Posts tagged ‘Free Syrian Army’

April 28, 2016

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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February 17, 2016

I am not there. I have not said that. I could not say that. I do not know that.

I appreciate that this information is being circulated by someone who is trying to secure funding for research and analysis in which I would be involved. And I appreciate that this information might be characterised as a derivation of things that I have said. However, I cannot accept its circulation, especially as it affiliates me with a different university and it claims that I am performing work outside my current contract, for which I would need a visa that I do not have. I do not know amongst whom it is being circulated.

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April 13, 2015

The inexact science of exact numbers: does anyone know how many archaeological sites have been looted in Syria?

I’m still working on some of the posts that I’d planned to publish before this one, but I’m not going to hold it back any longer.

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March 18, 2015

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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March 12, 2015

Was most of the looting at the most extensively looted site in Syria conducted under the Islamic State or the Free Syrian Army?

A few months ago, I pieced together a sample of satellite image data from the the Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights Project (1) with historical data on antiquities looting and the development of the Syrian civil war (2), in order to work out under which (para)military authorities the looting had taken place. I found evidence of ‘looting within regime and rebel territories as well as under jihadist rule’. There’s been further discussion of the project’s meticulous and much-needed work. As Sarah Parcak has said (separately), you ‘cannot argue w[ith] sat[ellite] data’.

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December 18, 2014

Antiquities looting under regime, rebels and jihadists in Syria

Assisted by researchers at the Penn Cultural Heritage Center (at Pennsylvania Museum) and the Smithsonian Institution, the Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights Project (of the Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)) has conducted satellite image analysis of Syria’s twelve tentative (nominated) UNESCO World Heritage sites.

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August 18, 2014

The lure of antiquities in the New York Times and the trap of poor evidence in war zones

The New York Times has explored the lure of antiquities. I don’t want the evidence to be misunderstood.

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August 17, 2014

Khums: an un-Islamic tax for an Islamic antiquities market?

Before I say anything else, I want to reaffirm that it’s very difficult to get good evidence – some evidence is unreliable, some evidence is false – but it’s still very clear: everybody’s involved somehowAssadist forces, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) (the secularist, democratic men-with-guns), Islamist/jihadist militias, seemingly even foreign militaries (as well as, of course, non-combatant mafias). The only armed groups for whom I’ve seen no evidence are the Kurdish defence forces.

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May 18, 2013

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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May 15, 2013

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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