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Zionist Occupation Involved in Stealing Syrian Antiquities in Quneitra: Abdul Karim

Syria has recently complained to UNESCO over Israeli archeological digging operations in the village of Bir Ajam in al-Quneitra province. In response, UNESCO demanded an explanation from Israel about the content of the complaint, according to a report by al-Mayadeen TV website. 

In a statement to, Director-General of Syrian Antiquities and Museums (GDAM) Mamoun Abdul Karim stressed that Israel was certainly involved in stealing Syrian antiquities and facilitating their smuggling. He also affirmed that the Zionist occupation was obsessed with archeological digging to falsify History.

According to Abdul Karim, some areas in Syria's southern provinces of Daraa and Quneitra are under the control of Israeli-backed armed groups, specifically in Bir Ajam village. These armed groups has formed excavation teams affiliated to Israeli antiquities smugglers to loot, sabotage and smuggle the Syrian antiquities to be sold aborad.

"some areas have become open for thieves, thugs and antiquities mafia" said Abdul Karim, adding that the armed groups have played a direct role in stealing and sabotaging Syrian antiquities.

 The Israeli occupation authorities' colluding role was also evident in blocking any information about the illegal archeological digging and the looting of antiquities within the Syrian areas.   

The Syrian complaint to UNESCO, according to Abdul Karim, depended on testimonies of these areas' locals who provide the Syrian authorities with information about looting Syrian artifacts and smuggling them abroad.

Jordan, Turkey Cover Up Artifacts' Smuggling across Borders

 The GDAM Director General went on to say that Jordan and Turkey have also played an essential role in covering up artifacts smuggling operations across borders.

"Over the past five years, there have been complete absence of information about archeological digging activities and antiquities stealing operations carried out in Quneitra, Daraa and even in northern Syria because of Syria's severed relations with Jordan and Turkey and due to the Israeli collusion in this file," Abdul Karims said.

However, he added, "political differences must not hinder communication through UNESCO". He pointed out that Damascus has repeatedly urged, through UNESCO, Jordan, the Israel occupation and Turkey to present the images and data they have about the artifacts stolen and smuggled from Syria, but they haven't so far given any information in this regard.

He stressed that Damascus also called on the international organizations, the Interpol and the world mass media to follow up this issue, reminding of the Security Council resolution 2199 which criminalizes the looting, destruction and illegal trafficking of antiquities in Syria and Iraq.

Resolution No. 2199 was put under the Chapter VII of the UN Charter in order to urge adopting punitive measures against "Daesh" and "Jabhat al-Nusra" for their illegal trafficking in oil and antiquities stolen from Syria and Iarq, Abdul Karim said, hailing Lebanon's cooperation in combating illegal antiquities trafficking and in chasing antiquities smugglers and mafia which have been active during the crisis in Syria.

The Lebanese authorities has brought back a number of stolen Syrian artifacts to Syria during the past few years, Abdul-Karim pointed out.   

Israel is obsessed with digging for antiquities to falsify history and facts

On the aim of Israel's illegal archeological digging operations to steal the Syrian antiquities, Abdul Karim said Israel has been obsessed with antiquities excavations to falsify history and facts.

"The Israeli antiquities authorities are obsessed with falsifying facts and history to impose and prove certain narratives," Abdul Karim said, noting that all what Israel has presented in this connection is internationally rejected, particularly by UNESCO, because they are based on fallacies and void theories.

Heritage can't be politicized

The GDAM's Director General stressed that heritage can't be politicized because it is an international humanitarian heritage.

 Israel puts its theories before carrying out its digging operations and tries to prove these theories through imposing new situation by force, he said, pointing out that "Israel won't succeed in politicizing heritage for specific political goals,".

Hamda Mustafa