BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:50 P.M.) – The Syrian Ministry of Interior announced the arrest of 39 people, which it said had carried out the fires in three Syrian governorates, and that they were “receiving money from outside parties.”
The Ministry published a video recording in which the head of the Criminal Security Branch in Latakia, Adnan Al-Youssef, gave an explanation of what the branch had done, since the outbreak of the fires, and the arrest of 3 suspects and the confiscation of motorcycles and plastic containers, and that they “confessed that they set fire to agricultural lands under the guidance and planning of others. ”
Al-Youssef explained that the investigation with these led to others, “numbering 39 people, including financiers, implementers and planners.”
Al-Youssef emphasized that these “were receiving money from outside parties.”
He pointed out that, by interrogating the perpetrators, they confessed that they set fire to several locations in the three governorates: Latakia, Tartous, and Homs. They also admitted that they were holding meetings to plan “to set off fires in the coastal mountains and after the planning stage, implementation began at the end of August until the 10th of October.”
Al-Youssef said that the planners were providing the perpetrators with money, and also determining the location and time of the fire.
He explained that the group “used to go with a motorcycle and plastic containers containing gasoline and set fire to trees and herbs.”
Al-Youssef concluded that everyone was brought to court.
The three Syrian governorates witnessed unprecedented fires simultaneously, engulfing large areas of agricultural and forestry lands, and resulting in the burning of about two million trees.