ISIS earns $100 million per year from stolen antiques obtained from Iraq and Syria
Most of these rare objects are sold on the black market, writes The Wall Street Journal.
Meanwhile, other sources estimate the annual earnings to several tens of millions of dollars, writes Newsweek.
This industry has become one of the main revenue sources for ISIS, as its territory and oil businesses are declining.
“ISIS is putting more pressure on this trafficking front to offset the loss from the oil industry”, a French security official has revealed to the American paper.
For many traders and traffickers in Syria, the sale of antiquities has become a necessity, added the French.
An alleged intermediary, Muhammad Hajj Al-Hassan, told how ISIS broke into his house in Syria and almost executed him because they believed he is supporting the Syrian Liberation Army.
Later, he started selling the artifacts smuggled by ISIS to European buyers at the request of Abu Laith Al-Dairi, who collaborates with the terrorist organization for a while now.
The importance that ISIS gives to antique dealing is reflected by the fact the group uses foreign jihadists to manage the operation because they are considered more loyal than locals.
Residents of ISIS-controlled territories received authorizations from the Jihadist group just to search for antiquities.
These authorizations were initially tax-free, but today the organization cashes 20% from the value of each item.
In addition, ISIS requires that all these objects to be sold directly to them so they can then resell to their dealers.