Posts tagged ‘Tel Abyad’


Islamic State cultural racketeering: looting, smuggling, taxation of excavation and export?

Archaeologists Amr Al-Azm and Salam al-Kuntar and cultural policy specialist Brian Daniels have written an op-ed on ISIS’ antiquities sideline in the New York Times, in order to highlight the social benefits of Syria’s historic environment (which is even more powerfully highlighted by the Islamic State’s efforts to destroy the multicultural places under its control), and to raise awareness of the Syria Campaign-led push for a ban on trading in undocumented Syrian antiquities.

Al-Azm, al-Kuntar and Daniels have been training Syrian professionals and volunteers ‘to document and protect’ cultural property, including people who live and work in Islamic State territory. Through ‘extensive conversations’ during the training (in Turkey), they have gained insights into antiquities looting and smuggling in Syria. What have they found out?

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the Islamic State is profiting from looting, dealing and smuggling of antiquities from Syria and Iraq

The Syrian Heritage Task Force’s Prof. Salam Al Kuntar and Prof. Amr Al Azm (@alazmamr) have revealed to the Sunday Times that the Islamic State is ‘imposing a “tax” on looted antiquities‘ in Iraq and Syria. Its local ’emirs determine the tax rates and anyone refusing to pay is killed’.

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