Russian de-miners continue to assist in mine clearance operations in the eastern part of Syria’s Aleppo, working on the most complex facilities, Deputy Head of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the opposing sides Andrei Kotyonok told reporters.
“Although we have trained the first group of Syrian de-miners, they are still not enough so we need to complete the most difficult tasks,” he said. “It is necessary to demine the area as fast as possible so that debris could be cleared. This is the most important task for now because people need places to live.”
According to an engineering unit commander Anton Strelchenko, de-miners are working in hard conditions. “There are a lot of pressure-activated mines here, which I personally have never seen before, there are also tilt sensors and motion sensors,” he said.
The eastern Aleppo authorities point out that Russian de-miners’ activities are aimed at providing civilians with an opportunity to return to their homes and start rebuilding them. “When militants were driven out of here, Russian military assumed the responsibility for maintaining order in the area so there was no large-scale looting. Now that civilians have begun to return to their homes, we have asked your de-miners to help, because mines can be found in almost every home,” an eastern Aleppo elder Muhammad Balawi said.
Debris clearance operation is currently underway in eastern Aleppo which was liberated from militants two months ago. “There was a huge amount of debris here, militants had deliberately build mounds of concrete blocks and steel armature. Heavy equipment that was used to remove the mounds had been discovered by chance, since there have been no supplies because of sanctions,” eastern Aleppo administration head Omar Azzad said.
During the past three months, Russian de-miners have cleared over 3,000 hectares of Syria’s territory, including 4,500 homes, 250 schools, mosques, hospitals and other social facilities. As many as 36,000 explosive devices have been defused, including more than 20,000 homemade bombs.