Wildfires hit western Syria, one reported dead
Fires are spreading through forests around Latakia in regime-controlled Syria, with at least one person killed in the blaze, according to local sources.
Armed forces have come to the aid of emergency fire services to try and control the spread of the fires, which began on Tuesday evening and have affected more than 1,000 hectares of land.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor reported that a member of the regime’s forces died while fighting the fire in the Latakia countryside. Local residents have reportedly suffered from suffocation due to smoke inhalation.
Livestock and property have already been destroyed in several villages, and locals say they fear that the wildfires, which have spread through villages and open grazing spaces, may begin to spread even faster.
"Our once-green and beautiful mountains have become barren," one resident told The New Arab's sister site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, adding that "some of this woodland was hundreds of years old."
The Latakia fire brigade have alerted regional branches of the service to come to their aid to try and get a handle on the wildfire.
Regime-aligned newspaper Al-Wehda claimed that the situation is under some level of control.
"Control has been gained over the western and southernmost parts of the fire, while work continues to stop it spreading to the north," the newspaper reported.
The fires have struck western Syria after a sustained spike in temperatures accompanied by strong winds.
Latakia has faced widespread fires in recent years stretching over thousands of hectares, damaging farmland, forests and wilderness.