Damascus Museum employees wrap archaeological artifacts into boxes to protect them from being damaged on March 24, 2015, in the Syrian capital.AFP PHOTO / JOSEPH EID
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As armed groups in Syria and Iraq destroy priceless archaeological sites, European authorities and dealers are on high alert for smaller, looted artifacts put on sale to help finance the jihadis' war.The objects included cylinder seals, Roman bottles and vases, although Marinello said it was unclear whether the items were still in Syria, were in transit or had arrived in the key markets of Europe and the United States.Concerns about looting during the Syrian war have increased following the advance of ISIS militants through parts of Syria and Iraq, and recent propaganda videos showing their destruction of ancient sites such as Nimrud.Stephane Thefo, who leads an Interpol unit dedicated to fighting the illegal trafficking of cultural goods, agreed that many items may disappear for years – but insisted that tackling the trade was the best way to combat looting.Interpol is currently building a database of stolen objects, and James Ede, a London dealer and IADAA board member, urged cultural bodies to share their information with dealers.
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