Syria official warns of trafficking in antiquities

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Associated Press

Posted on February 13, 2013 at 4:32 AM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 13 at 5:00 AM

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Syria's antiquities chief is warning of rampant trafficking in artifacts from his country and appealing for U.N. help in halting the illicit trade that flourished during the nearly 23-month-long civil war.

Maamoun Abdulkarim says he would like for the Security Council to issue a resolution that would "ban trade" in stolen antiquities from Syria. He cites steps taken by the U.N. to protect Iraq's cultural heritage as an example.

Abdulkarim says Syria's cultural heritage must be preserved without taking political sides in the conflict.

He spoke Wednesday at a UNESCO-sponsored workshop in Amman, Jordan. The gathering brought together regional antiquities directors, customs and police officials, as well as international protection agencies.

Abdulkarim praised Jordanian police for seizing smuggled Syrian artifacts and called on other neighboring countries to tighten controls.

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