Stopping illegal trafficking and the destruction of historical sites in Syria is a "big challenge," the head of the United Nations agency tasked with protecting nations' heritage, told CNBC on Sunday.
Continued fighting in Syria, that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, according to the UN, has also led to the destruction of famous monuments in the Middle Eastern country.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the body tasked with identifying and helping to protect significant landmarks, said all six of Syria's World Heritage Sites that it had marked, had been damaged or destroyed.
UNESCO officials last month sent an emergency mission to Aleppo, one of the cities with the fiercest fighting, to see the extent of damage to the World Heritage Site of the Ancient City. The Great Umayyad Mosque and other historical monuments had been hit. About 60 percent of the old city had taken severe damage, while 30 percent was totally destroyed, UNESCO reported.