Syria says must be part of fight against antiquities theft

23 Feb 2015 1:15 PM | Anonymous

Syria says must be part of fight against antiquities theft 

By Laila Bassam and Tom Perry

(Reuters) - The world will have to cooperate with Syria to halt the trade in looted antiquities that helps fund jihadist groups, Syria's culture minister said, putting the onus on Turkey to stop the smuggling across their shared frontier.

Culture minister Issam Khalil said a U.N. Security Council resolution that aims to stop groups including Islamic State from benefiting from the illicit antiquities trade would not be effective without the help of Damascus, a pariah to many Arab and Western states since Syria's war erupted in 2011.

"We have the conclusive documents and evidence to prove our ownership of these antiquities and we also have the will and readiness to cooperate with any serious effort to prevent smuggling of Syrian antiquities abroad," Khalil said in a recent interview at his office in Damascus.