Human Rights

Fire in northeast Syria engulfs 16 villages


Fires continue to destroy crops throughout the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, with authorities struggling to find the funds to compensate farmers.

Fires in the north of Syria have ceased to dissipate in recent days as they continue to consume agricultural lands to the detriment of villages in the region. Fields of wheat and barley have been engulfed by the fires in and around the villages, with many houses also being affected, forcing many to leave.

About 5 houses were burned. The fire began in the city of Shabak and spread to the Abrah, Nabi Sari, Jabriyah, and then Um Rumman. Four houses were burned in addition to about 100 hectares of wheat”, said a villager living in the region.

A number of villages were burnt down in the Kishka district, motivating the local council to organise a meeting with charity organisations in order to devise plans for compensating the villagers.

The local Kurdish military forces have mooted plans to financially compensate the villagers in the affected region, although the damage inflicted on crops, lands and homes is simply too large for the problem to be dealt with locally. Indeed, a week ago, the political authorities in the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria requested assistance from the International Coalition to help with the effects of the fires.

The primary suspected culprits in the spread of the fires across northern Syria have been ISIS. The fires have occurred in the territories under the military control of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and it is considered that ISIS is attempting to sow seeds of discontent among the local population following the group’s defeat in March 2019 and reversion to an insurgency force.

In the most recent developments, Kurdish media has reported that new fires erupted in the countryside northwest of Qamishli City, with the villages of Doda Tal Sheer and Kharab Kert impacted. Local fire departments have worked over the past few days to extinguish the fires.