I noted before that conflict antiquities trafficking involves ‘petty theft as well as grand larceny, burglaries by fundraisers outside as well as plunder by combatants in the war zone’. Likewise, it’s important to note that it involves transport in meat trucks as well as shipment in private planes.
Illustrating its report with an archive image, An Nahar has reported that the Islamic State is ‘using some stores in Lebanon as a front for its smuggling of Syrian artifacts’.
Apparently, a Syrian Islamic State agent who was arrested in Baalbek in Lebanon on the 13th of April, Turki al-Falqoun has confessed to smuggling ‘narcotic pills [captagon(?)], rare artifacts, and large amounts of gold…. Explosives [too].’
Al-Falqoun imported the goods amongst meat that was shipped daily from (aiding and abetting) butchers in Homs and Hama to a butcher in Tripoli, who is a relative (identified as Gh. Gh.).
The simultaneous export of gold may reaffirm that antiquities trafficking is part of the Islamic State’s everyday extractive economy (though it may be simple currency instead of expropriated assets). At least Captagon is productive.