Fires brought under control in Syria, Lebanon

DAMASCUS (AFP) – Dozens of fires that ravaged parts of Syria and Lebanon in recent days were brought under control on Sunday, authorities in the two countries said.

In Syria, blazes fuelled by high temperatures broke out on Friday in the provinces of Homs, Tartus and Latakia, where at least three people died, according to the Health Ministry.

Several families had to flee residential areas near the fires, according to media reports.

Syrian Agriculture Minister Mohammed Hassan Qatana said “a total of 156 fires” had broken out, most of them in Latakia and Tartus in the west of the country, state news agency SANA reported.

He said they were brought under control on Sunday.

SANA reported that firefighters and civil defence personnel backed by army helicopters were still active in the areas.

Latakia Governor Ibrahim Khader al-Salem, quoted by SANA, said that “civil defence teams, supported by army units and the population, are now in control of all the fires in the province”.

An army helicopter drops water on a fire at the scene of forest fire in Ras el-Harf village, in the Baabda district, Lebanon. PHOTO: AP