The citizens of Raqqa who have returned to their homes live under the constant risk of death due to land mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) which still remain in the city four months after it had been liberated from ISIS.
According to data provided by the UN, no more than 60 thousand civilians have returned to the city, with the pre-war population estimated at 450 thousand. Many of those who return found their homes reduced to rubble or severely damaged by the US-led coalition air strikes.
Those who have returned say that death in an explosion became mundane as there is what seems to be hundreds of IEDs “around every corner”.
Each week, some 50-70 people die in mine explosions in Raqqa. As the number of civilians returning to the city rises, the death toll is also likely to increase, the UN warned.
According to a recent report by Human Rights Watch, at least 491 persons, including 157 children, were injured in mines explosions between October 21, 2017 and January 20, 2018. The actual number is likely higher, since many people have died before they could reach medical assistance.
Raqqa was captured by SDF in October 2017, after a three-month-long campaign, supported by the US-led coalition, which was accompanied by a major destruction. Although the coalition, and the US in particular, pledged to restore the city, no clear plan or funding scheme have been set so far.