+   *    +     +     
About Us 
The Issues 
Our Research Products 
Order Publications 
Press Room 
Resources for Monitor Researchers 
Email Notification Receive notifications when this Country Profile is updated.


Send us your feedback on this profile

Send the Monitor your feedback by filling out this form. Responses will be channeled to editors, but will not be available online. Click if you would like to send an attachment. If you are using webmail, send attachments to .


Last Updated: 28 November 2013

Mine Ban Policy

Mine ban policy overview

Mine Ban Treaty status

State not party

Pro-mine ban UNGA voting record

Abstained on Resolution 67/32 in December 2012

Participation in Mine Ban Treaty meetings

Did not attend the Twelfth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in December 2012 or the intersessional meetings in May 2013

Key developments

Government forces are using antipersonnel landmines in the internal conflict that began in 2011. Rebel forces are using victim-activated improvised explosive devices (IEDs), as well as antivehicle mines


The Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty. Its position has not changed in recent years. While expressing concern for the plight of mine victims and support for risk education and other efforts to protect civilians, the Syrian government has stated that it views antipersonnel mines as necessary weapons for national defense and considers Israel’s continued annexation/occupation of part of the Golan Heights as a key reason for not joining the treaty.[1]

Syria did not attend any Mine Ban Treaty meetings in 2012 or during the first half of 2013. It has rarely participated in Mine Ban Treaty meetings as an observer, and has not done so since 2006.[2]

Syria is not party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW).

Production, transfer, and stockpiling

Syria is not known to have produced or exported antipersonnel mines. The size and origin of Syria’s mine stockpile is not known, but it is believed to be large and consist mainly of Soviet/Russian-manufactured mines. In 2011 and 2012, government forces used PMN-2 antipersonnel mines and TMN-46 antivehicle mines, indicating that these mines are stockpiled.


After the Syrian Army was deployed to quell anti-government demonstrations in April 2011, the protests evolved into a conflict across the country that was continuing unabated as of October 2013. From late 2011 through 2012 and during 2013, Syrian government forces have used antipersonnel landmines including Soviet-manufactured PMN-2 mines, while non-state armed groups (NSAGs) have used IEDs that are victim-activated.

On 1 November 2011, a Syrian official told media, “Syria has undertaken many measures to control the borders, including planting mines.”[3] The ICBL expressed concern at Syria’s “disregard” for the safety of civilians seeking to cross the border to flee the violence in Syria, calling on Syria to immediately stop using antipersonnel mines and to clear those already emplaced.[4]

In March 2012, Human Rights Watch (HRW) documented new mine use on the Turkish border near Hasanieih (PMN-2 mines), Derwand, Jiftlek, Kherbet al-Joz—toward Alzouf and al-Sofan, Armana, Bkafla, Hatya, Darkosh, Salqin, and Azmeirin.[5] New mine use on the Lebanese border was reported in al-Buni,[6] Tel Kalakh,[7] Kneissi,[8] Heet (PMN-2 and TMN-46 mines),[9] and Masharih al-Qaa.[10]

HRW recorded injuries to three civilians in October 2012 from mine use by the government forces in the village Kharbit al-Jouz, near the Turkish border. Before they abandoned a position, the Syrian military emplaced up to 200 antipersonnel mines.[11]

An April 2013 video posted by rebel forces showing antivehicle mines laid on a road in al-Raqqa governorate asserts that government forces were responsible for the mine use.[12]

It has been alleged that government forces used antipersonnel mines during the May/June 2013 battle for Qusair, a town on the border with Lebanon. On 4 June, a witness who was helping to evacuate civilians from Qusair informed HRW that civilians were warned against attempting to enter Lebanon without using government checkpoints because routes across the border were affected by government-planted landmines.[13]

Several states have condemned Syria’s use of antipersonnel mines since early 2012, including Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, Turkey, and the United States, as well as the European Union.

Prior to the current conflict, Syria was last believed to have used mines in the 1982 conflict with Israel in Lebanon.

