The Syrian Civil war as well as the presence of ISIS has brought about destruction and human suffering on an enormous scale. The widespread and continuous use of various types of weaponry throughout Syria, including in the Northeast, has left behind a range of explosive hazards including improvised explosive devices (IEDs), landmines, and explosive remnants of war (ERW). An estimated 10.2 million civilians live in 1,980 communities reporting contamination by explosive hazards. In 2017, 1,906 mine/ERW casualties were recorded in Syria by the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor from landmines and ERW, though the true figure is thought to be significantly higher. The majority were caused by improvised victim-activated devices or IEDs.
Almost 12 million Syrians are in need of humanitarian assistance. Years of intense hostilities took over half a million lives, and led to widespread displacement, with more than 6.6 million Syrians estimated to be internally displaced (IPDs). A large majority of IDPs live in informal settlements or in camps with limited access to basic services; in both cases the very basic living conditions are not fulfilled. The presence of explosive hazards additionally compounds the already critical humanitarian needs. Each explosive hazard poses its own risks, contributing to civilian casualties, exacerbating vulnerabilities, hindering safe access to humanitarian support, basic services and livelihoods, and ultimately compounding the humanitarian crisis. The fact that ERW can be harvested as material to produce secondary IEDs brings additional urgency to the matter.
What we do
During fall and winter 2019/2020, ITF supported activities helping IDP families in Northeast Syria cope with the harsh winter in a safe and dignified manner.
In 2020, ITF supported explosive hazards clearance operations and explosive ordnance risk education activities in Northeast Syria. The clearance operations are focused on enabling agricultural revival activities and supporting farmers regain access to their formerly contaminated farmland. Risk education focused on displaced populations and those that live in areas where the risks posed by explosive hazards are the highest.
For more information on the activities ITF has supported in the past or intends to support in the future, we welcome you to get in touch with us or consult our Portfolio of Projects.