A picture shows carved detail from a stolen Iraqi antiquity recovered by Lebanese customs officials in Shtora in the Bekaa valley of eastern Lebanon on October 29, 2008. (/AFP/Getty Images)
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Trafficked archaeological objects intercepted by security forces have filled warehouses in Beirut as conflicts in Syria and Iraq have raged on. Now those same storage rooms lie empty as Lebanon became the first country in the region to repatriate the looted artifacts to their countries of origin.According to the Lebanese Directorate General of Antiquities, security forces seized over 300 objects between 2012 and 2014 alone.Lebanon has so far been the only country in the region to repatriate looted archaeological objects from Syria and Iraq.In a statement sent to The Daily Star, INTERPOL recognized Lebanon's efforts in the global fight against the trafficking of archaeological artifacts in line with U.N. Security Council Resolution 2199/2015 .According to Saad, the number of cases of trafficked objects dealt with by the bureau increased significantly following the onset of the Syrian conflict, going from a maximum of one case per year up to 25 cases annually.In 2015, the United States also repatriated looted artifacts, sending more than 60 artifacts back to Iraq. At present, Iraq is still trying to retrieve a large portion of the 15,000 objects looted following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
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