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Russian Diplomat: ISIS Making $200 Million Selling Stolen Artifacts on eBay

Russian Diplomat: ISIS Making $200 Million Selling Stolen Artifacts on eBay
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By    |   Thursday, 07 April 2016 05:11 PM

The Islamic State is making $200 million a year by selling stolen artifacts throughout the Middle East on eBay and other online auction sites, Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said.

"The profit derived by the Islamists from the illicit trade in antiquities and archaeological treasures is estimated at U.S. $150 million to $200 million per year," he said in a letter to the U.N. Security Council, Reuters reports.

The document was made public on Wednesday, The Russian Times reports.

ISIS controls as many as 4,500 archaeological sites in Iraq and Syria — and nine of them are on the UNESCO World Heritage List, Churkin said.

The antiquities are then sold worldwide via underground markets in Turkey and Europe, he said.

In southern Turkey, the city of Gaziantep is a major trade hub, Churkin said:

"Antiquities from Syria and Iraq are exported by the extremists mostly through the territory of Turkey," he said. "The main center for the smuggling of cultural heritage items is the Turkish city of Gaziantep, where the stolen goods are sold at illegal auctions and then through a network of antique shops and at the local market, Bakırcılar Çarşısi (Eski Saray Street, Şekeroğlu district).

"Smuggled artifacts (jewelry, coins, etc.) then arrive in the Turkish cities of Izmir, Mersin and Antalya, where representatives of international criminal groups produce fake documents on the origin of the antiquities," Churkin said.

ISIS also has a special unit for handling the stolen goods that is headed by Abu Sayyaf al-Iraqi, which is included in the Ministry of Natural Resources the terror group established as part of its caliphate government, the ambassador said.

Throughout its expansion in the region, the Islamic State has upended historically and culturally significant sites, damaging or destroying antiques considered offensive to Islam, The Washington Times reports.

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The Islamic State is making $200 million a year by selling stolen artifacts throughout the Middle East on eBay and other online auction sites, Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said.
isis, is, ebay, auction, stolen, artifacts
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2016-11-07
Thursday, 07 April 2016 05:11 PM
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