Dec 03, 2019 20:16 UTC
  •  Turkish-backed militants loot historical artifacts in northern Syria: SOHR

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) says Turkish-backed militants are plundering historical artifacts in Syria’s northwestern province of Aleppo and smuggling them over the border to sell in Turkey.

The Britain-based war monitor group, citing reliable sources requesting anonymity, reported on Tuesday that the militants have been systematically looting antiquities in the Afrin district, particularly in the city of al-Nabi Hori – also known as Korsh -- ever since Turkish military forces and their Syrian proxies launched an operation to push Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militants away from a “safe zone” along Syria's border with Turkey.

The SOHR highlighted that Turkish-affiliated militants, namely members of the so-called Soqoor al-Shamal terror group, have been carrying out indiscriminate excavations by heavy machinery in the area, seriously damaging cultural layers at numerous archaeological deposits.

The operations have also led to the destruction of fragile historical artifacts such as glassware, porcelain ware, pottery and mosaic paintings.

On November 6, 2019, a worker at an illegal excavation site posted on Facebook pictures of three mosaics and other artifacts.

“The publisher made no mention of the location of the paintings or the identity of people shown in the picture. The paintings, nevertheless, strongly indicated that they have been recovered from a mountainous site controlled by Turkish-backed militants.

“The fact was later corroborated after a number of people pressed the publisher to reveal the exact location of the findings, and he said they had been recovered in al-Nabi Hori,” the sources said.

He had to remove the Facebook post a few days later after a journalist tried to communicate with him to investigate the originality of the paintings.