Pistachio Farmers Return to War-Scarred Syria

Published July 19th, 2020 - 06:04 GMT

Pruning scissors in hand, Syrian pistachio farmer Fadi al-Mahmoud inspected his orchard, hoping for his first harvest after years of war, as nearby army de-miners swept the ground for buried explosives.

"I will be fine as long as my orchard is fine," said the 40-year-old, who returned to his village of Maan in the north of battle-scarred Hama province only months ago, after years of displacement, according to AFP.

The region, long a centre of Syria's famed pistachio production, was controlled for years by jihadists and rebels, but it fell to President Bashar al-Assad's government forces early this year.

After the violence subsided, many farmers like Mahmoud returned, hoping this season would mark the revival of what was once a leading industry, its produce beloved across the Middle East.

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A pistachio farmer tends to a tree at a pistachio orchard in the village of Maan, north of Hama in west-central Syria on June 24, 2020. Pistachio farmers in central Syria are hoping that reduced violence will help revive cultivation of what was once one of the country's top exports. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP

A pistachio farmer tends to a tree at a pistachio orchard in the village of Maan, north of Hama in west-central Syria on June 24, 2020. Pistachio farmers in central Syria are hoping that reduced violence will help revive cultivation of what was once one of the country's top exports. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP

Maan, famed for its pistachio production, was controlled for years by jihadists and their rebel allies but it fell to the government at the start of the year following a months-long offensive. And as violence subsided, many formerly displaced farmers have returned, hoping this season will mark the revival of what was once a leading industry. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP

Maan, famed for its pistachio production, was controlled for years by jihadists and their rebel allies but it fell to the government at the start of the year following a months-long offensive. And as violence subsided, many formerly displaced farmers have returned, hoping this season will mark the revival of what was once a leading industry. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP

A pistachio farmer walks with a clipped branch amongst trees at a pistachio orchard in the village of Maan, north of Hama in west-central Syria on June 24, 2020. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP

A pistachio farmer walks with a clipped branch amongst trees at a pistachio orchard in the village of Maan, north of Hama in west-central Syria on June 24, 2020. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP

Pistachio farmers tend to a tree at a pistachio orchard in the village of Maan, north of Hama in west-central Syria on June 24, 2020. Pistachio farmers in central Syria are hoping that reduced violence will help revive cultivation of what was once one of the country's top exports. Maan, famed for its pistachio production, was controlled for years by jihadists and their rebel allies but it fell to the government at the start of the year following a months-long offensive. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP

Pistachio farmers tend to a tree at a pistachio orchard in the village of Maan, north of Hama in west-central Syria on June 24, 2020. Pistachio farmers in central Syria are hoping that reduced violence will help revive cultivation of what was once one of the country's top exports. Maan, famed for its pistachio production, was controlled for years by jihadists and their rebel allies but it fell to the government at the start of the year following a months-long offensive. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP

famed for its pistachio production, was controlled for years by jihadists and their rebel allies but it fell to the government at the start of the year following a months-long offensive. And as violence subsided, many formerly displaced farmers have returned, hoping this season will mark the revival of what was once a leading industry. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP

famed for its pistachio production, was controlled for years by jihadists and their rebel allies but it fell to the government at the start of the year following a months-long offensive. And as violence subsided, many formerly displaced farmers have returned, hoping this season will mark the revival of what was once a leading industry. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP

A landmine is remotely detonated in a field at a pistachio orchard in the village of Maan, north of Hama in west-central Syria on June 24, 2020. Pistachio farmers in central Syria are hoping that reduced violence will help revive cultivation of what was once one of the country's top exports. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP

A landmine is remotely detonated in a field at a pistachio orchard in the village of Maan, north of Hama in west-central Syria on June 24, 2020. Pistachio farmers in central Syria are hoping that reduced violence will help revive cultivation of what was once one of the country's top exports. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP

Maan, famed for its pistachio production, was controlled for years by jihadists and their rebel allies but it fell to the government at the start of the year following a months-long offensive. Although battles have died down, farmers in Hama are now grappling with landmines left behind by rebels and jihadists. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP

Maan, famed for its pistachio production, was controlled for years by jihadists and their rebel allies but it fell to the government at the start of the year following a months-long offensive. Although battles have died down, farmers in Hama are now grappling with landmines left behind by rebels and jihadists. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP

This picture taken on June 24, 2020 shows a view of pistachio trees growing at a pistachio orchard in the village of Maan, north of Hama in west-central Syria. Pistachio farmers in central Syria are hoping that reduced violence will help revive cultivation of what was once one of the country's top exports. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP

This picture taken on June 24, 2020 shows a view of pistachio trees growing at a pistachio orchard in the village of Maan, north of Hama in west-central Syria. Pistachio farmers in central Syria are hoping that reduced violence will help revive cultivation of what was once one of the country's top exports. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP

