GFMC: Fires in Syria

Forest Fire Emergency in Syria

27 October 2004, Updated 15:30 GMT

The following news from the Media reached the GFMC on 27 October p.m. Thegovernment of Turkey has confirmed the dispatch and successful operations ofaerial and ground forces to assist the government of Syria in controlling thefires. The next update will be given if a new situation develops.

SYRIA-FIRE (UPDATE 2) by Reuters

UPDATE 2-Turkey says Syrian border fire under control 

ANKARA, Oct 27 (Reuters) – Syrian and Turkish firefighters on Wednesday brought under control a fire that swept through a 10-km (6-mile) swathe of woodland on the Syrian side of the two countries’ border, Turkish authorities said.
The governor of Turkey’s Hatay province, Abdulkadir Sari, said in a statement one person had died and a Syrian village had been destroyed during the blaze, which raged through the night. Some 25 other Syrian villages had to be evacuated, it said.
The Turkish prime minister’s office said Turkey had sent three planes belonging to the armed forces, two helicopters and three fire engines to the scene after receiving a request for help from Syria.
It said the fire had been brought under control at 9.45 am (0645 GMT).
Ankara’s relations with Damascus have improved since the two countries came close to war in 1998 over Syria’s support for Kurdish guerrillas battling to carve out an ethnic homeland in southeast Turkey.
Damascus shares Ankara’s aversion to any moves by Kurds in neighbouring Iraq towards independence. Syria, whose President Bashar al-Assad visited Turkey in January, also has a sizeable Kurdish minority.
Syria’s official news agency SANA said firefighters from the nearby port city of Latakia and other Syrian provinces were fighting the blaze in the Ras al-Bassit area close to the Turkish border.SANA said several fires also broke out in the area on Tuesday due to hot weather and strong winds. The agency gave no details on damage or casualties.

SYRIA-FIRE (UPDATE 1) by Reuters

UPDATE 1-Fire sweeps Syrian woodland, one man killed 

LATAKIA, Syria, Oct 27 (Reuters) – A fire sweeping through Syrian woodland close to the Turkish border killed one man, injured up to 60 people and burned down many houses, officials and rescue workers said on Wednesday.
But they said firefighters from both countries were close to controlling the blaze which broke out on Tuesday near the Syrian port city of Latakia. “Almost 80 percent of the fire is under control,” a fire officer told Reuters. “We have been working throughout the night with teams from many provinces and from Turkey.”
A Security officer who did not wish to be identified said a disabled man died during the evacuation of a village. “One man died. He was crippled and had health complications,” he said. Rescue workers said up to 60 people were injured as the fire swept through woodland villages. A Turkish airplane and fire engines were dispatched to help extinguish the fire.

Syria fire under control with Turkishhelp
27 Oct 2004 12:56:59 GMT  Source: Reuters

(Updates with Syrian officials comment; previous ANKARA)

RAS AL-BASSIT, Syria, Oct 27 (Reuters) – Syrian and Turkish firefightershave brought under control a woodland blaze that killed a man and injured scores of otherpeople, officials fromboth countries said on Wednesday.”There are small fires but it is under control,” a Syrianofficial told Reuters.Local Administration and Environment Minister Hilal al-Atrash said thecause was unknown but  residents speculated a power line caused the fire.”We heard that it was a power cable. It fell and caused thefire,” said one local farmer.The fires broke out on Tuesday in a Syrian woodland close to Turkey,killing one man,injuring up to 60 people and destroying numerous houses, rescue workerssaid.Ankara’s relations with Damascus have improved since they came close towar in 1998 over Syria’s support for Kurdish guerrillas seeking an ethnic homeland insoutheast Turkey. Al-Atrash expressed his government’s gratitude for Turkey which sentfirefighters andaircraft to fight the blazes that broke out about 20 km (13 miles) awayfrom the border. The Turkish prime minister’s office said Turkey had sent three militaryplanes, two helicopters and three fire engines after a request by Syria.The governor of Turkey’s Hatay province, Abdulkadir Sari, said in astatement a Syrianvillage had been destroyed by the fire. Some 25 other Syrian villages hadto be evacuated.
(Additional reporting by Marwan Makdesi and Zerin Elci in Ankara)

One dead, 22 injured in Syrian forest fires near Turkish border

DAMASCUS, Oct 27 (AFP) – At least one person was killed and 22 injured asfierce forest fires swept through a region of northwest Syria near the Turkish border, thestate news agency SANA reported Wednesday.It said the fires which broke out late Tuesday north of the Mediterraneanport city of Latakia raged on throughout the night but had later been brought under control incertain areas. An elderly man was killed when his home was burnt down in Ras al-Basit, acoastal resort some 400 kilometres (250 miles) northwest of the Syrian capital, saidSANA.Twenty-two other people, among them four firefighters, were hospitalisedin nearby towns. “Fifteen fires ravaged more than 2,000 hectares (4,900 acres) offorest and orchards,” and several homes were destroyed, it said.Residents contacted by telephone said firefighters were still battlingthe flames Wednesdayafternoon in the pine forests of Latakia province. Ras al-Basit and theKassab mountains were the worst hit. “Drought and unseasonal high temperatures contributed” to thefire, said Syria’s local administration and environment minister, Hilal Atrash, quoted bySANAState radio, meanwhile, said the actual trigger was not yet known but thefires would be brought under control within hours.According to SANA, firefighters from five northern provinces weremobilised to combat the blazes, which were driven by a fierce northerly wind.Turkey said it gave a helping hand to combat the fires, in a new sign of rapprochement between the two former foes.Acting on a request from Syrian authorities, the Turkish army dispatchedthree C-130 planes and the forestry ministry sent two helicopters to help douse the blaze, thepremier’s office in Ankara said.Officials in the Turkish border city of Hatay, meanwhile, sent three fireengines, it said. Turkey and Syria have significantly improved ties since 1998 when theynearly went to war over Ankara’s accusations that Damascus was backing Kurdish separatist rebelsfighting the Ankara

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