Dec 10, 2018 14:21 UTC
  • Official: US, France looting artifacts in northern Syria

A senior Syrian official says the US and France are carrying out illegal excavations in ancient sites in northern Syria with the help of Kurdish militants.

Much of the digging work is conducted on the Um al-Sarj mountain near Manbij, head of Syria's Directorate-General for Museums and Antiquities Mahmoud Hammoud told SANA news agency Sunday. 

Manbij is controlled by Kurdish militants who are heavily armed and supported by US and French troops illegally deployed to northern Syria.

According to SANA, the Um al-Sarj mountain in the northern countryside of Aleppo is rich in artifacts. US troops and their allies, it said, are carrying out similar excavations in the ancient souk of Manbij.

"The excavations, looting and robbery are also taking place in the archaeological tombs in the eastern side of Manbij," he said. 

Hammoud said the diggings are a criminal act and a violation of the Syrian sovereignty. His department, he said, is contacting international organizations to condemn the looting of Syria's cultural heritage.

"We hope that the Syrian army would return peace and security to all those areas soon because it's the only force capable of protecting our heritage," the official said.

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