This blog is up front. It reflects the views of collectors. But that's not the case for major sources for claims about looting in Syria. Each source has interests and agendas not always apparent from news coverage or archaeological blogs that rely on such information (often without clear attribution). That's not to say what these sources say is necessarily 100% false. Rather, just that its always a good idea to consider the source in assessing the information.
The Assad Regime-- The Assad Regime is a major source of information for others, particularly archaeological blogs. The problem is pure propaganda. As Syrian government officials would have it, ISIS is always to blame for all damage to Syrian cultural patrimony. In contrast, brave Syrian cultural officials are always doing their best to protect Syrian cultural patrimony from destruction and looting. The latter may or may not be based on fact, but the former is pure nonsense. ISIS is an awful plague on the people of Syria and its cultural patrimony, but Assad's military has done its fair share of bombing cultural sites into dust. Moreover, the Syrian military has certainly been involved in looting and otherwise damaging the major sites of Palmyra and Apamea before they fell to rebels. And, of course, let's not forget Assad is wholly responsible for crushing a largely peaceful movement and thereby starting a full fledged civil war.
UNESCO- UNESCO is run by a former Bulgarian Communist (now Socialist) and its pronouncements reflect a state ownership approach that ignores the rights of individuals, ethnic and religious groups. Not surprisingly, UNESCO supports repatriation of artifacts to Assad in the midst of a civil war despite the Assad regime's poor stewardship and even purposeful destruction of cultural artfiacts.
American Schools for Oriental Research (ASOR) and the State Department's Syrian Heritage Initiative-- Potential conflict of interest is the problem here. The State Department awarded a $600,000 contract to ASOR, an organization that takes a dim view of private collecting. Furthermore, the contract seeks to help raise public awareness about looting in war torn Iraq and Syria at the very same time both the State Department and ASOR are lobbying Congress to impose what amounts to permanent import restrictions on all Syrian cultural goods and create a new bureaucracy within the State Department. Enough said.