The head of UNESCO (United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization) warned today (September 16, 2015) that archaeological sites in Syria are being looted "on an industrial scale" and the proceeds from the plunder are funding Islamic State (IS) extremists, according to The Guardian website.
"Satellite imagery shows that archaeological sites in Syria are dotted by thousands of illegal excavations... that show there is looting on an industrial scale," Irina Bokova said in Sofia, Bulgaria.
She added, "The world expects from us to undertake decisive and uncompromising actions... to stop this source of funding for the extremists."
Syria is considered a cradle of human civilization and is home to some of the world's most precious monuments of antiquity, including six UNESCO world heritage sites. Unfortunately, in four and one-half years of civil war -- and with IS militants controlling large regions of the country -- the Association for the Protection of Syrian Archaeology (APSA) says that more than 900 monuments and archaeological sites have been looted, damaged or destroyed.