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Syria

Ruins in Quneitra, Syria. © UN Photo/Milton Grant

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ABOUT

Recognising the need for mine action as a priority for the Syrian humanitarian response, the United Nations Regional Humanitarian Coordinator requested UNMAS assistance in August 2015. UNMAS established the UNMAS Syria Response programme; opening an office in Gaziantep, Turkey, the same month and activating the MASC.

Six years of war in Syria have littered the country with explosive hazards. The presence of explosive hazards; such as landmines, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and explosive remnants of war (ERW), endangers the lives and livelihoods of civilians, impedes humanitarian aid, restricts freedom of movement, and hinders socio-economic recovery. An estimated 6.3 million people currently live in areas that are potentially contaminated. The 2017 Humanitarian Needs Overview for Syria identified explosive hazards as a major protection concern in 88 per cent of sub-districts surveyed.

UNMAS Syria Response has focused efforts in providing overall coordination for the mine action sector, in addition to technical support and oversight, and implementation of CIS and RE activities. UNMAS Syria Response also provides support to humanitarian actors to reduce the impact of explosive threats on their operations through the delivery of RE, first aid training, information sharing and the development of tailored awareness material. The proposed Mine Action response in the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan for Syria includes RE, victim assistance (VA), in cooperation with the Government of Syria when feasible. The 2017 Mine Action response also includes care and rehabilitation of people with disabilities, including survivors of explosive hazard accidents.  

ACTIVITIES

FUNDING 

UNMAS Syria Response is supported by Japan, Denmark and Italy, in addition to countries contributing to the Humanitarian Pooled Fund for Syria. Mine action is a critical component of the Humanitarian Response Plan for 2017 and in the first quarter, the sector raised 17 percent of its overall funding appeal. USD 36.8 million of the USD 44.7 million petitioned are still required for an effective humanitarian mine action response. UNMAS Syria Response received USD 3.8 million out of an appeal for USD 10.5 million for coordination, risk education, impact survey, and victim assistance activities in Syria.

Updated: March 2017

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IMPACT

  • UNMAS Syria Response established the Mine Action Sub Cluster (MASC) coordination mechanism under the framework of Whole of Syria (WoS) in late 2015 and as a result, mine action is now fully integrated into the humanitarian response, is recognised by relevant stakeholders working for Syria, and has become an essential part of the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for Syria.
  • 2,051,280 people received risk education (RE) about explosive hazards since 2015.  In 2016, UNMAS Syria Response conducted two RE workshops in Gaziantep to coordinate approaches between national and international implementing partners.
  • UNMAS Syria Response implemented Contamination Impact Surveys (CIS) throughout Syria with mine action partners to better understand the impact of explosive hazards for future mine action activities