DE: Because the Syria-Turkey border in the area of Raqqa is completely open, I think that most of the stolen antiquities were sent to Turkey, using cars and trucks by gangs and armed groups. Some gangs are widely known in the area to be working for international mafia groups, and some appear to be working on their own.
FL: Based on the latest information coming in to DGAM in late April, 2014, what is the situation with regard to the museum and the archaeological sites in Al Raqqa now?
DE: Well, there is some good news partly due to publicity about what is happening, and also some resistance from the local population, who deeply value Syria's cultural heritage and want it preserved. Two weeks ago, the Raqqa museum re-opened to the public, after the director of museum got permission from ISIL. I have learned from the museum director that all the iron gates which we installed are still (in place), so this means that no more robbery, looting or smuggling has taken place from the Raqqa Archeological Museum. As for the other sites, we do not know anything recent or anything more about them than what I reported to you.
FL: Thank you sir for your time and insights.
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