Store

Unexploded mines and bombs. Demining Syria will take 30 years

French association Handicap International issued a warning: the Syrian civil war has already caused tens of thousands of amputees.

5 years of war made Syria a land riddled with unexploded mines and bombs. So many that entirely demining the country will require dozens of years of work. This tragic long-term consequence of the conflict has been denounced by the French association Handicap International. In a report published on 15 March in Paris, the organisation points out the real consequences in Syria: 250,000 people were killed, a million were injured, 12.5 million people depend on humanitarian aid only, and 4.6 million refugees. So far.

 

Mutilati Siria
©Frederik Buyckx/Handicap International

Unexploded landmines strike anyone, randomly

“Syrian population is hit by bombings, mortars, missiles, explosives, and bombs dropped by warplanes every day. These devices cause burns, amputations and fractures. They wound and kill randomly”.

 

Nobody is safe in Syria. Neither the women looking for food, nor the children playing on the ruins or people looking for shelter. Handicap International already provided prostheses to 6,000 Syrians since the war started, but “tens of thousands of people need artificial limbs and rehabilitation”.

 

Kobane, ten mines per sqaure metre

A study carried out by the organisation in Kobane in April 2015 showed that there are on average ten mines per square metre in the city centre. According to Emmanuel Sauvage, the association’s regional coordinator, another threat has to be added: the explosive charge of numerous handcrafted bombs is significantly stronger than regular anti-personnel landmines.

 

Siria mine antiuomo
Numerosous children lost their limb due to unexploded mines in Syria ©Sarah Pierre/Handicap International

 

“All these explosive devices – the activist added – are called Residual Explosive Remnants. They could explode at any time, and their clearance cannot begin due to security reasons. An unprecedented mobilization of the international community is needed to demine Syria”. As long as hostilities are halted.

 

Cover photo: ©Salah Malkawi/Getty Images

Translated by

Related articles
Don’t shoot the messenger. Your life may depend on them

We must listen to witnesses on the ground who are seeing abuse, duplicity, and the dereliction of duty firsthand. Our lives depend on their voices being heard. The op-ed by Sean Thomas, International Director of Investigations at Animal Equality.