Explosive Remnants of War and Landmines
While the physical and humanitarian impacts of explosive weapons, such as mortars, missiles, barrel bombs and IEDs, have been highly visible and documented throughout the conflict in Syria, the unex-ploded remnants of these weapons and landmines have received limited attention but will have long-term implications. In the immediate term, people are killed and maimed, with children making up nearly half of the victims globally. Furthermore, survivors require specialised services that are not available or accessible within Syrian’s public health system, which has been brought to near collapse. Even decades after a conflict has ended, the presence of ERW will negatively affect people’s ability to move freely, return and rebuild their homes, resume their livelihoods and begin to recover. The intensive use of explosive munitions on high-density urban areas and information limi-tations throughout the conflict means that it will take decades of rigor-ous clearance efforts, as ERW are buried among rubble and debris. Beirut and Sarajevo experienced similar ERW contamination in urban areas; the latter city required 8-9 years of clearance efforts, although explosive weapons were used at relatively lower levels compared to Syrian cities. Over time, ERW and landmines will also migrate due to flooding or erosion, particularly in soft, sandy soil, thereby further spreading the contamination risk.