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24 put to death in Syria over wildfires

Syria experienced deadly forest fires this year and last alongside other Middle Eastern, North African and Southern European countries along the Mediterranean Sea.
Syrian soldiers and locals battle a forest fire in the Ain Shams area west of Hama province, on Sept. 10, 2020.

Syria has executed more than 20 people in relation to deadly wildfires in the country last year, authorities announced Thursday.

The 24 individuals were put to death Wednesday after being convicted of terrorism charges in relation to fires last year that burned both state and private buildings. Another 11 people were sentenced to life in prison with hard labor after being found guilty of starting fires that burned agricultural lands, the Syrian Ministry of Justice said in a statement.

Wildfires raged through western Syria last year, including on the Mediterranean coast and in the center of the country. Dozens of people were injured and thousands were displaced.

The ministry mentioned 187 fires that occurred between August and October of 2020 in Tartus, Homs, Hama and other parts of the country. In total, 370 homes were damaged, and there was more than $23 million in damage. The ministry did not mention how or why the fires were started, according to the statement.

Forest fires plagued Syria again this summer. The fires were part of a series of blazes that affected Lebanon, Turkey, Algeria and Southern Europe at the time.

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