Islamic State group jihadists held onto Palmyra for almost a year before the Syrian army finally recaptured it last Sunday. But barely a day after the historic town fell back into their hands, Syrian opposition activists published photos purporting to show soldiers looting civilian homes.

Since Monday, March 28, the 'Palmyra Revolutionary Coordination Council' - a press office linked to the Free Syrian Army - has published two videos that they say show pro-regime militias and Syrian soldiers looting and pillaging homes.

The first video dates from Tuesday, March 29. It shows two pro-regime soldiers searching a house, which already appears to have been ransacked. The two discuss which objects they're going to take with them. At 0'25", a man in military fatigues turns to the person filming, raises a carpet to the camera and asks: "What if we take this? What do you think? It's worth 300,000, maybe 400,000." The cameraman responds: "Let's take it right now."

The house is covered with dust and seems to have been abandoned a long time ago. The two men go upstairs, and continue searching amid piles of overturned furniture. At 1'18", both enter an empty room. One of them comments: "Everything has already been taken." Later, at 1'49", they enter another ransacked bedroom. A box containing sunglasses catches their eyes. At 2'07", one of them says: "We'll steal that." The man in military fatigues grabs hold of some prayer beads in a cupboard.


The second video was filmed from the back of a pickup truck, most likely by a member of Syria's government forces. The footage shows men, some wearing military fatigues and others in civilian clothing, looking over furniture and electric appliances piled up by the roadside. Several vehicles, including lorries, are also parked along the side of the road.

#تدمر #Palmyra ::أرزاق وأثاث منازل المدنيين بعد سرقتها ونهبها من قبل الميليشيات التدمرية والشيعية وسوقها إلى طريق حمص تدمر، وقدوم تجار حمص لشرائها.

Posted by ‎تنسيقية الثـورة في مدينة تدمر‎ on Tuesday, March 29, 2016


Nassaer R. is a member of Palmyra's 'Revolutionary Coordination Council'.

"These videos were shared among members of Syria's Shabiha [Editor's note: a general term for pro-regime militiamen] on WhatsApp. They were picked up by a member of our committee who's a member of one of the chat groups. One of the people in the first video is a member of the Shabiha originally from Palmyra [Editor's note: He's a member of the National Defence Forces, a pro-regime paramilitary group]. The other is a pro-regime soldier, but we don't know exactly which division he fights for. The looting began on Monday and it's still going on.

We know the owner of the house where this was filmed, but we prefer to keep him anonymous.

The furniture in the second video has already been looted. It was lined up along the side of the road that goes from Palmyra to Homs. For the most part, the furniture is sold to dealers in Homs.

We don't have all the details but we know that several dozen houses belonging to civilians - to people who fled the advance of the Islamic State group - have just been ransacked by forces loyal to the Syrian regime.