ISIS landmines cause more civilian casualties in northern Syria

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Kurdish forces of the Rojava Explosives-Dismantling Org removing landmines planted by ISIS militants in Syria's northeastern Hasakah province. File photo: ARA News

ARA News

Serekaniye – Fayiz is a 9-year-old boy from Raqqa countryside who was injured due to the explosion of an ISIS landmine. He was walking alongside his uncle and grandfather in a village in Raqqa countryside when a landmine exploded. Fayiz’s grandfather died during the explosion, and he was heavilyy injured in his leg. The boy was transferred to Sere Kaniye town along with his uncle for treatment.

“They [ISIS] had covered the bomb with stones, so we didn’t expect that explosion to occur,” Fayiz said.

Ayed al-Faraj, Fayiz’s uncle, told ARA News: “I’ve lost my father in that explosion. My nephew and I have survived the incident. We were injured and now being treated.”

Fayiz’s family is not the only Syrian family to suffer from ISIS explosive devices.

The ongoing conflict in Raqqa Governorate has led to a large number of civilian casualties. Many of them are injured in explosions of landmines planted by ISIS militants. The majority of the injured lose their lives before having access to treatment.

Islamic State’s (ISIS) militants have left behind thousands of explosives after being forced by the Kurdish YPG troops and allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to withdraw from large areas in northern Syria. Those explosives continue to pose a serious threat to civilians’ lives.

Meanwhile, the local Roj Organization (RMCO), a Kurdish group specialised in dismantling landmines and explosive devices, says that the lack of advanced equipment has been preventing them from carrying out their work efficiently. The organisation has been working on clearing areas liberated from ISIS in northern Syria, by dismantling explosives.

Dilo Mihemed Eli, Spokesperson of Roj Organization, told ARA News: “We’s recently seen many cases of civilian casualties due to the explosion of ISIS landmines. Some of the victims don’t survive due to severity of injuries. Those who survive such explosions mostly end up with a permanent disabilities. In many cases a leg or an arm is being amputated.”

Although Roj Organization has dismantled thousands of landmines in the the past few months, the organisation still needs to make a greater effort in order to clear northern Syria from ISIS explosives.

Toni Mamed, Deputy Chief of Roj Organization, said: “The main reason for the civilian casualties due to explosion of landmines is our limited abilities to clear all areas liberated from ISIS.”

“There are huge areas that need to be cleared of mines, which in some cases exceeds our capacity,” Mamed told ARA News. “It mostly takes longer than usual to clear larger areas, especially with the humble tools we’re obliged to use during such operations.”

Reporting by: Heysem Haci | Source: ARA News

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