Syria is contaminated with anti-personnel mines and cluster munition remnants
While there have been no reports of renewed use of cluster munition in Syria since February 2021, one third of Syria’s populated communities are said to be affected by explosive ordnance (EO), which includes cluster munition remnants (CMR).Syria Humanitarian Needs Overview, February 2022, at: https://bit.ly/3vzUXwp, p. 6.The humanitarian needs resulting from contamination remain very high against a backdrop of an underfunded and fragmented mine action programme. The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) has taken a role of coordinating the mine action area of responsibility covering the whole of Syria.Email from Francesca Chiaudani, Mine Action Coordinator, UNMAS, 7 July 2022.
Several actors, including international non-governmental organisations (NGOs), are present in areas not controlled by the government. In government-controlled territories, however, there is a critical lack of qualified clearance operators with only one international operator, the Armenian Centre for Humanitarian Demining and Expertise (ACHDE), accredited (in 2020), and another operator, Shield, which as at March 2022, was still undergoing the accreditation process. In late December 2021, the Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Syrian government for the establishment of a mine action programme, which was expected to begin implementation in the course of 2022.
Recommendations for Action
- Syria should accede to the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) as a matter of priority.
- Syria should comply with its obligations under international human rights law to clear CMR on territory under its jurisdiction or control as soon as possible.
- Syria should undertake a baseline survey of CMR contamination in areas over which it has effective control.
- Syria should adopt national mine action standards (NMAS) that are in line with the International Mine Action Standards (IMAS).
- Syria should create the necessary structures to oversee an efficient mine action programme, namely, a national mine action centre (NMAC) and a national mine action authority (NMAA). The process should be underpinned by the adoption of mine action legislation and a multiyear strategic plan.
- Syria should expedite registration and access for international demining organisations to facilitate a credible humanitarian demining programme.
- Syria and the other parties present in the country should allow mine action operators to move freely across areas under their control and ensure their safety.
- A centralised mine action information management database should be established. All mine action operators in Syria should ensure that survey and clearance data is recorded and safeguarded in a digital format and in accordance with IMAS.
Download the full 2022 report for Syria
Click here to download the full "Clearing Cluster Munition Remnants 2022" report for Syria.