173 civilians killed by landmines in Syria this year: monitor

At least 173 civilians have been killed in Syria by landmines and explosive remnants of war since the start of the year, AFP reported Thursday (October 3rd).

Syria's warring parties have all planted landmines in urban as well as rural areas since the conflict started in 2011.

Across the country, more than 10 million people live in areas contaminated by explosive hazards, the UN says.

"Since early 2019, 173 civilians, including 41 children, have been killed by landmines and explosive remnants of war," said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Of the victims, at least 40 have been killed while digging for truffles, the monitor said.

"Every day civilians are losing their lives or being maimed for life due to landmines and unexploded ordnances," said the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

"It is estimated that two out of three survivors of an explosive hazard incident in Syria will sustain a life-long impairment," it added on Twitter.

The UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) says landmine contamination "hampers" attempts to clear rubble and cultivate agricultural land.

It also poses a threat to children and obstructs the return of displaced Syrians to their hometowns and villages, UNMAS told AFP in August.

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