His modest one-storey farmhouse, which had already been damaged by years of war, was further cracked by the February earthquake, which left more than 5,000 dead in Syria and hit Latakia hard.

“After the quake, the fires came and finished it off. It left us with nothing,” Zuhaira told Reuters.

Like other countries around the Mediterranean, Syria has been hit hard by wildfires this month, supercharged by strong winds and searing temperatures.

Firefighters had struggled to put them out in Homs and Hama in mid-July, and the fires in Latakia raged for five days before rescuers could control it, Syria’s agriculture minister Mohammad Hassaan Qatna said on Saturday.

“There were multiple places, far away. The speed of the wind was a factor in the excessive spread of the fires,” Qatna said during a tour of the area.

Other challenges for the firefighters included poor telecoms coverage in the north, and the procurement of fireproof suits or spare parts for extinguishing equipment, he said.

Syria’s 12-year conflict, along with Western sanctions, a currency squeeze linked to neighbouring Lebanon’s economic crisis and the government’s loss of its northeastern oil-producing territories have triggered a financial meltdown.

On Saturday, firefighters could be seen pumping water from a fire truck to extinguish flames on a wooded slope in Latakia.

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