TEHRAN -- Iran’s Defense Ministry says a firefighting plane designed by its young experts has joined operations in neighboring Turkey to battle forest fires sweeping through the country’s southern regions.
Muhammad-Mahdi Nouri al-Aqa, the head of the ministry’s aerial fire control and logistics center, said a firefighting operation team and an aircraft with a capacity of 40 tonnes of water had been deployed to the Turkish city of Mugla.
He also expressed hope that with the addition of two more helicopters in the coming days, the Iranian team can help extinguish blazes in more areas and prevent their spread.
“The quality of the Iranian team’s presence distinguishes its work from other teams sent by neighboring countries, which is a source of pride for Iranians.”
In a post on his Twitter account on Saturday, Iran’s Ambassador to Ankara Muhammad Farazmand confirmed the contribution of an Ilyushin plane belonging to the Defense Ministry in fire control operations in southern Turkey.
“The Defense Ministry’s firefighting helicopters will also take part in the aid operation from tomorrow,” he added. “Neighbors will not leave each other alone.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif in a tweet on Friday expressed sympathy with the Turkish government and people, stressing that Iran’s firefighting facilities will be at the disposal of the people of Turkey.
The wildfires broke out in Turkey’s Mediterranean and southern Aegean regions on Wednesday and have since killed six people, injured hundreds and forced the evacuation of villages and hotels.
Firefighters are struggling to contain the flames which are fanned by sweltering heat and strong winds.
During a visit to the town of Manavgat in Antalya province, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said all damaged houses would be rebuilt and losses compensated, adding that Azerbaijan, Russia, Ukraine and Iran had sent firefighting planes and support teams to the affected areas.