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Video shows a pro-Russian separatist ...
Debaltseve, Donetsk Oblast
By Yves Choquette
11 Apr 2015

Video shows a pro-Russian separatist Cossack explosives team detonating an unexploded 220mm Uragan missile in a field near Debaltseve, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine on April 11, 2015

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Leftovers of ISIS: Inside a Liberated...
Tikrit
By mushtaq mohammed
15 Mar 2015

March 15, 2014
Tikrit, Iraq

Shiite militia officer, Abu Ismail, gives a tour of al-Alam, a suburb of Tikrit which until recently had been under the control of ISIS. Ismail shows ISIS graffiti on homes, a handmade explosive device hidden in an electronic tablet and detonators, as well as pro-ISIS leaflets giving instructions on the best way to pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s caliphate.

In coordination with Shiite militias, the Iraqi Army was able to drive ISIS out of the area of al-Alam as part of their offensive to retake Tikrit.

Shot list/ transcription:

01:18
Medium of fighter spraying “Ali al-Akbar Brigade” on wall

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, man) Abu Ismail, Popular Mobilization officer
01:18 – 03:50

“This house, which we will raid, belongs to an officer in the Salahuddin Police. ISIS members took it by force. They closed it and left it behind. We begin with this writing [Reads in Arabic: “The State”] which ISIS fighters wrote. Please come with me so that I would show you the other writings.
[Lettering in Arabic reads: “Estates of the Islamic State”] ISIS members wrote this slogan on all the houses that they have taken over. They consider themselves to be the rightful owners of any house whose original owner supported the [Iraqi] government, is a Shiite, or does not follow their teachings. They confiscate the properties, cattle, land, women and anything that belongs to such a person. ‘The State of Islam shall remain.’ This is proof that they were present in this house. Now, God willing, we will open the house and see what is inside. These are detonators. This is a mobile tablet, commonly used but people for communication or guidance. This is the [explosive] dough. They have booby-trapped it. As soon as a call is made to this tablet, while the battery is in place, it will explode. These are the detonators, used to set off explosive devices. This house is in al-Dour housing complex. May the owner rest in peace. What is his name?
What is his name, Abu Hussein?
Regarding this issue…
Interviewer: Will this explode?
The battery is in place, however, the device should be charged to enable them to contact this device from another one. As soon a call is established between another device and this one, a detonation will be triggered. This little piece of dough, as we understood from explosives experts, can kill from four to ten people – this little piece of dough. If it was compressed, the explosion would be stronger.”

03:59 – 04:21
As soon as we entered the house – we still have not gone in deeply yet – we found military equipment and outfits [that were] used by ISIS members. They confiscated these outfits from police and army headquarters.

04:22 – 05:57
Close-up of ISIS pamphlet in Arabic, reads: “Extend your hands to pledge allegiance to Baghdadi.”

SOUNDBITE (Arabic, man) Abu Ismail, Popular Mobilization officer

04:27 –
These fliers were given out to people in various regions. This is about people pledging allegiance the damned Baghdadi. “Extend your hands to pledge allegiance to Baghdadi.” There is a drawing of hands, one belonging to Baghdadi and the other to the person pledging allegiance.
It was published by the hypocrite – a so-called muhajhid, but he is neither a sheikh nor a mujahid – Turki al-Ben Ali, Abi Sufian al-Salami.
Even the printing house –if the camera can show this clearly… this was published in the “Islamic State’s Printing Establishment.” Also, here is written “Al-Himma Bookstore.” These are the [visible] titles.
Here are written the conditions that the person pledging allegiance should follow. They start with specific points or titles that have nothing to do with Islam. They are far from any Islamic value.
We shall continue to search.
This flag… they have used as slogan these sacred words in every house, alley, village, region, or government office. They have nothing to do with this slogan.”

