US calls on Syrian government to save lives amid outbreaks of fires

WASHINGTON, USA (North Press) – On Saturday, the United States called on the Syrian government to take “urgent” measures to save the lives of the population due to the outbreak of fires in the country.

The US Embassy in Damascus said in a statement on Saturday, “The US sympathizes with communities in Syria affected by fires which have resulted in the loss of two lives, dozens of injuries, and extensive property damage. Our thoughts are with those affected; the Syrian government must take action now to save lives.”

Large fires have erupted in the countryside of the Latakia, Tartus, and Homs governorates since last Friday, consuming large areas of forested and agricultural land.

The total numbers of fires in the region has reached 156, including 95 fires in Lttakia, 49 in Tartus, and 13 in Homs, according to the statement of the Minister of Agriculture, Muhammad Hassan Qatna, to the semi-official Syrian newspaper al-Watan.

Qatna added that all the fires that broke out last Friday have been put out.

A security source said on Saturday that initial investigations proved that the fires along the Syrian coast towards Homs were deliberately started.

 The Syrian government declared a state of alert amid calls for support and assistance “to contribute in extinguishing the fires.”

On Saturday, the Syrian government transferred ammonium nitrate to reserve warehouses in Jableh after fires approached the Agricultural Bank and the mayor of al-Hafah warned of a “major disaster.”

The chair of the Directorate of Agriculture in Homs, Nazih al-Rifai, told state media that the amount of land burned in Homs governorate has reached about 1,000 dunums (100 hectares) so far.

Meanwhile, firefighting teams, with the support of government helicopters, continue extinguishing fires in the villages of Bseit and Jabal al-Arbaeen in the countryside of Qardaha.

Reporting by Muhammed Khier Ahmed