>> After Islamic State captured, destroyed and looted Syria's desert town Palmyra, this nearly 2,000 year old stone carving of a high priest, was found abandoned in a modern house. It's now safe siting with hundreds of other stolen antiquities, recovered by the Syrian government, put on display in Damascus this week.
A reminder, says Reuters Angus McDowell, of the mass looting of Syria's heritage during the seven years of war.>> After Syria's civil war began in 2011, it, like neighboring Iraq, was looted, plundered by the various warring forces. And it's ancient objects illegally dug from the ground, stolen from museums, and then smuggled across the world.
The Islamic state group was one of the greatest culprits in this wholesale theft of Syrian culture. Jihadist used to destroy ancient monuments, particularly any that contained reference to the old Gods. They also were well practiced in taking items and then smuggling them overseas for their own financial benefit.
>> When the Syrian Army recaptured Palmyra last year they discovered many stolen objects hidden in houses, gardens, and public places around the city. As items were smuggled out of Syria during the war through neighboring countries many were discovered, particularly by Lebanon, who returned the relics to Syria. But some of them disappeared, presumably into the hands of specialist dealers.
Prepared to wait, even for decades, for the fast to die down so that they can sell them on.