The Senate has passed HR 1493, a bill which imposes import restrictions on cultural goods removed illegally from Syria. The measure is not yet law because there needs to be conference with the House and new votes before one bill is sent to the President.
The major differences between the Senate and House versions are that the Senate substitute includes a stronger "safe harbor" measure for Syrian antiquities and deletes a proposed State Department "Cultural Property Czar."
Probably not coincidentally, the vote came the same day the well-funded and politically connected Antiquities Coalition unveiled its own proposals for more repressive measures and regulation largely aimed at the antiquities trade, museums and collectors. Proposals for source countries are promised, but not yet revealed. There appears to be no need for proposals aimed at what archaeologists can do to preserve cultural heritage.
CPO attended the event. CPO commends two speakers, Professor Patty Gerstenblith, and Dr. Al-Azm, for their acknowledgement that the Assad regime is part of the problem and not part of the solution. Indeed, Prof. Gerstenblith stated in no uncertain terms that the Assad regime has probably killed more people, destroyed more cultural heritage, and looted more artifacts than ISIS. The only difference is that Assad's forces don't use social media to publicize their evil deeds.
So, CPO remains skeptical of Dr. Gerstenblith's efforts to pooh pooh the concern that antiquities seized under HR 1493 will ultimately be repatriated to the Assad regime. The CPIA -- which HR 1493 does not change-- certainly requires seized artifacts to be offered to the source country. And given the realities on the ground or in the air in this case-- what with Russian air power bolstering the regime-- it certainly looks like Assad will be the victor to whom these spoils ultimately will be returned.