Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Parzinger Accuses Assad Regime Looters?

The Guardian announces: 'Syrian troops looting ancient city Palmyra, says archaeologist', ("Cultural heritage expert claims off-duty regime soldiers have been carrying out illegal excavations at Unesco site") Wednesday 1 June 2016, this comes from Agence France-Presse in Berlin, while a French media source carries this story: 'Syrian regime troops looting Palmyra: German expert', France 24 01 June 2016
A leading German cultural heritage expert on Wednesday charged that Syrian regime troops are looting the ancient city of Palmyra like the Islamic State jihadists who controlled it until March.
Well, except the lack of rashes of looting pits as at Apamea and Dura Europs rather suggests does it not, that ISIS was NOT looting Palmyra to the degree the US propaganda made out.
Archaeologist Hermann Parzinger, head of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, was speaking on the eve of a two-day Berlin conference on ways to protect heritage sites in war-ravaged Syria. Speaking to media, Parzinger said that Syrian troops, when they are off-duty, "are conducting illegal excavations" and "have looted" at the UNESCO World Heritage site. [...] Despite the liberation, "we shouldn't act like everything is alright now," said Parzinger, the former head of the German Archaeological Institute. He said retaking Palmyra was "an important victory for culture," writing earlier in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily. "But this victory has not made Assad and his backers the saviours of cultural heritage," he added. "Assad's soldiers too plundered the ruins of Palmyra before the IS takeover, and their rockets and grenades indiscriminately pounded the antique columns and walls when this promised even the slightest military advantage."
Here is the German text:
 Natürlich war die syrisch-russische Befreiung Palmyras von den Schergen des IS ein wichtiger Sieg für die Kultur; doch dieser Sieg macht Assad und seine Helfershelfer noch lange nicht zu Rettern des kulturellen Erbes. Auch Assads Soldaten plünderten vor der Einnahme durch den IS in den Ruinen von Palmyra, und ihre Raketen und Granaten schlugen schonungslos in antiken Säulen und Mauern ein, wenn auch nur die geringste Aussicht auf minimalen militärischen Vorteil bestand.
So, in fact Parzinger is not accusing Assad's squaddies of looting now, but then (which I think most of us agree probably did happen).  In fact, as  Michael Press has pointed out, "pretty much all groups involved in Syrian war have engaged in looting and/or destruction of antiquities".

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