Looted Syrian art appears in British museums

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Apello in Syria, Saadallah after the explosion

Close to 100 artworks and artefacts looted from Syria by extremist group Daesh have been smuggled into the United Kingdom, finding their way into public institutions and museums. The sale of valuable art and artefacts looted from important cultural heritage sights in Syria is an important source of income for terrorist organisations.

The items in question include silver and gold Byzantine coins, in addition to Roman pottery and glass worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. A spokesperson for Britain’s Metropolitan Police told The Times that “four live investigations, all of which require liaison with foreign jurisdictions” are currently underway, but that no arrests have been made.

Worryingly, some such items appear to be on display in UK museums and galleries. David Gill, professor of archeological heritage at Suffolk University, visited several unnamed London galleries and institutions in search of looted artefacts. The professor told BBC Radio 4: “We went into one gallery and were chatting about a piece and the person quite openly said, “We just got this out of Syria,” adding, “it’s quite open in that sense.”

 

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

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