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Sample media
Peshmerga IED Disposal Units at War w...
Kirkuk
By Jeffry Ruigendijk
05 Feb 2015

According to Kurdish government and Peshmerga officials, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and mines planted by Islamic State militants are the biggest cause of death for Peshmerga forces. ISIS has adopted the tactic of heavily seeding all of the territory it withdraws from with the devices with the intent of slowing down Peshmerga advances. Some IEDs are also intentionally left in fields and homes to target civilians according to Kurdish officials. We go to the frontlines with a Kurdish military engineer team specialized in dismantling the devices, and speak to a farmer who is affected by IEDs. Mining NGO MAG also weighs in on the issue, as does the mayor of the Kurdish city of Makhmour, whose community is still dealing with getting rid of massive amounts of IEDs ISIS left in August.

Story can be extended with interviews of experts on mine dismantling and victims of the explosive devices.

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War Relics Continue to Plague Vietnam
Quang Tri, Vietnam
By Sean Kimmons
02 Jun 2014

QUANG TRI PROVINCE, Vietnam – A demining team carefully removes a pile of rusty explosives – each one still able to kill or maim – from a quiet farm field where fierce fighting once raged during the Vietnam War.

Shortly after the lethal mortars and grenade launcher rounds were taken away, an anxious farmer in her 50s marched over to the de-mining team and expressed her frustration to everyone around.

“I’m afraid of more bombs but I need to work,” she said. “I have to risk death just to earn money.”

The farmer, Van Thi Nga, stumbled across the relics while growing vegetables, the main source of income in her village. Her village sits along the war’s former demarcation zone and is strewn with hidden explosives.

However, there was no time for sympathy as the busy team frankly told her to report other unexploded ordinance (UXO) if she sees more. The bomb disposal experts then did a brief sweep with a metal detector and left to their next call of duty: an unstable bomb in a nearby rice paddy.

De-mining teams in Vietnam face an epic task where roughly 20 percent of the country is littered with UXO. UXO includes everything from bombs, landmines, munitions, and other explosives.

This central Vietnamese province is the worst-hit region, with more than 80 percent of the land still peppered with deadly devices after nearly 350,000 tons of explosives were used.

In total, almost four times more firepower was deployed on Vietnam during the Vietnam War than in all of World War II.

Around 10 percent of the explosives used in the Vietnam War are believed to not have detonated. As a result, up to 800,000 tons of UXO remain in the communist state. That’s even beyond the 635,000 tons of bombs that US forces dropped in the entire Korean War.

“The contamination in Vietnam is huge,” said Portia Stratton, country director of Mine Advisory Group, the largest non-profit de-mining group in Vietnam. “We’re still finding the same number of UXO that we were finding [when we started here] 15 years ago.”

‘Lagging behind’

Introduced in 2010, Vietnam’s mine action strategy came years after other UXO-infested nations including its neighbors, Laos and Cambodia. which were also heavily bombed to jam communist supply routes in the war.

“Vietnam is lagging behind a lot of other countries that have significant levels of contamination,” Stratton said. “We still don’t have a full picture of what our efforts have achieved.”

Since the end of the war in 1975, war remnants have killed more than 42,000 Vietnamese and injured at least 62,000 others, according to preliminary statistics by the government.

But with no national database in place, UXO incidents and demining operations cannot be accurately tracked while affected remote areas go unnoticed, advocates say.

In March, the Vietnam National Mine Action Center was launched to provide more oversight in the secretive state, which already had similar mine action bodies at the national level.

Stratton warns that the new center may serve as another bureaucratic layer and further delay mine action services that often take up to one year to get government approval.

Middle-income blues

Despite its fondness for red tape, Vietnam has revived itself as one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia after devastating warfare with US forces.

In 2009, the country gained lower middle-income status but the distinction has created a sort of Catch-22 paradox as foreign donors redirect funds elsewhere.

“There’s more of a challenge now to enable us to secure funding,” said Rickard Hartmann, country director for APOPO, a Belgium-based demining group. “We are very happy that Vietnam is developing but at the same time more and more donors are reducing their support.”

The 50-member APOPO group began operations in January after the German non-profit Solidarity Service International pulled out its 160 personnel from the area, leaving a two-thirds reduction in skilled labor, he said.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung recently called on the global community to boost support saying that “since the explosive contamination is so great, Vietnam truly needs assistance and support.”