Use by rebel forces

During 2012 and 2013, there were reports of Syrian rebels manufacturing and using IEDs, primarily remotely-detonated roadside bombs.[14] More information has emerged about rebel manufacture and use of victim-activated IEDs, which are prohibited by the Mine Ban Treaty’s definition of an antipersonnel mine. In July 2013, Wired published a profile on rebel arms manufacturers in Aleppo, including one manufacturer who showed a reporter victim-activated IEDs (using a pressure plate) that he was working on. The metallic devices looked like “old-fashioned fire-alarm bells.”[15]

In August 2012, a Syrian rebel told the media that they intended to re-use government antipersonnel mines that have been removed from the ground.[16] The ICBL called on the Free Syrian Army and all forces involved in the conflict in Syria to forbid their combatants from using landmines.[17]

It has been alleged that rebel forces used antipersonnel landmines at Qusair, which fell to government forces in early June 2013.[18] According to the Associated Press, in the year prior to the defeat at Qusair “rebels holding the town had heavily fortified it with tunnels, mine fields, and booby traps.”[19] According to one witness from the town, the Syrian military removed mines from around Qusair and cleared roads after the town fell.[20]

There has been some rebel use of antivehicle mines, although the extent is not known. A video uploaded to YouTube in March 2013 shows an Islamic rebel group planting antivehicle mines on a bridge.[21] A video uploaded from Daraa in May 2013 shows IEDs being made from antivehicle mines and detonation cord.[22] A video uploaded on 3 October 2013 shows rebels planting antivehicle mines on a road near Tartus.[23]


[1] Telephone interview with Milad Atieh, Director, Department of International Organizations and Conventions, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 29 January 2008; and interview with Mohd Haj Khaleel, Department of International Organizations and Conventions, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Damascus, 25 February 2007. See also, statement of Syria, Seminar on Military and Humanitarian Issues Surrounding the Mine Ban Treaty, Amman, 19–21 April 2004.

[2] A Geneva-based Syrian diplomat attended as an observer the Seventh Meeting of State Parties in Geneva in September 2006.

[3] “Assad troops plant land mines on Syria-Lebanon border,” The Associated Press, 1 November 2011, www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/assad-troops-plant-land-mines-on-syria-lebanon-border-1.393200.

[4] ICBL, “ICBL publicly condemns reports of Syrian forces laying mines,” Press release, 2 November 2011, www.icbl.org/index.php/icbl/Library/News-Articles/Condemnation_Syria_allegations.

[5] “Syria: Army Planting Banned Landmines: Witnesses Describe Troops Placing Mines Near Turkey, Lebanon Borders,” HRW, 13 March 2012, www.hrw.org/news/2012/03/13/syria-army-planting-banned-landmines.

[6] “2 Syrian Nationals Wounded by Landmine at Northern Border-Crossing,” Naharnet, 9 February 2012, www.naharnet.com/stories/en/29506-2-syrian-nationals-wounded-by-landmine-at-northern-border-crossing.

[7] See testimony of 15-year-old boy from Tal Kalakh who lost his right leg to a landmine. “Syria: Army Planting Banned Landmines: Witnesses Describe Troops Placing Mines Near Turkey, Lebanon Borders,” HRW, 13 March 2012, www.hrw.org/news/2012/03/13/syria-army-planting-banned-landmines.

[8] “Syrian farmer killed in mine explosion at Lebanon border,” The Daily Star, 17 December 2011.

[9] On March 9, The Washington Post published a photo of dirt-covered PMN-2 antipersonnel mines and TMN-46 antivehicle mines that it reported were planted by the Syrian army on the outskirts of the Syrian village of Heet.

[10] “Syria plants mines along Lebanon border,” The Daily Star, 13 June 2012. For information about an injury at an unidentified location on the Syria-Lebanese border, see “Lebanon-Syria border blast wounds 3,” Agence France-Presse, 29 July 2012, reliefweb.int/report/lebanon/lebanon-syria-border-blast-wounds-3-medic.

