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Now entering its seventh year of active conflict, the crisis in Syria has displaced 6.1 million people and resulted in the widespread contamination of explosives. The presence of landmines, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and explosive remnants of war (ERW) are a major protection concern that continue to endanger the lives and livelihoods of civilians, impede humanitarian aid, restrict freedom of movement, and hinder socio-economic recovery. Due to the shifting conflict, an estimated 8.2 million people now live in contaminated areas, an increase of almost 2 million from 2016.

Mine action is an imperative humanitarian need in Syria. The overall objective of UNMAS Syria Response is to reduce the impact of explosive hazards. Currently, however, clearance to International Mine Action Standards (IMAS) is severely limited by access restrictions. UNMAS Syria Response is thus focusing on protecting the population by providing overall coordination for the mine action sector, technical support and oversight, sponsoring CIS and RE activities through implementing partners, and the integration of RE material across the sectors of the wider humanitarian response. UNMAS Syria Response also supports other humanitarian organisations through the delivery of RE, first aid and emergency trauma bag training, information sharing and the development of tailored RE material. In line with the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan for Syria, the Mine Action response will aim to support victim assistance, in addition to continuing RE and CIS.  



UNMAS Syria Response is supported by Japan, Denmark and Italy, and the OCHA Humanitarian Pooled Fund for Syria. Mine action is a critical component of the Humanitarian Response Plan for 2017 and by the third quarter, the sector raised 34 percent of its overall funding appeal. USD 26.7 million of the USD 40.1 million petitioned are still required for an effective humanitarian mine action response. UNMAS Syria Response received USD 4.4 million out of an appeal for USD 10.5 million for coordination, risk education, impact survey, and victim assistance activities in Syria.

Updated: October 2017

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  • UNMAS Syria Response established the Mine Action Sub Cluster (MASC) under the framework of Whole of Syria (WoS) in late 2015 and as a result, mine action is fully integrated into the humanitarian response, is recognised by relevant stakeholders, and has become an essential part of the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for Syria. Establishing mine action as an integral part of the humanitarian emergency response in Syria is essential to ensuring that the threat of explosive hazards is mitigated and that the sector positively contributes to peace sustainment efforts.

    Through UNMAS Syria Response coordination, Risk Education (RE) is now the most widespread protection activity in Syria. Since January 2017, UNMAS Syria Response and its humanitarian and public service partners have reached 1,812,221 beneficiaries with RE and trained 9,310 risk educators in Syria. RE raises awareness on the threat of explosive hazards and provides civilians with basic behavioural knowledge to prevent potential incidents. UNMAS Syria Response is integrating RE material into other sectors by collaborating with multi-sectoral humanitarian organisations and implementing partners in the Health, Food Security and Livelihoods, Shelter and Non-Food Items, and Protection clusters and working groups throughout Syria.

    UNMAS Syria Response continues to implement and gather information from Contamination Impact Surveys (CIS) to better understand the impact of explosive hazards for future mine action activities, prioritize interventions on a needs basis, and help ensure the safety of humanitarian actors by identifying potentially hazardous and safe areas.

    Information Management (IM) is central to UNMAS Syria Response’s core coordination function. Explosive hazard data is provided into the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) database, enabling needs-impact based prioritization; tailoring the response to the need and avoiding the duplication of efforts. With restricted access in Syria, IM becomes vitally important to increasing the effectiveness of the sector response and laying the foundations for future activities.