A team of Syrian archaeologists in Turkey received a box in January that could have been meant for a detective agency: It contained small bottles, brushes, a sprayer and an ultraviolet light. Inside the bottles was a traceable liquid that the team hopes will deter looters from targeting Syrian artifacts, or help authorities track the artifacts if they disappear—cutting off a reported source of revenue for ISIS.
A month later, the archaeologists smuggled the box across the Syrian border and brought it to a museum in Ma’ara, where they used brushes to apply the liquid to treasured mosaics.For years, cultural heritage experts and government officials around the world have warned that ISIS is profiting from the looting and trafficking of antiquities from the regions it controls.
While the militant group has destroyed certain sites and artifacts, such as in Mosul, Iraq and Palmyra, Syria, it also provides licenses and oversees looting elsewhere. The profits from that operation help fund the group’s attacks, according to reports.
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