Posts tagged ‘Al-Nusra Front’


ISIS and the missing treasures, the missing treasures and ISIS?

Last year, Simon Cox led a team who investigated ISIS: Looting for Terror for the BBC (File on 4). Since then, he has led a team who have investigated ISIS and the Missing Treasures for Channel 4 (Dispatches). On both occasions, they have done solid investigative work and secured new evidence of antiquities trafficking. My queries do not detract from that work.

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Civilians may have been kidnapped and exchanged for arrested paramilitary antiquities looters in Syria

In a scary (and strange) turn of events, civilians from Afrin/Efrin Рa town and canton in Rojava, the autonomous region of Western Kurdistan (Rojavayê Kurdistanê) in north-western Syria Рappear to have been kidnapped and released in return for paramilitary antiquities looters [or, rather, antiquities-looting paramilitaries].

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Conflict antiquities from Apamea do not finance the Islamic State – they finance the Assad regime

Despite the headline, the Times has not presented any evidence of Islamic State-looted antiquities on eBay.

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State arms-for-antiquities trafficking between Turkey and Syria?

Consolidating my attempt to piece together evidence of terrorist antiquities trading and state arms smuggling between Syria and Turkey (with testimony of antiquities trafficking by air), there is new evidence that a Turkish intelligence agent not only smuggled weapons from Turkey into Syria, but also smuggled antiquities from Syria into Turkey.

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UNSC Monitoring Team recommendation: moratorium on trade in undocumented antiquities from Syria or Iraq

Peter Campbell (@peterbcampbell) has broken the news that, in a Letter (1) to the Chair of the United Nations Security Council Committee on Al-Qaida and Associated Individuals and Entities, the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team has recommended ‘a world-wide moratorium on the trading of antiquities from the Syrian Arab Republic or Iraq since the passing of resolution 2170 (2014) that lack clear, certified provenance‘.

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Who destroyed the Armenian Genocide Martyrs’ Memorial Church in Deir Ezzor?

Hyperallergic have published my fisking of, well, Fisk. ‘Fifty days after the destruction of the Armenian Genocide Martyrs’ Memorial Church in Deir Ezzor, Robert Fisk has reported it, but his report is riddled with peculiarities, mistakes, contradictions and historical inconsistencies….’

The centrepiece of Fisk’s report is his apparent scoop that the al-Nusra Front, ‘Jabhat al-Nusra [JaN] rebels appear to have been the culprits‘. Drawing on my initial verification and reaffirmation of the attack, and further research into the circumstances at the time of the attack, I conclude that it is ‘possible, and intriguing, that the agents who implemented the attack may have been subjugated former Jabhat al-Nusra fighters who served under the flag of the Islamic State’.


There is a lot wrong with Robert Fisk’s report on the destruction of the Armenian Genocide Martyrs’ Memorial Church

There is a lot wrong with Robert Fisk’s seven-week-late report that Jabhat al-Nusra blows up Armenian church in Deir el-Zour: A savage blow that echoes through Armenian history, including the date of the commemoration of the genocide and contradictions between his story this year and his story last year, grimly concerning his digging up of genocide victims’ bones (despite their delivery to the memorial church). Even the central point of the article – Jabhat al-Nusra’s responsibility – does not appear to be correct. I’m working on a complete report.


Syria: antiquities-for-arms trade – Sky News interview

Yesterday, Sky News invited me to give a live television interview (at lunchtime today) on the illicit trade in Syrian antiquities, which was nice but a bit daunting, as I’m inarticulate at the best of times and even worse around strangers or in public. In the end, they got someone from the World Monuments Fund (WMF) to take part in a piece on the trade in (and market for) conflict antiquities from Syria – how they’re traded, who they’re bought by, etc. (so it should be good and you might catch it now or in a repeat later today).

Still, to refresh my dangerously poor memory, I’d gone back over my posts on the funding of regime and rebels through looting and smuggling, the Syrian-Lebanese antiquities-for-arms trade, and the “men with gunsin the antiquities-for-arms trade, and summarised what (I think) we know so far; and this is it.

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Syria: ‘Men With Guns’ in the antiquities-for-arms trade

This is just a note on the “Free Syrian Army” (or Free Syrian Armies, or Men With Guns) and the discussion of which armed groups were involved in the Syrian-Lebanese antiquities-for-arms trade.

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