2015 To Walk the Earth in Safety: Syria

Bureau of Political-Military Affairs

Date: 2015 Description: Mural painting is part of mine risk education for Syrian refugees in Jordan.  © Photo courtesy of Kamel Sa'adi.

Syria’s landmine and UXO contamination reaches back to the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, but the scale and intensity of Syria’s current armed conflict have overshadowed that legacy. Although the Syrian government and the opposition forces have reportedly used landmines in the current conflict, the use of heavy, indiscriminate weapons has eclipsed landmine use and casualties since the fighting intensified in 2012. The trafficking of illicit arms and munitions, including MANPADS, from unsecured Libyan stockpiles to Syrian rebels has escalated the fighting. Since the start of the crisis in 2011 more than 200,000 Syrians have died, while 7.6 million are internally displaced and 3 million have fled to neighboring countries.

Although no additional funds were provided for CWD in Syria in FY2014, the United States used $550,000 from FY2013 to support an ongoing UXO-risk education program for internally displaced persons in Syria that began in March 2013. Implemented by the Danish Demining Group under the umbrella of the Danish Refugee Council, this project has made significant progress toward teaching children and youth how to avoid unsafe activities and behaviors that could lead to serious injury and death from UXO. From October to December 2014, 108 schoolteachers from four governorates received train-the-trainer risk education training. Each teacher trained will reach at least 300 school children with orientation sessions in their school, making a total target of 32,400 direct beneficiaries.