Indonesia, Syria replant friendship forest

The Indonesian Embassy in Damascus, Syria, replanted the Indonesia-Syria Friendship Forest in Dimas city, Damascus Countryside (DCS) this Sunday.

“The initiative was meant to commemorate the 69th anniversary of the diplomatic relationship between Indonesia and Syria and the 71st anniversary of Indonesias Independence,” the Indonesian Ambassador to Syria, Djoko Harjanto, said in a statement received by ANTARA here on Monday.

According to the Ambassador, the forest was inaugurated in 1988, while the Embassy had last replanted it in 1996.

For 20 years, the forest remained abandoned, was not maintained properly and many trees had died.

Ambassador Djoko quoted the hadith of Prophet Muhammad, that says: “If a Muslim plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird or a person or an animal eats from it, it is regarded as a charitable gift (sadaqah) for him.”

The Ambassador underlined that amidst a prolonged crisis, the Indonesian Embassy in Damascus perpetuated a symbol of friendship between both the countries in the form of Indonesia-Syria Friendship Forest.

The event was attended by the Governor of Damascus Countryside (DCS), Ala Ibrahim, the Deputy Governor of DSC, Ratib Fennel, the Mayor of Dimas and about 150 Indonesian and Syrian youth, who planted 100 seedlings of pines.

A Syrian youth, Nagham Meqari, appreciated the Indonesian Embassys efforts to connect the younger generations of Indonesia and Syria. “I am so happy that I was able to meet my Indonesian friends at the event,” he emphasized.

“By planting trees together with the Indonesian youth, we feel we were being cared for and loved at a time of ongoing conflicts. Indonesia is a true friend of the Syrians,” another Syrian, Wasim Ahmad, remarked.

Indonesia is one of the few countries that still continues to have a diplomatic mission working despite the Syrian conflict.

The replanting of the forest will reinforce the friendly relations between the two countries. Indonesia is the only country that has an active forest friendship with Syria till date.

“Ambassador Djoko Harjanto is one of the most active ambassadors in improving relations between the two countries, even in crisis. He fully understands the sufferings faced by the Syrian people,” Governor Ala Ibrahim said.

The governor also expressed his gratitude for the efforts of Ambassador Djoko in understanding the actual conditions in Syria by ensuring exchange of a visit of Syrian scholars to Indonesia recently. These included the Chairman of the Sham Ulama, Sheikh Taufik Ramadan al-Bouti, and the Mufti of Damascus, Sheikh Adnan Afiyuni.

Ambassador Djoko affirmed Indonesias political stance of encouraging a political solution to the crisis in Syria. “There is no conflict or war that ended without negotiations,” the Ambassador said, stressing that the conflicts in Syria should be resolved through political means.

Ambassador Djoko added that the Embassy in Damascus continues to facilitate the visits of Syrian scholars, journalists, academics and public figures to Indonesia in order to improve relations between the two countries, especially in the fields of religion, culture, education and journalism.

Source: Antara News