Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

The claims were made in a letter to the United Nations from Russia’s UN representative, Vitaly Churkin, and published this week by the Russian state-funded news service RT.

Churkin’s letter claims that ISIS is using Turkish criminal networks and websites to sell the looted antiquities.

“It is a remarkable coincidence that the ambassador [Churkin] makes this claim just a week after UNESCO published figures from the IADAA showing $150-200m to be the value of the annual global legitimate market,” IADA spokesman Ivan Macquisten told ATG.

“Syrian antiquities make up 5-10% of the global market. How likely is it that the illicit market is worth ten times that? Where is the evidence?”

Macquisten added that the only primary-source documents from inside Syria mentioning any figures were captured in May 2015 by US Special Forces. “They put the figures at around $4m a year and that includes money from mineral and metal extraction,” Macquisten said.