Massive wildfire chocks Lebanon and Syria

Firefighters extinguish flames in a forest near the village of Meshref in Lebanon's Shouf mountains, southeast of the capital Beirut, on October 15, 2019. Photo Credit: AFP

Strong fires spread in different parts of Lebanon forcing some residents to flee their homes in the middle of the night as the flames reached residential areas in villages south of Beirut. A heat wave hitting the region and strong winds helped intensify the fires in pine forests around Lebanon and three provinces in neighboring Syria.

Fire engines were overwhelmed by the flames in the Mount Lebanon region early Tuesday, forcing the Interior Ministry to send riot police engines equipped with water cannons to help. Two small aircraft were sent from the nearby Mediterranean island of Cyprus and are helping in putting out the fires.

The state has been widely criticized by residents because Lebanon bought three aircraft several years ago to be used in extinguishing fires but they have been parked at Beirut’s airport with no money to maintain them.

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri said that if the fires turn out to be intentional those behind it “will pay a price.

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