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Last month, UNESCO celebrated the Lebanon launch of their #Unite4Heritage campaign, a drive to help protect cultural heritage in the region from looting and destruction by violent extremist groups. Lebanese officials, diplomats and civil society representatives gathered in Tyre at the Bass world heritage site on April 17 to show solidarity in the face of threats to archaeological sites and antiquities in Syria and Iraq. The initiative is also intended to raise awareness of smuggling outfits in Syria and Iraq who transport valuable stolen objects through Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan.Lt. Col. Nicholas Saad, head of Lebanon's Bureau of International Theft, told The Daily Star in March that Lebanon and Turkey remain the most favored routes for smugglers hoping to export objects from Syria and Iraq to Europe or the U.S., adding that in four years police have seized over 1,000 objects, despite having only a one in 10 chance of intercepting smuggled items, which are often secreted in the belongings of refugees entering the country.Afeiche is the woman called out to assess items stopped by customs officials and determine whether or not they should be confiscated. She and her team from Lebanon's Directorate General of Antiquities work closely with the Iraqi and Syrian DGAs, she said. To find out more about how you can help raise awareness about antiquities smuggling, please visit www.unite4heritage.org.
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