Syria's conflict takes toll on past treasures

17 Feb 2013 1:00 PM | Anonymous

Syria's conflict takes toll on past treasures

February 16, 2013 TAYLOR LUCK

Struggling to catch his breath, Abu Mohammed al-Dimashqi carefully lowers his dufflebag to the floor of a rebel safehouse in the Jordanian border city of Mafraq. Unlike the medicine and ammunition rounds smuggled across the Jordanian-Syrian border by his fellow rebel runners, the 35-year-old Syrian says he had just risked his life to deliver a far more "precious" cargo.

"This could have cost me my life," al-Darawi said as he lifted an intricate Roman stone mosaic from his bag. "And it would still be worth more." Al-Darawi is one of hundreds taking part in an allegedly growing trade in illicit Syrian artefacts, with experts warning of growing numbers of people seeking to cash in on the country's historical and cultural treasures, but for a variety of reasons.

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