Fires devour thousands of hectares of forests in Hama & Latakia governorates, while the Syrian regime uses state resources for security services & bombing operations

Massive fires that broke out in forests and agricultural land in the mountainous Syrian coastal areas and Sahel al Ghab in Hama on September 2, 2020, are still spreading and expanding, having already destroyed thousands of hectares of forest and farmland in the six days since they began. It’s noteworthy that the Syrian regime which rules these areas is extremely indifferent to the suffering of the peoples there and the devastation wreaked on the country’s natural habitat. SNHR has noticed that the Syrian regime has made no move to allocate material or human resources to protect the people or preserve Syria’s environmental resources and natural wealth, having already destroyed whole cities, displaced their residents and used helicopters and warplanes to target people with barrel bombs. We have not observed any deployment of these helicopters and military forces to extinguish these fires. The Syrian regime’s indifference has contributed directly to the alarming spread of these devastating fires. SNHR can confirm that the fires which broke out in the aforementioned areas have destroyed thousands of hectares of Cedar and Artemisia Reserve in the Slanfa district of Latakia suburbs, which is home to rare plants and animals, as well as burning dozens of homes, killing livestock and destroying farmland. SNHR is so far unable to identify the cause of the horrendous fires, whose losses add to the suffering caused by the human, economic and social disasters resulting from the regime survival, once again showing that the rulers’ desire to remain in power comes at the expense of the Syrian state, the country’s natural environment and its society, with the leaders indifferent to the terrible price.

Photo shared online on September 4, 2020, shows the aftermath of fires that broke out in the Cedar and Artemisia reserve in Slenfa district