context.
The video was uploaded by Abdellah al-Tadmoury, the director of the opposition’s communications centre in Palmyra. Abroad, Palmyra is best known as being home to a 6-kilometre-square archaeological site with relics from the second century, listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site. Al-Tadmoury told us that, last week, a soldier deserting from the army gave him his phone’s memory card just before leaving town with some rebels from the Free Syrian Army. The man, he said, barely had the time to specify that his memory card contained images from his brigade in Palmyra. FRANCE 24 was given several of these videos. On one of these, a brigade from the regular army is shown patrolling the Palmyra archaeological site. Another video features the same group of armed soldiers breaking into a house. And then there was this video, where uniformed men manhandle what appear to be rare archaeological artefacts.
But are these artefacts they have dug up, or knocked off buildings, or are the soldiers looking through items in an archaeological storage area ("lapidarium") and if the latter are they doing so as tourists or takers?

Anon, 'Soldier’s video reignites fears of looting at Syria’s archaeological sites', France 24 - 31/07/2012

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