ISIS Landmines Plague War-Rocked Raqqa
IT HAS BEEN a mere six months since a U.S.-led coalition drove the Islamic State from its self-declared capital of Raqqa, Syria. As the offensive drew to a close in October 2017, news cycles around the world ran triumphant reports of the Islamic State’s humiliation, touting the victory as a final blow to the waning, would-be caliphate. The five-month campaign for Raqqa’s liberation had cost the city dearly: As the dust settled, over 11,000 buildings and much of the city’s infrastructure — including its electricity and water — lay in ruin.
Even so, for the hundreds of thousands of Syrians displaced during the three-plus years that ISIS occupied Raqqa, the news brought the welcome hope of returning home, at last. Yet the fall of ISIS was not the end of terror in the war-ravaged city. Waves of displaced residents flocked back to their neighborhoods and re-entered their homes — only to fall victim to hidden explosives, left behind by retreating ISIS fighters. Emergency medical staff began to receive dozens of patients who were mutilated by shrapnel and heat, their families bringing reports of mines hidden inside refrigerators, teddy bears, kitchen cabinets, and even under Qurans. [Read the full articel at The Intercept]