Art law Heritage News Syrian Arab Republic

Warning over Syrian loot

UK exporters told they could be breaking law by handling looted artefacts

Arts Council England has warned UK exporters about handling Syrian antiquities. In a letter to the trade sent last month, the government funding agency advised that new European Union regulations outlaw “the import, export or transfer of Syrian cultural property... where there are reasonable grounds to suspect that [objects] have been removed [from the country] illegally”.

The initiative is particularly aimed at safeguarding items from Syrian museums, archives, libraries and religious institutions. It does not affect items which came out of Syria before May 2011. The regulations represent part of the European sanctions against Syria’s Assad government.

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