DAMASCUS - Around 15,000 antiquities locked away in safes around the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib are at risk of being sold on the black market, the head of antiquities and museums Maamoun Abdulkarim told Reuters on Friday.
The al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front and other insurgents took the provincial capital on Saturday for the first time in the four-year conflict against President Bashar Assad.
"What has happened in Idlib is a true disaster. The worst catastrophe that has happened until now against the culture of Syria," Abdulkarim said.
The 15,000 antiquities were crafted throughout Syria's rich history, stretching back millennia. Pottery and statues are kept around the city, including in the main museum, Abdulkarim said.