Thursday 23 October 2014

Source: "antiquities smuggled from Syria now form up to 50 percent of the European markets"

Here's an odd report from Moscow-based Russia Today:
"Free Syrian Army (FSA) soldier Abu Mustafa, as he called himself, illegally crossed the Lebanese border with relics he looted on the outskirts of Damascus, following fighting there. The rebels usually come at night, when it’s harder to catch them. Trading is done quickly and quietly. Mustafa says he [...] was planning to make nearly $3,000- $6,000 out of the relics - enough to return to Syria with a couple of Kalashnikovs, or even a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG), an anti-tank weapon system. [...] There are surely customers in this kind of venture. A man who asks to call him Abu Ghsein is an antiquity expert and a merchant, whose hobby is collecting antiquities. But the Syrian civil war, raging for its third year and so far claiming about 200,000 people, according to UN estimates, has changed his business. “I receive everyday four of five people from the Free Syrian Army and Al-Nusra Front to sell the relics to help the Free Syrian Army,” Abu Ghsein told RT. [...] “I receive merchants from Turkey, from Jordan, from the UK, France and also some Syrian merchants. And todays these antiquities smuggled from Syria now form up to 50 percent of the European markets,” he added".
Relics for rifles: Syrian rebels trade antique treasures for weapons RT October 23, 2014

VIDEO  Footage from the Lebanese-Syrian border of antiquities trading hands
note the large fake 'Syracuse dekas' in this film. What's going on?  Have they been added to a real haul of dugups to make it more photogenic? Or is the whole thing staged? But then again, Lebanon has long had the reputation as being a key area where fake ancient coins have been turned out and then passed off as dugups.

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