Syria fails to suppress forest fire at Turkish border

Syria fails to suppress forest fire at Turkish border

12 August 2011

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Syria / Turkey — Syrian firefighting teams have made no effort to control a forest fire that broke out on the Turkish-Syrian border late on Thursday, the Cihan news agency reported.

The fire, which started on the Syrian side of the border, has begun to spread due to increasing wind speed. The blaze has not yet arrived on the Turkish side, but the Turkish villages of Güveçci and Belengöz in Hatay are directly in its path.

Cihan reported that Syrian soldiers are observing the fire from a watchtower but that no Syrian firefighters have arrived to extinguish it. Turkish firefighting units are positioned at the border with a large amount of equipment to help prevent the blaze from reaching the Turkish side. Syrian officials have not yet requested assistance from Turkey, although Turkish officials stated that they are ready to help to put the fire out across the border.

Turkey and Syria have long had a protocol stating that both countries have to work together in the event of forest fires occurring at the border. However, the protocol was not renewed this year due to the ongoing conflict in Syria.

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