Keating Calls for Removal of Unexploded Ordnances in Syria and Iraq

William Keating

WASHINGTON D.C. – Cape and Islands Congressman Bill Keating has introduced legislation to require the Department of Defense to develop and implement a strategy for removing unexploded ordnance in Syria and Iraq.

The bill, titled the Unexploded Ordnance Removal Act, specifically requires the U.S. government to provide assessments about threats posed by improvised explosive devices, landmines, and other ordnance to US strategic and military populations as well as the countries’ civilian populations.

Keating, a senior member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and ranking member on its Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade Subcommittee said, “One imminent focus of our attention needs to be unexploded ordnance there. The Syrian civil war and the rise of ISIS has caused a proliferation of mines around civilian population centers, including schools, hospitals, and places of worship. Worse, oftentimes, these devices are hidden in everyday objects such as refrigerators or toys.” 

“If these explosives are not cleared and continue to maim and kill civilians, including children, the lasting insecurity will provide the perfect environment for the rise of other terrorist groups.”

An estimated 10-15 million landmines are still hidden in Iraq and the majority of injuries and deaths caused by them are to children.

According to Human Rights Watch, in two months – August and September of 2016 – 69 civilians were killed by explosive devices, including 19 children.

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