A pistachio farmer tends to a tree at a pistachio orchard in the village of Maan, north of Hama in west-central Syria on June 24, 2020. Pistachio farmers in central Syria are hoping that reduced violence will help revive cultivation of what was once one of the country's top exports. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
Maan, famed for its pistachio production, was controlled for years by jihadists and their rebel allies but it fell to the government at the start of the year following a months-long offensive. And as violence subsided, many formerly displaced farmers have returned, hoping this season will mark the revival of what was once a leading industry. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
A pistachio farmer walks with a clipped branch amongst trees at a pistachio orchard in the village of Maan, north of Hama in west-central Syria on June 24, 2020. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
Pistachio farmers tend to a tree at a pistachio orchard in the village of Maan, north of Hama in west-central Syria on June 24, 2020. Pistachio farmers in central Syria are hoping that reduced violence will help revive cultivation of what was once one of the country's top exports. Maan, famed for its pistachio production, was controlled for years by jihadists and their rebel allies but it fell to the government at the start of the year following a months-long offensive. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
famed for its pistachio production, was controlled for years by jihadists and their rebel allies but it fell to the government at the start of the year following a months-long offensive. And as violence subsided, many formerly displaced farmers have returned, hoping this season will mark the revival of what was once a leading industry. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
A landmine is remotely detonated in a field at a pistachio orchard in the village of Maan, north of Hama in west-central Syria on June 24, 2020. Pistachio farmers in central Syria are hoping that reduced violence will help revive cultivation of what was once one of the country's top exports. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
Maan, famed for its pistachio production, was controlled for years by jihadists and their rebel allies but it fell to the government at the start of the year following a months-long offensive. Although battles have died down, farmers in Hama are now grappling with landmines left behind by rebels and jihadists. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
This picture taken on June 24, 2020 shows a view of pistachio trees growing at a pistachio orchard in the village of Maan, north of Hama in west-central Syria. Pistachio farmers in central Syria are hoping that reduced violence will help revive cultivation of what was once one of the country's top exports. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
A pistachio farmer tends to a tree at a pistachio orchard in the village of Maan, north of Hama in west-central Syria on June 24, 2020. Pistachio farmers in central Syria are hoping that reduced violence will help revive cultivation of what was once one of the country's top exports. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
A pistachio farmer tends to a tree at a pistachio orchard in the village of Maan, north of Hama in west-central Syria on June 24, 2020. Pistachio farmers in central Syria are hoping that reduced violence will help revive cultivation of what was once one of the country's top exports. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
Maan, famed for its pistachio production, was controlled for years by jihadists and their rebel allies but it fell to the government at the start of the year following a months-long offensive. And as violence subsided, many formerly displaced farmers have returned, hoping this season will mark the revival of what was once a leading industry. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
Maan, famed for its pistachio production, was controlled for years by jihadists and their rebel allies but it fell to the government at the start of the year following a months-long offensive. And as violence subsided, many formerly displaced farmers have returned, hoping this season will mark the revival of what was once a leading industry. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
A pistachio farmer walks with a clipped branch amongst trees at a pistachio orchard in the village of Maan, north of Hama in west-central Syria on June 24, 2020. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
A pistachio farmer walks with a clipped branch amongst trees at a pistachio orchard in the village of Maan, north of Hama in west-central Syria on June 24, 2020. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
Pistachio farmers tend to a tree at a pistachio orchard in the village of Maan, north of Hama in west-central Syria on June 24, 2020. Pistachio farmers in central Syria are hoping that reduced violence will help revive cultivation of what was once one of the country's top exports. Maan, famed for its pistachio production, was controlled for years by jihadists and their rebel allies but it fell to the government at the start of the year following a months-long offensive. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
Pistachio farmers tend to a tree at a pistachio orchard in the village of Maan, north of Hama in west-central Syria on June 24, 2020. Pistachio farmers in central Syria are hoping that reduced violence will help revive cultivation of what was once one of the country's top exports. Maan, famed for its pistachio production, was controlled for years by jihadists and their rebel allies but it fell to the government at the start of the year following a months-long offensive. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
famed for its pistachio production, was controlled for years by jihadists and their rebel allies but it fell to the government at the start of the year following a months-long offensive. And as violence subsided, many formerly displaced farmers have returned, hoping this season will mark the revival of what was once a leading industry. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
famed for its pistachio production, was controlled for years by jihadists and their rebel allies but it fell to the government at the start of the year following a months-long offensive. And as violence subsided, many formerly displaced farmers have returned, hoping this season will mark the revival of what was once a leading industry. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
A landmine is remotely detonated in a field at a pistachio orchard in the village of Maan, north of Hama in west-central Syria on June 24, 2020. Pistachio farmers in central Syria are hoping that reduced violence will help revive cultivation of what was once one of the country's top exports. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
A landmine is remotely detonated in a field at a pistachio orchard in the village of Maan, north of Hama in west-central Syria on June 24, 2020. Pistachio farmers in central Syria are hoping that reduced violence will help revive cultivation of what was once one of the country's top exports. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
Maan, famed for its pistachio production, was controlled for years by jihadists and their rebel allies but it fell to the government at the start of the year following a months-long offensive. Although battles have died down, farmers in Hama are now grappling with landmines left behind by rebels and jihadists. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
Maan, famed for its pistachio production, was controlled for years by jihadists and their rebel allies but it fell to the government at the start of the year following a months-long offensive. Although battles have died down, farmers in Hama are now grappling with landmines left behind by rebels and jihadists. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
This picture taken on June 24, 2020 shows a view of pistachio trees growing at a pistachio orchard in the village of Maan, north of Hama in west-central Syria. Pistachio farmers in central Syria are hoping that reduced violence will help revive cultivation of what was once one of the country's top exports. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP
This picture taken on June 24, 2020 shows a view of pistachio trees growing at a pistachio orchard in the village of Maan, north of Hama in west-central Syria. Pistachio farmers in central Syria are hoping that reduced violence will help revive cultivation of what was once one of the country's top exports. LOUAI BESHARA / AFP