Ala: Clearing liberated areas of landmines, raising awareness, and helping victims a priority for Syrian government

Oslo, SANA – Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN and international organizations in Geneva, Ambassador Hussam Eddin Ala, said that clearing liberated areas of landmines is a priority for the Syrian government, and that some states are politicizing this humanitarian work by refraining from providing the necessary resources for demining.

In a statement at the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention 4th Review Conference on Friday, Ala said that Daesh (ISIS), Jabhat al-Nusra, and other terror organizations planted many landmines and IEDs in the areas they had once controlled, therefore clearing those areas of landmines, raising awareness about the danger they pose, and helping their victims are a priority for the Syrian government.

He said that demining liberated areas is a precondition for restoring normal life in them and enabling displaced Syrians to return to their homes, noting that the Syrian Armed Forces’ demining teams, with the support of Russian forces operating in Syria, carry out urgent demining plans in liberated areas.

Ala noted that this process requires financial and technical resources that are limited by the sanctions imposed on Syria, which is why the Syrian government signed an MoU in July 2018 with the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) to benefit from the latter’s expertise and provide material and technical support.

He said that cooperation with UNMAS and NGOs has resulted in carrying out awareness programs, but work on the ground has been hindered due to donor states refraining from providing the necessary financial and technical resources and linking them with fabricated political conditions that have nothing to do with the humanitarian nature of demining operations.

Ala said such behavior constitutes politicization of this humanitarian work and will lead to raising the number of victims, in addition to hindering the return of displaced people to their homes.

He also lauded the generous support provided by Armenia for demining areas in Aleppo province.

Ala also pointed out to the efforts carried out by the Syrian government to help the victims of landmines, noting that there are currently 12 centers for the government and civil societies that provide prosthetics and healthcare for victims.

He noted that the Israeli occupation of the Syrian Golan poses threats to its Syrian population who are endangered by the landmines planted by the Israeli occupation among their homes and fields and villages.

Hazem Sabbagh

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