[11] Stephanie Nebehay, “Syria using mines and cluster bombs on civilians: campaigners,” Reuters, 29 November 2012, www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/29/us-syria-crisis-landmines-idUSBRE8AS0RF20121129.

[12] Al-Raqqa, the government implants landmines around the team,” YouTube, 19 April 2013, www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUgUOgzG__o&list=PLPC0Udeof3T6NPdHiWgDvc8zAzafWxSZC&index=2.

[13] Email from HRW employee, 5 June 2013.

[14] “IED bombs new Syrian rebel strategy,” BBC, 23 June 2012, www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-18580175; CJ Chivers, “Syrian Rebels Hone Bomb Skills to Even the Odds,” The New York Times, 18 July 2012, www.nytimes.com/2012/07/19/world/middleeast/syrian-rebels-hone-bomb-skills-military-analysis.html?pagewanted=all; Luke Harding and Ian Black, “Syria’s rebels add explosives expertise to guerrilla tactics,” The Guardian, 1 August 2012, www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jul/31/syria-rebels-explosives-expertise-tactics; and Christopher John Chivers, “Syria’s Dark Horses, With Lathes: Makeshift Arms Production in Aleppo Governorate, Part I,” The New York Times At War blog, 19 September 2012, atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/19/syrias-dark-horses-with-lathes-makeshift-arms-production-in-aleppo-governorate-part-i/.

[15] Matthieu Aikins, “Makers of war,” Wired, July 2013, www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/07/diy-arms-syria/.

[16] In an interview an unidentified Syrian rebel stated, “We defuse the mines planted by the Assad army and we will plant these mines for his soldiers.” Jane Ferguson, “Syria rebels to reuse regime landmines,” Al Jazeera, 1 August 2012, www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/08/20128145346410186.html.

[17] ICBL, “Syrian opposition forces urged not to use landmines,” Press release, 2 August 2012, www.icbl.org/index.php/icbl/Library/News-Articles/Syrian-rebel-landmine-urge.

[18] According to the London-based al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper, Hezbollah and Syrian Army units conducting mine clearance in Qusair found dozens of mines provided by Hezbollah to Hamas in 2007–2008. Sources hinted that Hamas may have provided the mines to Syrian rebels. The report has not been confirmed by Hezbollah’s leadership. Roi Kais, “Report: Mines found in Qusair provided by Hezbollah to Hamas,” Ynet, 10 June 2013, www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4390325,00.html. See also: “SYRIA Fsa Rebel deploying Anti personnel mines Pretending to be Clearing Them Syria War 2013,” YouTube, 19 September 2013, www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUbCIHVS1aY.

[19] Sarah El Deeb, “Syrian rebels reeling from loss of Qusair,” Associated Press, 11 June 2013, bigstory.ap.org/article/syrian-rebels-reeling-loss-qusair.

[20] Albert Aji and Sarah El Deeb, “Syrian army captures Qusair, key border town, in blow to rebels,” Associated Press, 5 June 2013, www.mercurynews.com/ci_23393574/syrian-army-captures-qusair-key-border-town-blow.

[21] “The Islamic Rafiqa Martyrs Brigade affiliate for Trustees Brigade of al-Raqqa booby trapping a bridge,” YouTube, 19 April 2013, www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJbNl0Mxrvo&list=PLPC0Udeof3T6NPdHiWgDvc8zAzafWxSZC.

[22] “The process of blasting barriers, by the party and club from the heroes of the FSA,” YouTube, 24 May 2013, www.youtube.com/watch?v=uo45OzFAhWE&list=PLPC0Udeof3T6NPdHiWgDvc8zAzafWxSZC.

[23] “Horan commando brigade: planting mines and cutting the road between al-Talbeen and the al-Khadar brigade,” YouTube, 2 October 2013, www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7qF3ND_Nzs&list=PLPC0Udeof3T6NPdHiWgDvc8zAzafWxSZC.