Not to speak about the tractor (that is still waiting at the border), I tell a bit about the visit to the minefields where the tractor should be tested.
It is in a security area, checked by the Jordan military. After showing the security pass, I’m allowed to enter and we follow the paved road running almost straight for more than 30km. On the left hand side we can see far away olive trees and other agricultural farms in the Syrian side, then closer to us a bump (built to prevent mines to migrate into Syria) running all parallel to the border and then, a little bit closer to us the minefield ( in the Jordan side). On the right hand side of the road we are on there is potentially arable land not exploited because of the proximity with mines.
The minefield runs all along the border for 105 km.
This border is crossed by smugglers entering Jordan illegally to bring eroin in the country. Some dummy soldiers hang from the fences of barber wire which define the minefield.
They are used to scary smugglers and prevent them crossing the minefield at night. I learn that smugglers are good deminers as sometimes they are able to defuse mines and remove them from the ground.
The area within and outside from the minefield is in certain points covered by hard lava stones. Here and there across the minefield it can be notice that some stones are collected in small pyramids; they indicate smugglers the safe road to follow, as small pyramids of rocks indicate the paths in mountains.
Apart from risking their life, smugglers are an obstacle to demining activities because they remove mines without a proper recording. All mines here are recorded and maps are available to demining organizations.
Qasam tells me that once per week or once every two weeks a smuggler is injured in this minefield.
Although it’s wet and operations are stopped because of safety, Qasam let me entering a minefield, following him, both wearing personal protecting equipment.
Qasam opens up a passage in the barber wire fence and we are in. Generally, in all minefields where I have been, it’s not very easy to find a mine; one of the major tasks is to find where landmines are. Here we can see five landmines on the surface of the area that still needs to be cleared.
One is here: