The Looting of Syria's Archaeological Treasures

In contested areas of Syria, thousands of archaeological sites are being systematically looted by unknown parties, the treasures sold off, disappearing into the black market. ISIS has infamously looted and destroyed a number of sites over the past few years—but they are not alone. A recent study in the journal Near Eastern Archaeology analyzed satellite imagery and found that significant looting took place in territory controlled by ISIS, the Syrian government, Kurdish forces, and other opposition groups, nearly equally. Below, a close look at one hard-hit site, Apamea, a city founded in 300 B.C. According to the study, the looting in Apamea appears to have taken place while it was occupied by Syrian regime forces. The final four images in this series are interactive—click on them to view a transition, showing the difference a few years can make.

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