By Omar al-Jaffal, for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.v
“Ramadi has turned into ruins,” said Ouda, a soldier who has been fighting in the Iraqi army’s Seventh Division since mid-2015. Ouda took part in the liberation of Anbar province from the Islamic State (IS), which took hold of the city of Ramadi in May 2015.
Al-Monitor met Ouda (a pseudonym), who is a resident of Baghdad, in one of the cafes of the capital during his day off.
Ouda described the situation in Ramadi to Al-Monitor on condition his real name not be used, because as a soldier he is not allowed to speak with the media.
“Ramadi’s houses and streets are all filled with mines. The entire city will crumble as a result of the vast quantity of mines left by IS,” he said.
Ouda, who is in his mid-30s, said that IS has booby-trapped everything. “Mines exploded all over the place as we moved inside the city. This is IS’ style. It destroys everything.”
The High Level United Nations mission to Ramada confirmed this situation, estimating that the city could be one of the worst mine-infested cities in the world. The mission’s statement followed the visit to Ramadi on March 22 of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) resident representative and UN resident and humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, Lise Grande.