Afforestation Campaign in Idlib

20 March 2014

Coinciding with the third anniversary of the Syrian uprising, a group of activists launched an afforestation campaign in multiple cities and areas located in the Idlib governorate, including Salqin, Maaret misreen, Kafranbel and Saraqib.

The regime's perpetual bombardment, and the habitual cutting down of trees for winter warmth, have had their toll on Idlib, an area that used to be a major agricultural center of Syria and was widely recognized as the “Green Governorate”. Alarmed by the circumstances, the afforestation initiative was launched at the suggestion of activists and journalist Zaina Erhaim, and was organized on the governorate level.

The campaign has seen tremendous success in engaging everyone in a civil activity. Both the people of Idlib and armed individuals from the FSA have participated in the campaign, by planting pine and cypress trees and hanging little cards on each shrub, holding the names of a martyred relative or friend.

“The absence of ISIS members in the governorate, has profoundly contributed to the completion of the campaign” Zaina explains, “Other moderate insurgents have not cause us any inconvenience or obstruct our work in any way. On the contrary, they were very cooperative and supportive, especially since activists of the campaign are known by the residents of the area.”

However, the participation of armed militias remains incomprehensive in light of the current situation in Syria. Zaina made the incident intelligible by stating that the main focus of the campaign was to remind militants of the civil movement, and engage them in peaceful activities after a discontinuity that lasted two years, as part of a message addressed to the West and the media, that “most of the FSA fighters were once civil activists and protesters, They are not monsters nor extremists, they are people who took a decision of fighting fire with fire, to protect their families an loved ones.” Zaina says.



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Illustation by Dima Nechawi Graphic Design by Hesham Asaad