Damascus, SANA – Head of the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums, Mahmoud Hamoud, said that the Directorate is filing a file for stolen antiquities to be submitted to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Criminal Police Organization – INTERPOL with the aim of intensifying international cooperation and efforts to recover these ancient artifacts due to their significance as part of the international cultural and civilization heritage.
In a statement to SANA, Hamoud highlighted the Directorate’s efforts to remain in touch with international bodies and organizations concerned with cultural heritage protection to repatriate archaeological artifacts stolen and smuggled abroad by terrorist groups.
“ The news circulated recently by some media outlets about Jewish artifacts looted by terrorist groups from one of the world’s oldest synagogues in the Suburb of Jobar in Damascus and smuggled to Turkey then to the Israeli entity reveal the seriousness of the conspiracy and aggressive scheme targeting Syria and its civilization.” Hamoud said.
He added that after the liberation of Jobar neighborhood thanks to the heroism of Syrian Arab army, numerous archaeological artifacts have been discovered in houses’ basements and transferred to the National Museum of Damascus.
Hamoud pointed out that there are many reports about Syrian archaeological artifacts that have been stolen and smuggled to Jordan, adding that the Jordanian authorities have confiscated many of them.
On Sunday, Associated Press report revealed that Jewish artifacts, including ancient parchment torahs from one of the world’s oldest synagogues, have gone missing from the Syrian capital with some precious items to appear again in Turkey and Israel.
Activists say the artifacts, moved from Jobar Synagogue in Damascus’ eastern Ghouta suburb when it was under terrorist organizations control.
The main missing cache, they say, contained torahs written on gazelle leather as well as tapestries and chandeliers, and was given by the so-called “local council” to “Failaq al-Rahman” terrorist organization before they were defeated by the Syrian Arab Army.
Another set of objects appears to have been stolen in 2014 after it was given to one of the “ local council” members to hide the items in his home; this man disappeared with the artifacts. Some of the items that went missing have started surfacing now in Turkey.
R. Raslan/ Ghossoun