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Firefighters mange to extinguish fires that raged in Mashata al-Helo, Dreikeesh and Hreisoun forests in Tartous

PROVINCES, (ST)- Tireless efforts continued on Saturday to be exerted by firefighting teams in cooperation with the Syrian Arab army, civil defense teams and locals to put out the fires that raged in the forests and farmlands of the countryside of Lattakia, Tartous and Homs aiming to prevent these fires from extending to other areas.

In Tartous, the firefighting teams of the Agriculture Directorate, as well as civil defense teams and citizens managed to extinguish the wildfires that broke out yesterday in different parts of Mashta al-Helo, Dreikeesh, and Hreisoun areas in Tartous countryside while intensive efforts continue to be exerted to extinguish the fires in other areas.

 Earlier, firefighters continued with their mission to extinguish the fires in the forests of Jabal Hamad, Jnenet Rislan and Zaghrin in Dreikeesh area in Tartous eastern countryside.

Three fire-engines, backed by Syrian army units and locals from the areas of Zaghrin, Jneinet Rislan and Jabal Hamad worked heroically to put out the fires.

According to Maher Haidar, one of the citizens in Nahel al-Anazeh village in Banias area of Tartous, said that the fires have damaged nearly 80 percent of the agricultural land in the village, pointing out that the fire is currently heading towards the neighboring village of Al-Ghansala.

In Lattakia countryside, the firefighting and civil defense teams as well as  the Forestry Department of the Directorate of Agriculture and the locals in the province are joining efforts to control the fires that broke out since Thursday midnight and destroyed large areas of wonderful forests and agricultural lands in different areas.

Bassem Douba, Director of the Forestry Department at Lattakia's Agriculture Directorate, told SANA that 85 fires have raged in different sites, but firefighters are doing their best to prevent the fires from reaching the houses.

Rawad Arabi, a fire-engine driver at the Forestry Department of the Lattakia Agriculture Directorate, said that "the spread of fires to houses in the village of Balloran was the most difficult challenge we faced in terms of securing the exit of the people and helping them reach the nearest safe point."

He spoke sadly about the martyrdom of his colleague (Rifaat Fandi), a tractor driver, who was unable yesterday to escape while he was carrying out his national duty in protecting the citizens and their properties.

Ibrahim Haj Omar from the firefighting team of Adra Industrial city in Damascus countryside, said that the team headed to help their colleague in Lattakia to extinguish the fires broken out there . He hailed the cooperation of the locals who risked their lives to save their lovely forests.

In the meantime, the ministers of agriculture and local administration were briefed on the work mechanism in the operation room of the Forestry Department of the Lattakia Agriculture Directorate within the framework of efforts on ground to follow-up the fire suppression operations in the governorate.

 Meantime in Homs, firefighting teams extinguished the fire that broke out today in the forest areas in the village of Hab Nimra in Homs western countryside.

Colonel Othman Juda, commander of the Fire Brigade, said in a statement to SANA reporter that the firefighters are currently dealing with the fire in the village of Al-Jwaikhat in order to fully control it. He added that the fire that broke out in forest lands in Qurb Ali village extends over large areas, noting that heavy machinery and firefighting teams are working to open roads between the forests sites in the village in order to circle the fire and prevent it from spreading to other areas.

Hamda Mustafa