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Looting and conflict
The ISIS Antiquities Pipeline
Destruction and theft of cultural antiquities are often linked to conflict. Since the outbreak of the civil war in Syria in 2011, looting has spiked to devastating levels. The so-called Islamic State (ISIS) has organized and regulated looting, using the plunder to help finance its operations.
Ancient city of Palmyra, Syria
In August of 2015, ISIS forces turned their cameras on, lined the pillars of the Temple of Baalshamin with explosives, and blew the nearly 2,000-year-old structure to pieces.
It’s one of the latest acts in a long list of systematic cultural degradations perpetrated by ISIS, proudly documented and put on social media for the world to see.
The conflict in Syria has seen incalculable atrocities-- public executions, beheadings, kidnappings, slavery, and the killing or displacement of civilians.
The region’s shared cultural heritage is just another victim of the conflict.

This story appears in the June 2016 issue of  National Geographic magazine.


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