During the liberation battles fought by the SDF against ISIS in Raqqa, the terrorist group planted several mines across the city, representing a threat to the local population until now.
Following the liberation of Raqqa from the hands of ISIS in October 2017, one of the most prominent issues to face the new military and political establishment in the city has been the threat of mines left behind by ISIS during its battles with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
As part of the terrorist group’s aims to repel the SDF advance into Raqqa and to instill fear in the residents of the city, ISIS planted numerous mines that killed and harmed both civilians and military personnel. Since the expulsion of the terrorist group from the city, work has been undertaken to dismantle the mines in order to allow for the safe return of civilians to their homes.
There, however, is an unfortunate lack of suitable equipment required to dismantle the mines that have been strewn across the city:
“The police are cooperating with us, but they do not have modern devices that reveal mines. This building is completely booby-trapped, the police and Americans dismantled its mines, but this part remained booby-trapped. Therefore, they put up a warning tape because of the mines. More than 20 people died due to mines in this building”, stated Abdul Hamid Ali, a resident of Raqqa.
There are still cases of workers who are clearing the rubble and debris in the city who are exposed to mines:
“Yesterday, I was removing rubble here with a bulldozer, and a mine exploded. I told the competent committee, which sent experts to clear the remaining mines”, explained Ahmed Sheikhi, who is working on clearing the rubble in Raqqa.
The city of Raqqa was the most prominent stronghold for ISIS in Syria during the terrorist group’s height of power in the country between 2014-2017. Its liberation marked a significant turning point in the fight against ISIS. Nevertheless, harmful remnants of the group still remain, and the local people who suffered most from their tyrannical rule are doing their utmost to foster a safe and secure environment.