Syria overtook Afghanistan last year as the country with the highest number of recorded casualties from landmines and explosive remnants of war, a monitoring group said Wednesday.
The Landmines Monitor said Syria had registered the most victims for the first time since its annual reports began in 1999, with 2,729 people either killed or injured.
Colombia recorded the most casualties from 2005 to 2007, and Afghanistan has recorded the most since then until last year.
Globally in 2020, the report said at least 7,073 casualties of mines and explosive remnants of war, including 2,492 deaths, were recorded across 54 territories.
The overall number of casualties was below the peak of 9,440 reached in 2016, but up from 5,853 in 2019.
“This was mostly the result of increased armed conflict and contamination with mines of an improvised nature,” the monitor said.
The number remains far higher than the all-time low of 3,456 registered in 2013.
Some 164 countries are bound by the landmark Mine Ban Treaty struck in 1997.
“The continued high number of casualties and disappointingly slow clearance outputs highlight serious and persistent challenges to treaty implementation,” said monitor editor Marion Loddo.
“If we are to reach a mine-free world, states must redouble their efforts toward speedy implementation of their obligations and a much more efficient distribution of resources among all affected states and territories.”
Where the age, combat status and gender of victims were known, 80 percent of casualties were civilians — of which half were children — while males made up 85 percent of the victims.
This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.