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The Impact of ISIS Art Trafficking

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Caitlin Philippo

Center for Art Collections Ethics Graduate Assistant

Elizabeth Campbell

Director of the Center for Art Collection Ethics

Blog  •
Arc of Triumph, Syria. From

Arc of Triumph, Syria. From

The Syrian government recently put on display in Damascus some 500 objects that had been plundered during the country’s brutal civil war. ISIS has been the worst offender in the destruction of cultural heritage in Iraq and Syria, destroying artifacts and historic sites in territories of the short-lived caliphate, such as the monumental Arch of Triumph in the ancient city of Palmrya. They also beheaded 82-year-old Syrian archeologist Khaled al-Asaad, a world renowned expert who served as the city’s head of antiquities for forty years, after failing to extract information from him on rumored stores of hidden gold.