The civil war in Syria has unleashed looting on an epic scale there, and the rise of ISIS has only made the situation worse (and extended it to northern Iraq). After oil, looted antiquities are now the largest source of revenue for ISIS. The State has formulated a method for extracting antiquities, contacting dealers directly, and selling prestige objects to wealthy foreigners. So to those Western, Chinese, and Arab elites who are purchasing looted antiquities: know that you are scum who are contributing to the evisceration of an entire region’s cultural heritage and funding directly a “state” that regularly beheads people, executes individuals by throwing them from towers, and enslaves so-called apostates or captives it takes in battle.
We can only hope that the work of Syria’s Monuments Men – which is significantly more dangerous than the work done by WWII equivalents – bears fruit.