Ministries working to retrieve smuggled Syrian artifacts

Ministries working to retrieve smuggled Syrian artifacts

Ministries working to retrieve smuggled Syrian artifacts

Türkiye’s defense, interior and culture and tourism ministries have started a joint effort to retrieve historical artifacts smuggled out of Syria by terrorists in the region, local media has said.

A large number of historical artifacts have been seized so far from smugglers who took advantage of the turmoil in Syria and terrorists organizing plans for them.

Within the scope of the works, the Defense Ministry has deployed Turkish soldiers in operation areas in Syria to protect the historical structures and archaeological remains destroyed by terrorists.

The structures taken under protection are being restored with the special support of the Culture and Tourism Ministry, which has contacted the International Council of Museums (ICOM) regarding the issue, according to the local media.

On the other hand, the Interior Ministry formed special units to capture historical artifacts smuggled from Syria.

Seized artifacts are recorded and stored under the name of “Syrian artifacts” by the General Directorate of Museums, with the note “to be returned to Syria in times of peace.”

After it came to light that groups taking advantage of the authority gap in Syria were financing terrorism through illegal excavations and cultural property smuggling, a debate sparked over the speculations that Türkiye did not display sensitivity in this regard and even turned a blind eye to these activities.

Russian Defense Ministry claimed earlier that Turkish-backed armed Syrian opposition factions excavate antiques in northern Syria, stressing that they do the excavation work “using modern and heavy equipment and explosives, causing severe damage to the sites of Syrian cultural heritage.”