Business Week has posted an interesting article about the problem of looters in Syria. According to UNESCO, there are more endangered archaeological sites in Syria than anywhere else in the world.
“We feel bitter and sad — many sites have been destroyed before our eyes,” Mamoun Abdul-Karim, head of Syria’s Directorate-General of Antiquities and Museums, said in an interview from Damascus. “Clandestine excavations are most dangerous because they mean eternal death, while sites damaged by fighting can be restored.”
Abdul-Karim said his department stored artifacts in safe places to prevent a repeat of the pillaging that emptied the National Museum of Iraq of its Mesopotamian relics after the March 2003 war that toppled Saddam Hussein. He said that while antiquities officials have started local initiatives that include watch groups of tribal elders and civilians to protect sites, they’ve been confronted by gangs of heavily armed men and earth-moving equipment.
Story: Caroline Alexander & Donna Abu-Nasr, Business Week | Photo: Djilali Belaid/AFP via Getty Images