Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

16 Killed in Landmine Explosion in Syria

Sat 16 Mar 2024 | 08:14 PM
Israa Farhan

At least 16 civilians, including date palm harvesters, were killed today (Saturday) in an explosion of a landmine on a small truck transporting them in northern Syria, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, in an incident that recurs during the desert fruit harvesting season, according to the French Press Agency.

The Observatory pointed out that "16 civilians, including at least 9 women, were killed, and others were critically injured in a landmine explosion on a small truck in a desert area, where ISIS is active in the northern countryside of Raqqa."

According to the Observatory, the truck transported more than 20 civilians while they were searching for dates, which are harvested between February and April.

In recent weeks, there has been a recurrence of casualties due to mine explosions as residents venture into vast desert areas to collect dates, to which ISIS fighters retreated after being ousted from their last strongholds in 2019.

The organization, which relied on mine planting as a fundamental strategy during its years of control, carries out deadly and sudden attacks, targeting Syrian soldiers and Kurdish fighters in particular.

Eighteen people, mostly civilians, were killed in an ISIS attack on date palm harvesters in the eastern countryside of Deir ez-Zor on March 6th, according to the Observatory.

Fourteen date palm harvesters were killed on February 25th due to a mine explosion from the remnants of the organization in the Raqqa desert.

Despite the risks and warnings from security authorities, residents continue to harvest dates as they are sold at high prices, explaining the demand for their collection amid difficult economic conditions that have plagued Syria after 13 years of conflict.

Explosive devices, including mines, are among the thorny issues that seem difficult to address in a country that has witnessed a conflict that has claimed the lives of more than half a million people and has seen various parties employ mine-planting strategies in different areas.