SYRIA: Residents of predominantly Syriac Wadi al-Nasara suspect foul play in recent fires

HMOTH, Syria — A massive fire broke out in the vicinity of Wadi al-Nasara in the western countryside of Hmoth (Homs) on Monday which quickly spread over a large area of agricultural land and forest.

The residents of the predominantly Syriac Wadi al-Nasara accused developers who want to obtain their agricultural land for deliberately setting fires in the area. Recently, fires near Mzayna and the village of Ayn Ghara destroyed nearly 100 acres of agricultural land.

Residents stated that the latest fire destroyed thousands of olive trees. The central government in Damascus, they say, has remained silent, sowing suspicion that officials are somehow benefiting from the arsons.

Wadi al-Nasara is an important Syriac area in rural Hmoth. Land in the area has become highly sought after by construction and real estate traders after property values increased significantly in the past few years.