Magdy Samaan, Josie Ensor, 'Exclusive: Under the Russians' noses, looters continue to plunder treasures of Palmyra' Telegraph 3 October 2016
The ancient ruins of Palmyra are still being plundered by looters, under the watch of the Syrian and Russian forces that captured the city from Isil earlier this year, archaeologists claim. [...] members of the Association for the Protection of Syrian Archaeology (APSA) have told The Telegraph they have allowed the practice to continue in return for bribes. “The illegal excavations have flourished despite the change of the parties controlling Palmyra,” said Chiekhmous Ali, head of APSA, a group of Syrian archaeologists based in Strasbourg which has contacts inside the city. He added: “The antiquities trade in Palmyra continues to be conducted by the same looters, who have been able to deal with Isil, the regime and the Russians. They bribe some officers and soldiers to turn a blind eye.”Except the drone photos taken just after the capture of the city showed very few traces of looters' holes, nothing on the scale seen elsewhere in Syria (such as Apamea, Dura Europos - neither of which were done by ISIL). Activists cite the constant flow of antiquities out of the region through Turkey and Lebanon, and that they allegedly have 'records' showing this looting of 'statues, tiles and coins'has been taking place in the 'last six months'. Let us see it.