SYRIA: New fires break out in Zalin (Qamishli) and Tel Tamr countrysides

ZALIN (QAMISHLI), Syria – In a situation reminiscent of last summer, fires continue to break out across North Syria. Several villages in the Zalin (Qamishli) countryside witnessed blazes on Wednesday, the largest of which occurring near Tel Hamis.

An estimated 5 hectares of wheat and barley were burned in the villages of Abu Jern and Okaz. The fire was apparently caused by a faulty electrical contact and was extinguished with the help of residents and firefighters.

Another fire broke out in Tal al-Tahin in the uncultivated land on the outskirts of the village but was put out before it reached the crops. The cause of fire is not yet known.

The Democratic Autonomous Administration (DAA) of North and East Syria (NES) has improved the training and equipment of the regions firefighters to prevent the recurrence of widespread fires that plagued the area in 2019.

While some of the fires in 2019 were set accidentally or by nature, a number of serious fires were set intentionally. While the culprits remain unknown, it is likely that the Islamic State (ISIS), Syrian regime militias, or groups affiliated with Turkey were responsible.

On Thursday, a fire was started near Timar (Umm al-Keif) village in the Tel Tamr countryside. According to North Press Agency citing locals from the area, the fire is the result of artillery shelling by Turkish and Turkish-backed forces.

Many of the fires starting around Tel Tamr, east of Hasakah city, are the result of artillery fire from the Syrian National Army (SNA), a collection of militias loyal to Turkey and with a reputation for criminality and the abuse of civilians.

The fires are often left to burn themselves out because any attempts to put them out are met with small arms fire from the SNA, say local farmers.