The rainfall totals in January-February 2017 were below the long-term average (LTA) of the past 16 years across much of Syria, except governorates such as Homs, Rural Damascus and Deir-ez-Zor, where rainfall amounts were close to the LTA. Precipitation levels in February were lower compared to the same month of last year for important crop-growing areas namely, Hassakeh, Latakia, Tartous and some parts of Rural Damascus and Aleppo. Compared to 2016, rainfall was better for Homs, Hama and Deir-ez-Zor governorates, although the potential benefits of pasture growth for livestock were seen to be much lower when compared to the LTA.
The planting of the winter wheat and barley crops was completed in December-January and harvesting is anticipated to start in May 2017. The ASI for February 2017 indicates a progressive increase in moisture stress in cropland areas of Aleppo, northwestern parts of Idleb and northeastern parts of Hama governorates. In the last dekad of February, over 40 percent of cropland areas in the above-mentioned locations were affected by moisture stress, although crops have not yet reached its wilting point. It is still early to ascertain whether the moisture stress will impact the wheat and barley yields. The crop growth progressed relatively better in other parts of the country with less than 10 percent of agricultural areas being affected by moisture stress.
Please note that since the ASI is based on remotely sensed data only; there is no confirmation on what crops have been planted.