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ISIS war on history tourism

How ISIS makes money: Selling Syria's antiquities to the West

Mar 31, 2016

Antiquities, tourism and terrorism is very much connected. The ISIS war against world tourism includes the destructions of non-replaceable antiquities.

A new trove of documents, obtained by an RT Documentary crew who recently uncovered details of illicit ISIS oil business with Turkey, sheds light on jihadists’ lucrative trade of looted antiquities along their well-established oil and weapons transit routes.


There is no official accounting that would illustrate the true scale of looting being undertaken in Syria, a land once rich with cultural treasures. UNWTO among many other organizations had shown their discussed on ISIS destroying history in Syria.

However, there is no doubt that since radical Islamists established a foothold in the region under raging civil war, pieces of the world’s global heritage have ended up in the hands of terrorists.

Along with oil smuggling, a lucrative trade in antiquities has become ISIS’s source of income to support its devastating operations, many of which leveled unique historic sites such as Palmyra. Artifacts, some worth thousands of dollars apiece, have been turning up in antique markets from eastern Europe to the US.

How ISIS makes money:  Selling Syria's antiquities to the West

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