The color of ash dominates the entire mountain ridges surrounding Qardaha, south of Lattakia, a week after firefighting teams controlled the worst wave of fires that engulfed the Syrian coast in decades.
A number of villagers stand in front of their modest homes on a small cliff in the town of Bsout in the city of Qardaha. They look with regret at the olive groves and the hundreds of acres of pine and cypress trees destroyed by the fire.
In the presence of the village mayor, the residents count their losses to government employees: “Here is an olive grove of 6 dunums and a smaller grove next to it...”
The employees do not scrutinize these details as it is impossible to know what these orchards contained before turning into ashes. They write what they hear. Only farmers hope that this information will bring some financial or relief support.
An almost final count of the Lattakia Agriculture Directorate estimated the size of the damage at 7,190 hectares, with around 1.3 million fruit trees that were completely burned, including 1.1 million olive trees, 200,000 citrus trees, 3,000 apple trees, and 44,000 trees of various types.
Civil aid began to reach the villages of Qardaha. In cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs, NGOs sent trucks containing basic food such as sugar and rice and allocated sums of money to people of the affected areas. The government pledged to provide 1.53 billion pounds to about 150 fire-stricken villages and towns.
In the villages of Blouran and Umm al-Touyur, north of Lattakia, the fire destroyed large areas of land. The traditional Syrian resort destination has turned black due to the fire.
More than a hundred firefighting vehicles, heavy machinery, and helicopters of the Syrian army participated in the attempt to control the fires that first broke out on Friday, Oct. 9, in 65 sites and then spread to 30 other locations, which dispersed the efforts of the civil defense teams.