What is considered cultural property in Syria?
The cultural heritage in Syria includes movable and immovable antiquities, i.e. objects and monuments created over 200 years ago. The category of movable antiquities includes, for example, statues, coins or images, and immovable cultural property includes buildings such as sacred buildings, residential buildings and technical facilities, for example canals and dams, but also parts of landscapes shaped by humans such as caves with ancient drawings and inscriptions, as well as the ruins of ancient cities and settlement mounds containing the remains of buildings. Objects created less than 200 years ago can also be classified as cultural property by a ministerial decision due to their historical, artistic or national value. The Directorate General for Antiquities and Museums is responsible for the definition of ancient cultural property.
What are the export regulations?
For antiquities there is a general export ban. Temporary export is only possible for exhibition or research purposes. Due to the armed conflicts in Syria and the associated looting, the European Union is imposing a trade embargo on Syrian cultural property. The import, export and trade of objects from Syria are prohibited. This does not apply to items that are proven to have been exported from Syria before May 9, 2011.
What sanctions are there?
Prison sentences of 15 to 25 years may be served and fines ranging from 500,000 to 1,000,000 Syrian pounds may be imposed for the smuggling of antiquities. Imprisonment and fines for the destruction of antiquities, theft, illegally trading in antiquities, and carrying out illegal excavations are possible.