Karima, one of the instructors, holds up photos of some of the most common types of improvised explosive devices in the area.
“What do you do if we find something strange on the ground?” she asks the class.
“We must tell our parents or a grown-up what we found,” eight-year-old Ghossun replies. “We shouldn’t touch it.”
“And we cannot play in an area that we don’t know,” her classmate Aisha adds. “It can be very dangerous.”
The sheer volume of explosive hazards — incendiary bombs and cluster munitions dropped from the air, artillery projectiles, mortars, rockets, landmines, and improvised explosive devices — has left a deadly legacy that will haunt Syria for many years to come. Despite mine clearance operations, the mapping of dangerous areas and education, accidents are unfortunately common, Karima says as her session ends.
“I would be devastated if my child would fall victim to one of these devices,” she says. “Whenever I finish one of these classes, I feel proud to have helped the children understand how to protect themselves. After all, it is our responsibility to the younger generation.”