1 Dec 2017 12:29

Russian border guards seize cultural artefacts stolen by terrorists in Syria - envoy to UN Nebenzya

NEW YORK (UN). Dec 1 (Interfax) - Russian border guards have seized valuable cultural and historical artefacts that were stolen from terrorist-held territory in Syria, Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya said.

"Terrorists and criminal groups affiliated with them used all existing loopholes to send valuable cultural artefacts abroad. For example, Russian border-control authorities managed to confiscate Ottoman-era encaustic tiles and other Syrian artefacts that had been stolen from territory controlled by ISIL [banned in Russia]," Nebenzya said in the UN Security Council.

Otherwise, these items of Syria's cultural heritage "would have illegally ended up in the hands of private collectors," he said.

According to the information available to Russia, such items are sold mainly through anonymous dealers, he said. Instances of their illegal purchase via the Internet have also been recorded.

"Unfortunately, it is difficult to monitor such deals, primarily because of problems with identifying smuggled artefacts," Nebenzya said.