Middle East

Mine Blast in Central Syria Kills 18: State TV

A Britain-based war monitor said the victims were likely truffle farmers.

At least 18 people were killed when two landmines exploded in the central Syrian province of Hama on Sunday, state TV reported.

At least three others were hurt “in the explosion of two landmines left behind by terrorist groups” in the countryside near the city of Salamiyah, according to the Al-Ikhbariya channel.

The official SANA news agency said all those killed were civilians. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said the victims were likely truffle farmers.

Explosives left in fields, along roads, or even in buildings by all sides in Syria’s almost decade-long conflict have wounded thousands of civilians and killed hundreds of others, according to the Observatory.

Truffle digging has seen many people, including women and children, lose their lives in the country’s center, northeast, and east in recent years.

Across Syria, more than 10 million people live in areas contaminated by explosive hazards, the United Nations has said.

In January, the Action on Armed Violence watchdog recorded 192 deaths in Syria from explosive weapons, 65 percent of which were due to improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and five percent to landmines.

Syria’s war has killed more than 387,000 people and displaced millions since it began a decade ago this month with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.

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