Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Syrians Launch Campaign to Return Antiquities Stolen in Ongoing War

AlBawaba, 'Syrians Launch Campaign to Return Antiquities Stolen in Ongoing War', September 13th, 2017
Local officials in Syria’s Idlib province have launched a campaign aimed at retrieving Syrian antiquities smuggled abroad during the country’s six-year-long conflict. “The war has resulted in the disappearance or destruction of numerous Syrian antiquities and monuments,” Anas Zeidan, curator of the Idlib Museum, told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday. “We are now in the process of drawing up lists of pilfered antiquities before filing cases demanding their restoration with the relevant legal institutions, including UNESCO,” [...] As a direct result of the conflict, Zaidan said, Syria’s Idlib Museum, which includes numerous ancient artifacts, has stopped publishing information on its inventory “for security reasons”.
The depth of the hidden market will be revealed by the expected discrepancies between the numbers and identities of the inventorised objects known to have been stiolen, and those of the artefacts which have 'surfaced' (from underground) in the hands of dealing and buying scumbags. My bet is that for more than a decade or so, huge numbers of the displaced artefacts, the loss of which is known, will fail to turn up openly on the grey market. This will show what is happening also to the freshly-looted items arriving on the same maket, and simply being stockpiled for surreptitious monetising 'when the fuss has blown over'. Whether the prediction is fulfilled that the 'fuss will blow over' in the case of the trade in unpapered MENA artefacts of unknown origin depends on all of us who care about the past.

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