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Mine clearance in Iraq

Estelle Mekari
13 June 2017

The FPS Foreign Affairs supports initiatives which promote peaceful co-existence. Among other places, in Iraq.

The offensive conducted by Islamic State in 2014 dragged Iraq into a hopeless armed conflict, as well as a two-pronged humanitarian crisis. The result was not only countless internally displaced persons, but an influx of Syrian refugees all needing help.

Belgium wants to provide a helping hand by supporting the mine clearance operations of Handicap International (HI). Clearing conventional mines and home-made explosives makes the country safer for the population. HI firstly intends to make the affected civilians in the governorate of Kirkuk in Iraq more resilient.

Two men preparing to clear mines.
© HI

Iraq has been at war for years and the country is littered with mines and explosives. These were mainly planted by Islamic State to halt the advance of their opponents. This naturally has dire consequences for the population. 82% of all victims who were injured or killed between 2011 and 2015 were civilians. People who have fled conflict areas do not dare to come back.

To support this project, Belgium has sent two mine clearing teams to support the two teams which are already operational in Iraq. Among other operations, they will destroy between 500 and 2000 unexploded munitions which were stored at a plant in Suleymaniyah.

Iraq Demining
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