Kurds returning to Kobani, Syrian Kurdistan. Photo: AFP

Ekurd Daily, March 29th, 2015

KOBANI, Syrian Kurdistan,— An estimated 40 people have been killed by mines and booby traps in Kobani in the two months since Kurdish forces evicted Islamic State group (IS) from the Kurdish city in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava), a local official told Rudaw.

“Since the day we started to clean up Kobani and nearby areas at least 40 people have been killed and dozens wounded by ISIS mines,” Nasan Ahmed, health minister of the Kobani canton, said Saturday.

He appealed for immediate international help to clean up Kobani from the huge numbers of mines and booby traps planted by ISIS on roads as well as in abandoned schools and homes.

Much of Kobani was turned to rubble since IS escalated an offensive in September against the city. Residents fled in huge numbers, mostly to Turkey and the Kurdistan Region, as Kurdish forces stood up to an IS siege that ended after months of fighting that included near-daily air raids by coalition forces. Kurdish forces declared the city liberated on January 26.

Authorities in Kobani had warned residents not to return until the city had been cleared of ordnance, but many former residents have been ignoring that advice and returning in large numbers.

Mustafa Anifi, a member of Kurdish National Council (KNC) in Syria, has warned returnees to stay away from dead IS bodies because many are booby trapped.

“Don’t touch dead IS bodies, most of them are booby trapped and it is the responsibility of the authorities to take care of the matter, not civilians,” he said.

Since liberation, efforts have been ongoing by Kurds to rebuild Kobani, which had a pre-war population of some 200,000 residents.

The city has become a symbol of Kurdish resistance, after a combined force of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and some 150 Peshmerga troops from Iraqi Kurdistan – backed by coalition air power – forced IS to retreat and abandon efforts of capturing the city.

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