Absolutely everything in the city of Mosul was mined or booby-trapped with improvised explosive devices (IEDs,) Daesh fighters had even set up these explosives on electricity poles, commercial centers and even pharmacies.
Demining teams in Mosul are working day and night to clear the remainder of the mines which come in many different shapes and forms – some locally assembled out of mortars and rockets, others more sophisticated mines factory produced overseas.
Dedicated task forces made up of experts from the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Interior, as well as specialized local and international companies, who are all working together to ensure that Nineveh is cleared of explosives.
The first local company specialized in demining was formed and began operations starting from the city of Kremlis, in the Hamdaniya district the plains of Nineveh, to the South-East of the city of Mosul.
Iraqi and International Private Demining Companies
Task-force units from the national drive made up of several government ministries are operational in the City of Mosul. These are also supported by demining teams from local and international companies as well as NGOs and other partners. These efforts are coordinated by the Department of Demining at the Ministry of Health and Environment, and all international teams working in the area are funded by international grants.
Infrastructure and other vital services are being given special attention such as schools, municipal buildings, Nineveh University and residential buildings.
Thousands of mines and explosive devices were diffused and cleared from the coast of the city of Mosul and the neighbouring town of Tallaafar. Many Daesh locations that were being used for the assembly and production of mines and IEDs were dismantled.
Finally, a region-wide awareness and education campaign was conducted by specialized teams to inform the local residents about the dangers of unexploded ordnances.
Government Efforts Pay Off
Regular meetings and workshops were held in Mosul where senior Defense and Interior Ministry representatives discussed operations and how to develop and raise the capacity of the government’s engineering and demining teams so that they use the latest and most advanced technologies.
Three military engineering units from the Ministry of Defense and two from the Ministry of the Interior are semi-permanently based out of Mosul, all are working together with the local government teams to ensure that the city’s infrastructure and main facilities are clear of all unexploded ordnances, mines and IEDs and are ready for reconstruction projects.
The engineering teams are also responsible for the safe disposal of all the remains of the mines, IEDs and unexploded ordnances left behind after a long period of military operations in the area that were gathered by the military or private teams. A total of two million cubic metres of material was handled and disposed of by the teams to ensure that dangerous materials are not allowed to fall into the wrong hands and are treated safely.
Local Talent Pool of Skilled and Experienced Professionals
One of the initiatives that had a real positive impact on the local economy was the training and development of a pool of skilled and experienced demining professionals from Mosul, who have all been through rigorous training courses and are certified specialists.
Another cadre of young trainees have joined the first generation of demining professionals and start off their career on the ground with mine location, without being allowed to do any disposal or engineering activities initially.
Local demining companies have cleared all the schools in Al Hamdaniya region and have been commissioned to clear a cement factory in Hammam Al Alil. This factory is strategically significant as it supplies the specialized resistant cement that is used for the maintenance of the Mosul Dam, and was booby-trapped by Daesh with 278 explosive charges.
Local youth certified and trained as demining experts worked hard to clear buildings, areas, and facilities all over Mosul, including the cement factory, old and new Hamam Al Alil neighbourhoods, Mosul University and surrounding squares, a minefield that was planted by Daesh near the IDP camp in Hamam Al Alil, Mosul Power Station, Al Qoush Water Project, and many others. A total of 512 IEDs and other explosives were gathered by these teams since liberation.
The government of Iraq will continue working with local and international partners to build a peaceful, stable and prosperous future in Mosul and beyond.
Summary of all demining activities in 2017 in in all liberated provinces and cities including Mosul:
Survey of more than 37 million square metres
Treatment of 44,376 explosive charge
Disposal of 748 IEDs
Field survey of 622 locations
Training of more than 300 government staff to enable them to educate and inform local residents in affected areas
Training 124 United Nations staff
Organising 5,905 education workshops in schools and IDP’s camps
Training of 683 United Nations humanitarian staff members (Source UNMAS)