The following article was originally published in Rudaw on September 19, 2016.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—Kurdish bomb disposal teams have defused more than 13,000 booby traps and landmines left behind by Islamic State (ISIS) militants since the start of the war in August 2014, a Peshmerga bombs experts said.
“Every day we are on duty to search for bombs,” said the expert. “We suggest we should participate in the battle for Mosul, too. We are fully ready and we make sure that our people carry out our task in the best way possible.”
Some improvised explosives are disposed of by detonating them in open fields nearby Peshmerga frontlines.
In addition to improvised explosives and landmines, the Peshmerga have also defused 800 munitions, cleared 240 homes of bombs, and destroyed 6 tons of TNT.
The bomb disposal team has undergone 10 training courses from coalition forces, but they need more equipment as they are defusing on average more than 17 bombs a day.
“Our team has great skill in defusing bombs as we have been working at it for more than two years. But we need more advanced equipment to reduce damage. For example, there is a kind of armored vehicle that coalition forces are using which detects bombs from a far distance. We need that, too,” said another Peshmerga bomb expert.
The ISIS bombs the Peshmerga are confronting have been handmade by the militants.
As the battle for Mosul gets closer day-by-day, it is expected that ISIS militants will employ hundreds or thousands of bombs to halt advances from Kurdish and coalition forces. In Manbij over the summer, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) encountered as many as 600 ISIS improvised explosive devices concentrated in a small area.
Many Peshmerga soldiers have been killed by bombs and mines planted by retreating ISIS forces to slow Kurdish advances.
Awat Dilshad, whose Peshmerga brother was recently killed by an ISIS bomb, said that bombs on Peshmerga frontlines have to be removed, so that no more children — like his nephew Daniel — become “fatherless.”
“I hope Peshmerga soldiers take care of these explosives in the battlefields,” he said.
Abdulkhaliq Dilshad was killed by an ISIS bomb on the Daquq front in southern Kirkuk a few months ago.
Access the article above in Rudaw.