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.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Luis Robayo / AFP / Getty

    Fleeing Venezuela’s Crushing Economic Crisis

    Hyperinflation, rationing, shortages of power, water, and medicine, low wages, lack of jobs, and years of a worsening crisis have driven hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans to leave their ailing country behind.

  • Libor Hajsky / Reuters

    Photos: 50 Years Since a Soviet Invasion Ended the Prague Spring

    In August 1968, the Soviet Union sent 2,000 tanks and thousands of Warsaw Pact troops into Czechoslovakia to seize control and put down its growing pro-democratic government.

  • Robert F. Bukaty / AP

    Photos of the Week: Sun Biter, Solar Probe, Belgian Bovines

    Flowers carpet Brussels, a farewell is bid to Aretha Franklin, abandoned share bikes find homes in Germany, a cardboard Viking church collapses in Liverpool, a bridge collapses in Italy, and much more.

  • Walter Iooss. Jr. / Getty

    Photos: The Queen of Soul's Amazing Career

    A collection of images of Aretha Franklin’s incredible life of performance, spanning the past five decades.