The Syrian authorities have seized a collection of antiquities in the city of Al-Rastan as they continue clearing Homs Province, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reports. According to the outlet, the terrorists had prepared to smuggle the stolen artifacts abroad and kept them in a local house, but law enforcement was tipped off.
The ancient items were reportedly to be handed over to the Homs Antiquities Department. The outlet cites an official from the Homs Museum of Baba al-Ali, saying that the collection of 100 items contains several medium-sized jars as well as a large storage container, an ancient lion sculpture, a bronze statue, stone pots, ceramics, ancient imprints, including a piece with a pharaoh’s inscription and an item dating back to the Ottoman Era. Al-Ali pointed out that the findings include a collection of Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic coins.
Over past few years, terrorist organisations are said to have looted and smuggled thousands of artifacts out of Syria, which was plunged into civil war in 2011, and damaged historical sites and cultural heritage monuments. Hundreds of antiquities have been discovered in neighbouring countries, namely Turkey and Jordan. The authorities, however, have managed to disrupt dozens of attempts to smuggle the treasures out of the country.
Last year, police officers prevented items related to the Roman Era from being smuggled into Jordan from the province of Daraa, housing, among others, the ancient town of Bosra with a Roman amphitheatre. The cargo included Roman columns with an ornament, pieces of basalt sculptures and copper and glass bottles.
*Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.