BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:20 P.M.) – Demining teams of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) have cleared eleven villages in Latakia’s Rabia subdistrict of hidden explosive booby-traps. The demining effort is part of a plan to resettle internally displaced Syrians in the locality.
The town of Rabia, which represents the administrative centre of the subdistrict, was liberated by pro-government forces from the grip of Free Syrian Army (FSA) insurgents in late-January 2016.
In the wake of their retreat, FSA rebels sowed the rural areas of Rabia with mines and improvised explosive devices (IED).
For eighteen months no proper effort had been made to demine the entire countryside of Rabia. In any case, under a new initiative to resettle civilians in the area, government troops have now cleared 11 villages.
The full extent of the demining effort is unknown and it is possible that more villages in the area of Rabia will yet be cleared of explosive traps.
What is also unknown is when or how many internally displaced Syrians will be resettled in the newly-cleared areas.