California wildfire
Picture for illustrative purpose only. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: As many as 24 people convicted of igniting last year’s devastating wildfires in Syria have been executed, local media reported.

According to media reports, those executed were charged with terrorist acts as they started the wildfires, the Syrian Justice Ministry said in a statement.

No details were provided on those who were executed.

The justice ministry statement said tens of fires swept forests and farmland and burnt homes in dozens of villages and towns in Latakia and Tartous provinces and also the central province of Hama.

Last year’s huge fires caused tens of millions of dollars of losses in cultivated plots of mainly citrus, apple and olive trees that many poor Alawite farmers rely on to supplement meagre low paid state jobs.

It also damaged a main part of the state-owned tobacco company that is a mainstay of the coastal area’s economy.

State television showed confessions of some of the culprits who said they were paid to set the deliberate fires.

The authorities had at the time blamed Syria’s foreign and internal enemies for igniting the fires as part of what it said was economic warfare. The country’s decade-old war has led to tens of thousands of deaths, displaced millions, and led to a refugee crisis.