Three school children killed, others injured in explosion of ISIS landmines in Syria’s Manbij

ARA News, September 21, 2016

MANBIJ – At least three children lost their lives and several others were seriously injured on Tuesday after a landmine planted by ISIS militants exploded in the recently liberated Syrian border city of Manbij.

“A landmine, that had been planted by ISIS terrorists in the Seif Al-Dawla primary school in Manbij, exploded on Tuesday, causing casualties among the children,” Musa Hamdan, a teacher at the targeted school, told ARA News. 

“The explosion killed three children, identified as Imad al-Haddouh, Mustafa Ali al-Huran and Othman Nassan,” local media activist Hassan Ibrahim told ARA News. “Also, 14 others were injured and subsequently transferred to the Manbij Hospital for treatment. Some of them are in critical condition.”

The school was evacuated subsequent to the incident. “The school will remain closed until we make sure that it’s completely cleared of ISIS explosives, in order to maintain the safety of the students and the staff,” Hamdan said. 

The city of Manbij was liberated by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in mid-August, after over two years of ISIS occupation. 

Unexploded devices pose a daily threat to civilians in the cities and towns liberated for ISIS. 

Similar cases were reported in Kobane and Hasakah, where dozens of civilians died in explosion of landmines planted by ISIS extremists before losing those areas to the Kurdish YPG forces and allied SDF troops.

Speaking to ARA News, Abdulrahman Hemo, head of the reconstruction board of Kobane, said that the explosives continue to threaten civilian lives. “Until now, 50 per cent of the civilian death toll in Kobane was caused by explosives in the ground,” he said.

“This explosive pollution will make it impossible for people to reconstruct their lives, and blocks access to several areas. It also prevents humanitarian organizations from operating safely and providing the necessary support to this vulnerable population,” said Frédéric Maio, Handicap International’s Mine Action Program Development Manager in a public statement. 

“ISIS militants are experts in the use of mines,” German fighter of YPG Heval Cihan told ARA News, suggesting that ISIS is using traps and decoys, which had killed one of the YPG’s mine experts in Ayn al-Issa town. 

“After the liberation of Kobane, most martyrs were not killed by attacks, but by mines,” he said.

Reporting by: Haytham Mustafa