UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova: "Proceeds from artifacts plundered in the middle east and sold to western moneybags are used to finance terrorism"

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova gave details on a source of financing for terrorists of the Islamic State. In her words, Syrian heritage is now being looted on a massive scale, and it is done on demand of “moneybags from Western countries”, who are ready to pay vast sums of money for antiquities to add to their private collections.

Mrs. Bokova states that a sheer number of artifacts from the Middle East are now circulating on the black market, and the proceeds from their sale, according to UNESCO Director-General, are channeled to finance radical Islamists. In particular, these funds are used to buy weapons and personal equipment for ISIS militants.

For UNESCO, the prevention of trafficking in antiquities from Syria has become “a number one priority”.

UNESCO Irina Bokova