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Mine blasts kill at least 17 people in Syria

More than 370,000 people have been killed in the Syria conflict [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 17 March, 2019

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Landmines left behind by jihadists have killed at least 17 people in Syria in a 24-hour period at the weekend, a war monitor said on Sunday.
At least 17 people were killed in Syria in the last 24-hours, a war monitor said on Sunday, due to landmines left behind by jihadists.

An ordnance left behind by the Islamic State group exploded in the eastern province of Deir az-Zour on Saturday, killing 16 people and wounding 32 others, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

A separate landmine explosion in the northern province of Aleppo on Sunday killed one person, the Observatory said.

The jihadist group often plants mines to slow opponents.

De-mining former IS strongholds continues to be a major challenge in areas liberated from the jihadist group.

Last month, more than 20 civilians were killed in Hama province in central Syria when a landmine left behind by IS exploded under a van.

At least 44 people have been killed in landmine explosions across Syria in the past three weeks, the Observatory said.

More than four years after IS overran large parts of Syria and neighbouring Iraq and declared a "caliphate", the jihadist group has lost one territory after another and are left with only a tiny patch in the village of Baghouz near the Iraqi border.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces is closing in on jihadists defending their last sliver of territory.

The battle for Baghouz is now the only live front in Syria's war, which has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions since 2011.

Beyond Baghouz, IS retains a presence in the vast Syrian desert, and continues to claim deadly attacks in SDF-held territory.

But thousands of people are believed to still be inside the last Islamic State group enclave in eastern Syria, the SDF said, as they sought to flush out die-hard fighters with sporadic shelling.

Tens of thousands of dishevelled women, children and men have streamed out of the IS-held village of Baghouz near the Iraqi border in recent weeks - and they still keep coming.

The huge numbers have flummoxed the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and slowed down their offensive aimed at dealing a knock-out blow to the jihadists' once-sprawling proto-state.

Baghouz is the latest front in the Syrian war that has killed 370,000 people since it started in 2011.

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