INVESTIGATION AND ANALYSIS:
the lingering terror of the Islamic State
Landmines and IEDs
In terms of explosives, Iraq and Syria are among the most densely contaminated in the world. The extensive emplacement of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and Landmines by the Islamic State (ISIL/ISIS) decimated the agricultural heartland of Iraq. In Syria, Raqqa was so heavily contaminated that it essentially turned into a ‘death trap’ for returning civilians. In what follows, we investigate the extensive use of explosives by the Islamic State.
Utilizing multiple data sources, we explain factors contributing to the unprecedented scale, potency, and semi-industrialized production of explosives contaminating the territory formerly occupied by the Islamic State. We discuss the barriers to decontamination efforts, predicting an increase in IED campaigns by armed non-state actors.
Landmines and Improvised Explosive Devices:
The Lingering Terror of the Islamic State
Studies in Conflict & Terrorism
A “wholesale survey” of the contamination has not been performed on the Islamic State occupied territories. Utilizing available data, we provide a macro analysis of contamination from 2014-2019.
It is important to note that we know of these locations due to victims. Each instance is compiled from testimonial reports from witnesses to detonations or victims that have been able to make it to a clinic or hospital, alerting others of the location.
Unfortunately, we can only provide a conservative estimate.
2. Explosive Zones
The use of explosives by the Islamic State extended well beyond the conventions of war- fare and into contamination of everyday social life. Whereas landmines are traditionally placed on strategic roads or bridges, Islamic State produced IEDs have been found in classrooms and residences, tethered to water facets, bags of food, teddy bears, and even under the Qur’an.