In Jordan, police have seized a hoard of antiquities believed to have been smuggled from Syria after a tip that an Arab national had been storing illegal artefacts in an apartment in the northern city of Ramtha. The JordanCustoms Department has reportedly foiled several small-scale attempts to smuggle artefacts into the Kingdom, but this is the largest single cache of Syrian artefacts seized in Jordan since the onset of the Syrian conflict in March 2011.
“We inspected the apartment early Saturday and found a large amount of artefacts that are illegal in the possession of a private individual,” Public Security Department Spokesperson Lt. Col. Mohammed Khatib told The Jordan Times. [...] A search for the artefacts’ owner is in progress, he said, expecting an arrest to be made by early Sunday. According to a second security source, the suspect is a Syrian national long suspected of running an antiquities smuggling ring from the border city of Ramtha, 90km north of Amman.The suspect, who hails from the southern Syrian city of Daraa, is a trafficking “middleman” who has been using his apartment for several months as a “transit point” for the growing number of stolen Syrian artefacts making their way across the Jordanian-Syrian border, according to the source.“The suspect is well-known dealer who helped move smuggled antiquities from the border region to Amman and the international market,” added the source, who is based near Ramtha and is familiar with the details of the case.