Overview of the Syrian Mine Action Center (SMAC):
The Syrian Mine Action Center (SMAC) was established by volunteers who dedicated themselves to protect civilians from mines dangers as a response for the military operations taking place in Syria. SMAC teams gained their practical experience from the need imposed to eradicate mines and ERW resulted from the military operations and the daily bombardment on province of Aleppo. The teams, which consists of more than 50 domineer volunteers, works in Aleppo and its countryside and Idleb province. SMAC manages all the humanitarian works related to mines and ERW. The main center is located in Aleppo northern countryside.
SMAC manages the humanitarian activities related to mines such as demining, awareness of mines dangers, and mine victims support and patronage.
SMAC vision is “Syria free of mines and ERW”. The ultimate goal is to build a nation where the population enjoys freedom of movement safely everywhere, and enjoy the freedom of children playing in the fields, away from the threat of mines and cluster bombs. The center also aims to build a nation where the population does not suffer economically and socially due to mines and ERW.
Mines & ERW problem in Syria
Mines & ERW problem in Syria appeared with the systemized bombardment Syrian cites and countryside with different kinds of weapons. This problem developed more with using of the cluster bombs and the other internationally forbidden weapons against civilians in addition to laying mines around the cities.
All the above-mentioned circumstances resulted in contamination the Syrian lands with thousands of laid mines, and an enormous number of unexploded munitions such as anti-personnel and anti-mechanism mines. With the pollution of the Syrian lands with the cluster bombs, Syria begins a new and dangerous stage of its history with mines and ERW since October 1973 war until our current day. Those unexploded cluster bombs, estimated to be thousands, form a continuous danger and threat on civilians and prevents them from go to their agricultural lands. Mines and ERW are considered as a daily threat to civilians’ life.
The contaminated area with respect to the liberated regions is too large with high intensity of population. Mines & ERW problem affect a large number of civilians, and in particular those returning from displacement to their villages. ISIS largely used mines against civilians, and in areas withdrew such Jarabulus and its suburbs and Aleppo north countryside. ERW also generated from the daily bombardment to the mentioned areas.
Mines & ERW problem directly affect the economic and social development, the return movement of displaced and infrastructure (such as water supply, electricity, etc.). Mines & ERW problem also hinder development and agricultural work of the sector. The problem also constitutes an economic burden on local councils in general and specifically the aggrieved civil community that will increase the poverty.
Mines & ERW problem deprives displaced people from returning to their homes, hinder civilian movement, and constitutes a threat to their daily lives in the communities.
- Operation Department
- Land Release.
- Rapid response.
- Training of demining teams.
- Capacity Building.
(a). Land Release.
Because of the current situation in Syria, the emerging conflict, the military operations, the bombardment using different kinds of weapons such as rockets and fighting aircrafts which bear the cluster bombs, and the other kinds of weapons with the laying of mines operations done by the warring parts on the lands, etc.. All the mentioned above reasons lead to existing the lands polluted with mines and ERW such as missiles and the unexploded cluster bombs, etc… Which prevents the civilians’ arrival to the residential places, the main agricultural sources, and the sources of their living. At the beginning, the concentration was on liberation of lands from mines, clearing the roads, and rehabilitating the infrastructure and houses, to guarantee the rapid return of the civilians to their regions and villages.
The operation department oversees the post-cleaning stage. As it supervises the technical and the nontechnical surveys and it clears the mines and the explosive war remnants. The Operation department consists of the following teams:
- The hand mine clearance.
- Teams of cluster bombs clearance.
- Teams of mines clearance.
- Rapid response
The rapid response teams works 24-hour / 7-day. They response directly to the citizens and the local sided requests after the bombardment operations against the civilians regions which cause the foundation of the cluster bombs and unexploded shells.
- Training of demining teams
SMAC teams gets there training on the ground and through the implementation of various tasks concerning demining
- Capacity building
SMAC works hardly to develop its self and its works of the mines clearance as it puts the planes to build the capacities and to improve the work of clearance.
SMAC has achieved a notable development in the field of demining although there are many challenges. SMAC needs today financial support to be able to achieve its goal “Syria free of mines & ERW”.
Media and the warning of the mines dangers:
The Warning of the mines dangers includes all the activities that aim to decrease the number of people injured by mines & ERW by raising the sufficient awareness among people about the way that people should deal with dangers caused by the mines.
Aims of awareness of the dangers of mines:
- Decreasing the number of people injured by mines via launching awareness campaigns in the country.
- Increasing the knowledge and the sufficient realization among citizens about the dangers of the mines & ERW, and providing people with the sufficient information that may let them be able to detect the suspected materials and inform SMAC.
- Warning people (School students, farmers, mothers, etc…) about dealing with mines dangers.
Awareness campaigns of the mines dangers:
The awareness campaigns of the mines dangers use different suitable methods and equipments to be able to reach to the biggest number of schools, farmers, and all the society members.
Supporting mines & ERW victims:
The department’s work is dedicated to support victims of mines and ERW through all the medical, psychological, and economical ways. This department is also interested in supporting the activities that may help the victims to gain all their legal rights and guarantee their gradual reintegration within the society.
The logistic Department:
The logistic department function is to manage the logistic affairs, the employees, and the financial sources.
- The media
- The documentation.
- Center news & events.
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