ISIS terrorists smashing ancient sites 'on an industrial scale' warn UNESCO
Source: The Mirror
DAMASCUS, Iraq: UNESCO has reported that cherished sites are being
ransacked by the Daash jihadists, with artifacts being destroyed or
sold off to private art collectors
ISIS has been ransacking ancient sites across Iraq and Syria, selling
off artifacts cherished by historians and archaeologists to fund their
regime of terror, UNESCO claim.
The ancient sites are being left with little or no cultural value,
according to The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization, as disturbing accounts of the terrorist group's actions
across the two countries tell of its "cultural cleansing".
The UN agency estimates that of the thousands of historical and
cultural sites across Iraq, a fifth are currently controlled by ISIS
UNESCO is claiming that the sites have been heavily looted, with ISIS
selling artifacts to middlemen who then approach private collectors
from around the world to sell on the cherished items.
Speaking at the Royal United Services Institute in London, UNESCO
chief Irina Bokova said: "This deliberate destruction is not only
continuing, it is happening on a systematic basis.
"The looting of archaeological sites and museums, in Iraq
particularly, has reached an industrial scale of destruction.
"[ISIS] knows there's a financial upside of this activity and they are
trying to gain from it.
"We know also that parties in the conflict are selling to certain
dealers and to private collectors and to market end buyers."
Her warning comes after ISIS militants were filmed destroying Syria’s
Roman city of Palmyra.
Photographs released by the terror organisation show a civilian being
forced to smash what look to be six priceless statues with a
sledgehammer while a crowd looks on.
Maamoun Abdelkarim, Syrian antiquities minister, said: "It's the most
serious crime they have committed against Palmyra's heritage."
Art dealer James Ede said in an interview with Sky News: "What's
happening in Syria is a complete catastrophe.
"The destruction of our common archaeological heritage is disastrous
and there are sites where we will no longer we able to visit which is
a cause of extreme sadness."
Mr Ede however denied that serious art collectors are involved in
inadvertently funding the group's campaign of terror in the region.
He added: "There is a slight feeling that in some way the trade is
colluding in the funding of [ISIS] by selling stolen antiquities and
this is absolutely not the case."
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