Russian engineers destroy 1,500 explosives in major Deir ez-Zor demining operation
A group of 170 mine clearance specialists were sent to the Syrian city shortly after the army lifted the blockade of Deir ez-Zor. On Thursday, the Russian defense ministry announced that the detachment from the International Mine Action Center of the Russian Armed Forces had already made progress in their difficult and dangerous assignment.
In a matter of days, the sappers divided into 10 groups, checked and cleared 8 kilometers of roads, 8 buildings and about 3 hectares of the surrounding terrain. Focusing their work on clearing the streets that lead to vital city social infrastructure – hospitals, water supply, and electricity facilities – the teams, have so far, discovered and destroyed around 1,500 explosive items, including roughly 100 homemade and improvised devices.
“At present, engineering reconnaissance and mine clearance teams are working on clearing roads, roadsides and adjacent buildings at entrances to the city and its outskirts, to ensure the safety of humanitarian convoys sent to the city of Deir ez-Zor,” the defense ministry said.
Russian military officials estimate that specialists will have to clear up to 1,500 hectares of land from explosives in Deir ez-Zor and surrounding areas after Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists booby-trapped the vicinity as they fled.
To help with their assignment, the team of experts was provided with 40 units of special engineering equipment. Russian soldiers are using the latest IMP-S2 mine detectors and OKO-2 radar subsurface sounding devices to unearth explosive devices. They are also using PIPL portable search equipment to locate wire lines, as well as INVO-3M to detect non-contact explosive devices.
Latest armored personnel carriers such as BTR-82AM and armored vehicles “Typhoon” and “Rys” are at the team’s disposal. The Russian engineers are wearing OVR-2-02 suits specially designed for demining.
Furthermore, the sappers deployed a multi-functional robotic unit called the "Uran-6" which weighs up to six tons (12,000 pounds). It is a remote controlled unit which has a number of cameras attached to it, providing all-around vision to its operator. The robot can either carry out a controlled explosion of the detected devices or just destroy the explosives on its way.
This is not the first time that Russian sappers have been summoned to work in Syria. They previously conducted successful mine clearance operations in Aleppo and Palmyra after its liberation from jihadists by the Syrian Army supported by the Russian Air Force.