Syrian authorities seize 6,000 looted antiquities
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Syrian authorities seize 6,000 looted antiquities

Some artifacts retrieved from Lebanon; thousands of works smuggled out since war began in March 2011

Damascus Museum employees wrap archaeological artifacts into boxes to protect them from being damaged on March 24, 2015, in the Syrian capital. Workers at Syria's National Museum of Damascus carefully wrap statues and place them in boxes to be transported to a safe place, hoping to save the priceless pieces from theft or destruction (photo credit: AFP PHOTO / JOSEPH EID)
Damascus Museum employees wrap archaeological artifacts into boxes to protect them from being damaged on March 24, 2015, in the Syrian capital. Workers at Syria's National Museum of Damascus carefully wrap statues and place them in boxes to be transported to a safe place, hoping to save the priceless pieces from theft or destruction (photo credit: AFP PHOTO / JOSEPH EID)

Syria’s state news agency quoted an archaeology official as saying that authorities have confiscated and reclaimed 6,000 looted antiquities trafficked by smugglers outside the country.

The head of the General Directorate of Antiquities and Museums, Ahmad Deeb, said Friday that the materials include 69 antiquities and eight mosaics that were retrieved from Lebanon.

Thousands of antiquities have been looted or smuggled outside Syria since its crisis began in March 2011.

In December, UNESCO called on the United Nations to curb multi-billion dollar artifact trafficking from Syria and Iraq, where Islamic State group terrorists destroyed archaeological sites.

Deeb said Friday that authorities have closed some museums after taking antiquities to safe areas for fear they might be looted or destroyed.

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