The most recent and dangerous threat facing Syria’s antiquities comes from a very interesting source. Syrian rebels are beginning to loot antiquities in order to raise funds to support their fight against Assad.
The recent growth of the illicit trade in Syrian antiquities has been fostered by the efforts of Syrian rebels, who have been using metal detectors and pickaxes to unearth the treasures of their past.
According to rebel Jihad Abu Saoud, “Some days we are fighters; others we are archaeologists.” Recently, Saoud uncovered Sumerian-inscribed tablets, which are believed to be from the Bronze Age city of Elba.
The war, currently in its third year, has taken a dramatic toll on Syria’s cultural heritage. Historical sites including the 1,000-year-old city of Aleppo and Cruc des Chevaliers have been gravely harmed as they transformed into theaters of war.