Vietnamese officials claim that $10 billion is required to completely rid existing UXO – a feat that would take up to 300 years for the country to do on its own, they say.

Around 35,000 hectares of unsafe land is cleared annually but the state has ambitious plans to nearly triple that target to 100,000 hectares if external aid is increased.

Yet the government spends about $80 million on mine action, or less than 0.20 percent of its national budget.

Deputy Minister of Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment Nguyen The Phuong admitted that the meager funds “could not meet the actual needs of mine action activities.”

He also cited poor coordination between state and provincial entities, lack of human resources, and technology and equipment shortages as other factors hindering progress.

A 2012 assessment on Vietnam’s mine action program, conducted by the Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Deming, revealed that the government and state-connected private investors bankrolled 92 percent of activities from 2007 to 2011.

The government currently expects foreign donors to cover about half of the estimated $368 million required for mine action from 2013 to 2015, according to a 2013 update on the national strategy.

But foreign donors only doled out $8.7 million for mine action in 2012, with the US contributing more than 40 percent of the total, the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor reported.

Vietnam may be entitled to more foreign aid if they signed the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions that prohibits their use.

Even so, landmines are seen as legitimate weapons for border security. Officials also reject the cluster bomb pact since the 10-year deadline for member states to finish land clearance is unrealistic to them, they said.

Ironically, cluster bombs would likely delay the country due to how they were dispersed in the war. Hundreds of cluster bombs – each about the size of a tennis ball – were packed inside large airdropped canisters that scattered the bomblets over wide swathes of the countryside.

Although designed to explode on impact, many of them did not.

Enlisting local help

To deal with the funding shortfalls, bomb experts rely on villagers to be their eyes and ears for war remnants.

“To clean up every bomb and mine in Vietnam is impossible,” said Hien Ngo, spokesperson for Project Renew, a demining group that also empowers locals. “It’s a daunting task that will never likely be achieved, so we want to make sure that the land is safe by educating people about the risks.”

Ngo has already seen the value of his group’s education programs that are taught in schools and to those who come to their mine action visitor center in the province’s largest city.

He recalled when a 12-year-old boy halted a crew driving to another call and led them to a cache of 180 explosives concealed in the dense jungle.

“The boy learned what to do after he visited the center,” he said. “Now people are helping us report explosives.”

Nguyen Xuan Tuan, 29, wished he knew the dangers of war relics before he scavenged for scrap metal at a deserted US military base back in 2002.

After his friend found something on a metal detector, Tuan sliced the ground with his shovel. But as he dug deeper, he struck a cluster bomb.

The blast severed his right hand, cut deep scars across his body and knocked him into a three-day coma.

“I woke up seeing my parents crying and I realized that I was in a miserable situation,” he said. “The only thing I could do was cry and think that this was the end of my life.”

Tuan, one of the nation’s five Ban Advocates that campaign against cluster bombs worldwide, is now using his experience to educate others throughout the province.

“I’ve been very lucky to be exposed to the outside world,” he said. “In rural areas, many voices are not being heard and people do not receive the assistance they need.”

By the end of 2015, Vietnam aims to develop a national database and expand risk education to the most dangerous areas.

The US also continues to be the top donor for mine action activities in Vietnam, giving over $62 million so far, officials say.

But 50 years after the US military drastically built up its presence to counter evasive communist fighters, Ngo said that both sides have failed to tackle the aftermath and must “step up” their efforts.

“Although we see positive developments to make the war’s legacy finally history, bombs and mines are still killing and injuring people,” he said.

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ISIS in Syria: An Inside Look (Part 1)
Syria
By ttm contributor 31
07 Jan 2014

NOTE: The video clips in this collection were obtained by Transterra Media from a source who received it from a member of ISIS who defected from the group. According to the source the videos were recorded in the town of Zir and other locations in Syria between January and June, 2014.
Transterra Media cannot independently verify the accuracy of this content. The appearance of this video on the Transterra Media (TTM) website does not in any way constitute endorsement by TTM of any claims or statements made in the video.

