According to Maamun Abdel Karim, statues, paintings, artifacts and ancient mosaics stolen from Syria have repeatedly been found on sale on the open market in the Turkish city of Gaziantep since the way for stolen in northern Syria ancient values lies through uncontrolled border with Turkey.
"We have appealed to the international community through different organizations so that they would make Turkey help us return these values to Syria. <…> Turkey has refused to cooperate with us," he said.
Lebanon is an opposite example:
"In this case, it is easier to operate, as the Lebanese government is cooperating with us, and transmits the data to Interpol. Most of the stolen items were returned from Lebanon."
The official called on the international community to help Syria not only in returning the values that had already been smuggled to Europe, North America and the Gulf states, but, what is the most important, in ensuring control over the Syrian borders.
The IS militants, controlling large areas across Syria and Iraq, have destroyed numerous ancient historical artifacts and various places of worship, including mosques in addition to Christian churches and other shrines.
In May 2015, the IS captured Syria’s ancient city of Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage site, sparking fears it will destroy its ruins.