Germany is providing funding for mine clearance in the devastated Syrian city of Raqqa. On Friday (17 November), Germany signed an agreement in principle with the United States, pledging to make ten million euros available for defusing booby-traps in the ravaged city.
Deadly legacy of tyranny
For almost four years Raqqa was subject to the IS reign of terror. The offensive to liberate the city, with the support of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS, lasted almost a year, and the intensive fighting in the city more than five months. Before abandoning the city, the terrorist militia left behind a deadly legacy. Perfidious booby-traps have been planted throughout the city: triggered by the tiniest movement, tripwires and primed everyday objects such as toys or books blow up explosive charges. Entering and moving around in the city therefore brings deadly risks for the civilian population and humanitarian aid workers.
The destroyed city needs help
It is impossible to begin reconstructing the city until these booby-traps have been defused. But reconstruction is urgently needed. Hospitals, schools and the water supply have all been destroyed. The people still living in Raqqa are cut off from all sources of help. At the same time, the first families are already returning to the City.
Rapid aid from Germany
Germany has therefore decided to act quickly. The Federal Foreign Office is making available ten million euros so that specialists can rid the city of the omnipresent danger as soon as possible. Rapid reconstruction is crucial to allow humanitarian access and for the region’s long-term development. Returning families need to know that an orderly life is possible after IS and that there are prospects for stable development.