War remnants: A danger haunting liberated areas' residents in their neighborhoods and inside their homes
Shafaq News / The explosive materials and war remnants left by ISIS in Al-Anbar continue to claim the citizens' lives, and security teams are working to remove them.
A source in the Al-Anbar provincial civil defense directorate stated to Shafaq News agency, "The mines left by ISIS and the war to free Al-Anbar have caused the loss and injury of dozens of citizens in the past period. This explains the huge numbers of war remnants and mines that exist in the desert, agricultural, and open areas around cities."
In this context, al-Anbar Governor Ali Farhan Al-Dulaimi told Shafaq News "The remnants of ISIS and the war against it are difficult and complex. We had a meeting with international organizations to discuss this issue and the possibility of clearing all the governorate's areas of war waste that threaten its people's lives, especially in Rawa district in western Al-Anbar."
Al-Dulaimi added, "Al-Anbar needs a massive international effort in this regard, as ISIS has implemented one of its biggest agendas in Al-Anbar by contaminating it with mines to target the infrastructure, 85% of which has been destroyed, while the destruction exceeded 90% in some government facilities."
"We expect there will be casualties over time if there is no major and widespread international effort to clear mines from the cities," Al-Dulaimi concluded.
Citizens said that the remnants of war near their residential areas are preventing them from returning to their homes, fearing for the safety of their families.
According to some of the victims' relatives, mines exploded in their cities and even their homes, after returning from the displacement after the announcement of freeing their cities and mine-clearing them, "After liberating Al-Anbar and allowing families to enter the cleared areas. I came from the Kurdistan Region with my friend to see our homes in the Al-Shuhada neighborhood south of Al-Fallujah. When we entered my friend's house, which security agents had already assured us was clear and safe, a mine exploded on us, due to which my friend died, and my leg was amputated," said Abbas Nouri, a 24-year-old victim of war remnants.
"After my leg was amputated, my ex-fiancée left me. If I can go back in time, I would have stayed in Kurdistan without thinking about going back to a city whose officials do not care about its citizens' lives. The security officers had to be sure that the house they allowed us to enter was safe, but unfortunately, in their eyes, our lives are worthless," Abbas added.
"I have rented a house in Ramadi since we returned to Al-Anbar after liberation, as one of the areas near my house is still a minefield and has not yet been cleared," said Ihab Abdullah, a resident of Rawa district in western Al-Anbar.
"I have three children, and I can not risk their lives to get rid of the cost of renting a house. I hope the local government will consider our situation and speed up the clearing of our areas or pay us rent," she added.
For his part, Maj. Gen. Tahsin Al-Khafaji, the spokesman for the Joint Operations Command, stated, "There are great efforts to remove the war remnants, I believe that the Joint Operations Command has raised huge numbers of those remnants and in cooperation with international community organizations, as well as the local government in Al-Anbar." He also confirmed that the efforts are continuing to clear areas previously controlled by ISIS, particularly in Al-Anbar, which suffered a lot due to ISIS's occupation.
"One of the biggest problems facing the Iraqi society is the war remnants left by terrorist organizations, including ISIS, which have claimed the lives of a large number of unarmed citizens, particularly in Al-Anbar, and the cities of Al-Fallujah, Rutba, Saqlawiya, Garma, and Rawa are among the cities in Al-Anbar mostly affected by this. As well as the cities of Nineveh, Saladin, and Diyala governorates. The seriousness of these remnants lies in the fact that they are invisible objects," said Omar Al-Farhan, director of the Iraqi Center for War Crimes Documentation.
"The deliberateness of terrorist organizations to keep these remnants in the liberated cities is aimed at killing the largest number of citizens, as international organizations and government centers recorded more than 5,000 deaths due to war remnants in Al-Anbar province alone," Al-Farhan added.
Al-Farhan accused the Iraqi government of not acting to address this problem, "Although there are donations and efforts by the United Nations to support this file, unfortunately, international efforts are inadequate, and the government is not acting accordingly, and therefore the only victim is the citizen."