World

Syria executes 24 people over last year's deadly wildfires

October 21, 2021
President Bashar Al-Assad speaks with people during his tour of areas that suffered heavy damage from deadly wildfires, in the Syrian coastal province of Latakia.
President Bashar Al-Assad speaks with people during his tour of areas that suffered heavy damage from deadly wildfires, in the Syrian coastal province of Latakia.

DAMASCUS — Syria on Thursday executed 24 people who were charged with igniting wildfires that left three people dead and burnt thousands of hectares of forests last year, the Associated Press news agency reported quoting the Syrian Justice Ministry.

Executions are not rare in war-torn Syria, but an unusually large number of people were put to death Thursday.

A decade-old conflict left hundreds of thousands dead and displaced half the Syrian population, including five million refugees outside the country.

The Justice Ministry described the 24 who were executed on Thursday as “criminals who carried out terrorist attacks that led to deaths and damage to infrastructure and public property.” It said 11 others were sentenced to life in prison in the same case.

It said nine others, including five juveniles, received various prison sentences ranged between 10 to 12 years

The ministry said in late 2020, authorities detained dozens of people who confessed that they began planning to ignite fires starting in August last year. They started fires in September that affected 280 towns and villages and damaged 370 homes, the ministry said, adding that a total of 24,000 hectares (59,300 acres) of forests and plantation were burned in the fires.

Three people were killed in the blazes, which also burned wide areas of forests, mostly in Latakia and the central province of Homs.

President Bashar Al-Assad’s hometown of Qardaha in Latakia province was hard hit by the fires, which heavily damaged a building used as storage for the state-owned tobacco company.

Assad made a rare visit to the region shortly after the fire was brought under control. — Agencies


October 21, 2021
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