This video shows ISIS fighters carrying out different activities in Deir ez-Zur province, Syria.
Fighters appear shooting, rigging a car with explosives, crossing a river to fight government forces in the Deir ez-Zur air base, and calling on others to join them in jihad.

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LANDMINES AND CHILDREN
QUITO, Angola, Kosovo, The African bush
By serengeti1 serengeti1
05 May 2013

There is one landmine for every 17 children in the world, says UNICEF. This means one landmine for every 52 people in more than 70 countries. This is a link to a riveting story: it's about things that go boom! and children without legs.

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Surviving In A Ghost Town, Halep, Syr...
Aleppo, Syria
By Michele Pero
02 Dec 2012

Downtown Halep, quarters of Bustan al-Pasha and Sakhour, December 2012.
The town is partially controlled by the brigades of the Free Syria Army. Snipers, hidden in isolated buildings, necessitate a fast crossing through the large and open avenues. Some people try to continue their normal life downtown, still living in their houses, even if the majority have left for the refugee camps at the borders of the country.

MIGs and helicopters of the Bashar Al Assad regime are continuously releasing rockets and barrel-bombs over the buildings. A quick look at the sky, some strikes, the blast and gray smoke lifts not too far from where we are. Another building hit, some people wounded and injured will be soon added to the list.

Daily life in Halep is pretty scary. The regime is now releasing big barrels filled with explosives. They release these bombs over the town, anywhere they like. No targets are aimed. They throw them here and there. No one is safe in any shelter. Shelters actually don’t work. Halep is a very ancient town and buildings are very weak. In spite of that, some citizens are still keeping their homes there, still trying to lead a normal life, together with the rebels of the Free Syria Army which fight on two front lines: one against the regular forces of the regime, one other against the Kurdish minority which supports the regime. In the middle, the citizens of Halep, try to survive in a ghost town, partially destroyed, under the daily bombings of such madness.

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Surviving In A Ghost Town, Halep, Syr...
Aleppo, Syria
By Michele Pero
02 Dec 2012

Downtown Halep, quarters of Bustan al-Pasha and Sakhour, December 2012.
The town is partially controlled by the brigades of the Free Syria Army. Snipers, hidden in isolated buildings, necessitate a fast crossing through the large and open avenues. Some people try to continue their normal life downtown, still living in their houses, even if the majority have left for the refugee camps at the borders of the country.

MIGs and helicopters of the Bashar Al Assad regime are continuously releasing rockets and barrel-bombs over the buildings. A quick look at the sky, some strikes, the blast and gray smoke lifts not too far from where we are. Another building hit, some people wounded and injured will be soon added to the list.

Daily life in Halep is pretty scary. The regime is now releasing big barrels filled with explosives. They release these bombs over the town, anywhere they like. No targets are aimed. They throw them here and there. No one is safe in any shelter. Shelters actually don’t work. Halep is a very ancient town and buildings are very weak. In spite of that, some citizens are still keeping their homes there, still trying to lead a normal life, together with the rebels of the Free Syria Army which fight on two front lines: one against the regular forces of the regime, one other against the Kurdish minority which supports the regime. In the middle, the citizens of Halep, try to survive in a ghost town, partially destroyed, under the daily bombings of such madness.

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ERWs
Liberated Territories, Western Sahara
By Docphot
13 May 2011

Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) include cluster munitions and landmines.

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Landmine Action
Liberated Territories, Western Sahara
By Docphot
13 May 2011

Landmine Action is a British charity working on behalf of the UN to clear the Western Sahara of Landmines and ERWs. They train and employ local Saharawi, both men and women to do the extremely dangerous work.

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The Saharawi In Western Sahara
Western Sahara
By U.S. Editor
13 May 2011

The Saharawi have been in exile since 1974, which makes it the second longest refugee situation in the world after Palestine. Western Sahara camps are well established camps which feature services such as schools, public transport systems, vehicle re-cycling and health care facilities.