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Iraq

In Iraq, FSD locates and neutralises improvised mines in areas previously occupied and mined by the Islamic State. In addition, FSD reinforces the capacities of a national NGO.

FSD Operator conducting metal detector clearance procedures with Khalidiya village in the background iraq

FSD operator surveying land for clearance with a metal detector near Khalidiya village. (Iraq, 2022)

Iraq

Context

By the end of 2017, the war against the Islamic State group was officially over; the jihadist group had been largely driven out of all the areas it had occupied since 2014. For the Iraqi population, however, this did not imply an immediate return to a normal life.

Many villages are still littered with explosive devices laid on roads, in fields, homes and schools. Inside buildings, these so-called improvised mines are sometimes hidden under furniture, in televisions or refrigerators, in doorways and windows.

In addition to these deadly devices, dangerous pieces of unexploded or abandoned explosive ordnance are scattered across former battlefields.

It is essential to clear contaminated villages and agricultural areas as soon as possible and to train Iraqi national organisations in mine action. Only then can people safely return to their homes, cultivate their lands and send their children to school.

Now, the village is cleared and people are no longer afraid to come back and rebuild their homes.

Abd Al-Ghafoor Mohammed Attan

Muhktar (Mayor) of Karmardi village

Mayor - Irak
Iraq

Mine clearance

In Iraq, FSD deminers focus their efforts on eliminating improvised mines. Such homemade explosive devices were manufactured by the Islamic State group using everyday items and still litter the country in considerable quantities.

To date, FSD has destroyed over 20,000 improvised mines, clearing an area equivalent to 3,660 football pitches with the help of drones and other mechanical assets.

Senior supervisor Mr Peshawa Salim conducting 6-Monthly RSP recertification evaluations in Erbil Iraq
Iraq

Risk education

In uncleared areas, people have no choice but to live with explosive devices. As such, FSD conducts risk education sessions for communities in areas that remain contaminated.

During the sessions, people learn to recognise improvised mines present in their area and to adopt the right behaviour to avoid incidents.

To date, 112,000 women, men and children have participated in education sessions organised by FSD teams. Additionally, FSD carries out a prevention campaign using social media via its local Facebook page.

Villagers studying an EORE information poster in Iraq
Iraq

Capacity building

In 2020, FSD started a project to train Iraqi national staff and develop their capacities in mine action. FSD experts trained staff from Shareteah Humanitarian Organisation (SHO), a local non-governmental organisation. Today, the organisation is able to carry out demining operations independently and is accredited to do so.

Ultimately, the objective is for international actors to withdraw once national organisations have the capacity to carry out mine action activities in Iraq.

Capacity-building-with-the-iraqi-NGO-SHO-
Timeline

FSD in Iraq

FSD began working in Iraq in 2016 when the Islamic State group still occupied part of the country. It deployed several demining teams, notably in the Governorates of Kirkuk, Erbil and Nineveh.

Demining operations in Iraq are delicate for deminers: explosive devices abound, and the fact that they are improvised makes it challenging to neutralise them. Each device encountered is likely to differ from others and requires special handling. For example, some may include hidden or multiple activation switches.

The environment represents an additional challenge for deminers as well as for FSD risk education experts and survey teams who work in the north of the country. Temperatures of up to 50°C for a good half of the year harden and dry the soil. Consequently, our teams often use mechanical means to excavate explosive devices.

Modified construction machines support the manual work of deminers. A small remote-controlled vehicle makes it possible to inspect the interiors of potentially hazardous buildings. Finally, our survey teams started using a small remote-controlled drone to help determine the presence or absence of explosive ordnance contamination in a given area.

FSD’s programme in Iraq is supported by the U.S. Department of State, the United Nations, the Canton of Geneva, GGL Austria and other institutions and private foundations.

Stories

News from Iraq

GOOD NEWS FROM AL KHALIDIYAH 🕊️

Once occupied by the Islamic State, the village of Al Khalidiyah is now a safe place for its inhabitants. In this video, local residents recount their life in the village before and after FSD’s clearance and risk education operations.

Capacity building team in Iraq

WORK GOES ON

We are pleased to announce that our capacity building project in Iraq supported by UNOPS and UNMAS will continue for another 12 months!

We are very proud of the […]

Demining operations in Iraq-FSD

NEUTRALISING AN EXPLOSIVE DEVICE

The “render safe procedure” is the last clearance step. Once an item is found, a highly experienced technician proceeds to the examination of the ordnance and determines the best way to neutralise it. See a real-life example of a render safe procedure recently conducted in Iraq.

LOCALLY RECRUITED TEAMS

In 2022, FSD employed 157 staff members in Iraq, including 150 Iraqi nationals.

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Iraqi deminer trained to the use of a detector