Saturday, August 04, 2012

Looting at Palmyra Indicated by Soldier’s Video?

There is a dis­cus­sion in 'France 24' of a video of an ama­teur video pub­lished sev­er­al days ago of men man­han­dling and pos­si­bly loot­ing archae­o­log­i­cal trea­sures. The video has been post­ed on PhDi­va's blog, and Face­book but as I said ear­li­er I was ini­tial­ly scep­ti­cal. The France 24 text how­ev­er gives more infor­ma­tion on its prove­nance and con­text. 
The video was uploaded by Abdel­lah al-Tadmoury, the direc­tor of the oppo­si­tion's com­mu­ni­ca­tions cen­tre in Palmyra. Abroad, Palmyra is best knownas being home to a 6-kilometre-square archae­o­log­i­cal site with relics from the sec­ond cen­tu­ry, list­ed by UNESCO as a world her­itage site. Al-Tadmoury told us that, last week, a sol­dier desert­ing from the army gave him his phone's mem­o­ry card just before leav­ing town with some rebels from the Free Syr­i­an Army. The man, he said, bare­ly had the time to spec­i­fy that his mem­o­ry card con­tained images from his brigade in Palmyra. FRANCE 24 was given sev­er­al of these videos. On one of these, a brigade from the reg­u­lar army is shown patrolling the Palmyra archae­o­log­i­cal site. Anoth­er video fea­tures the same group of armed sol­diers break­ing into a house. And then there was this video, where uni­formed men man­han­dle what appear to be rare archae­o­log­i­cal arte­facts.