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

  • Irene Stachon / Lehtikuva / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: Wolf Moon, Snow Maze, Burning Barrel

    A murmuration of starlings over Rome, cosplay in a California desert, basking capybaras in Venezuela, ice climbing in Turkey, a violent volcanic eruption in the Tongan archipelago, and much more

  • Daniel Ochoa de Olza / AP

    Hurling Turnips at the Jarramplas

    Every January, the streets of Piornal, Spain, fill with residents armed with turnips, seeking to punish the devil-like Jarramplas.

  • © Hannah Le Leu / Ocean Art

    Winners of the 2021 Ocean Art Underwater Photo Contest

    Some of the top images from the 13 categories of underwater photography in this year’s competition

  • Ozkan Bilgin / Anadolu Agency / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Ice Disk, Snowy Owl, Giant Ichthyosaur

    Ducklings at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, a fish-operated vehicle in Israel, a whale off the California coast, the 2022 Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia, and much more