Muhammad Najem

Battling the Flames in Northwestern Syria

In the current month of July, the countryside of Syria Idlib and Aleppo has witnessed a devastating surge in the number of fires, posing a grave threat to both lives and the environment. As of July 23, firefighting teams have already responded to 370 fires, with the toll surpassing previous months’ daily counts.

One of the most significant incidents occurred on Thursday, July 27, when a massive fire broke out in a forested area near the village of Deir Othman in the western countryside of Idlib. The White Helmets’ firefighting teams bravely took on the largest fire of the season, battling it for nine grueling hours. However, the challenge was immense due to soaring temperatures, strong winds, and the rugged terrain, hindering access for firefighting vehicles.

Despite their heroic efforts, tragedy struck when the fire spread to two houses, resulting in their complete destruction. Several volunteers and civilians also suffered from suffocation and shortness of breath due to inhaling the fumes.

Throughout the month, the White Helmets have been on high alert, responding to fires in different regions of northwestern Syria, including the northeastern countryside of Lattakia, where concerns arose about the potential spread of fires from areas controlled by regime forces.

This critical situation prompted the White Helmets to increase their readiness levels and strategically deploy advanced response points in forested areas, ensuring swift action in case of any fire outbreak. They have also been actively engaged in educating civilians and various professionals about fire awareness and response, aiming to minimize fire damage and preserve lives and property.

The fires in northwestern Syria not only endanger human lives but also pose a threat to the environment. Forests play a crucial role in maintaining ecological balance, absorbing greenhouse gases, mitigating climate change, and preventing soil erosion. With significant vegetation loss already due to the conditions of war and displacement, the White Helmets’ efforts are more vital than ever to safeguard lives, preserve the environment, and maintain this delicate balance.

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