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Syrian beekeepers battle both war and climate change

Syrian beekeeper Ibrahim Damiriya tends to his hives near Damascus
— Rankus (Syria) (AFP)

Syrian beekeeper Ibrahim Damiriya struggles to produce honey from his hives on parched land near the capital Damascus after years of war, economic collapse and worsening climate change impacts.

"The war bled us dry. We could barely keep our beekeeping business afloat, and then the insane weather made things worse," the 62-year-old in a beekeeping suit told AFP as he examined meagre honey stocks inside the hives.

Before Syria's conflict erupted in 2011, Damiriya owned 110 hives in Rankus, a village near Damascus that was once filled with apple orchards.

But now a combination of fighting, severe drought and a gruelling economic crisis have left him with a mere 40 hives in semi-arid lands, decimating his honey yield.

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