Moussa Fatimi’s wheat field was once part of a thriving Syrian breadbasket. Now, he can’t even grow enough to feed his family, and the land has been turned over to animals. Fatimi’s crop has withered from a climate crisis, adding to fears of supply shortages sparked by the war in Ukraine as Syria grapples with record-high rates of food insecurity. “For the second year in a row, we face drought,” Fatimi, 85, told AFP at his parched plot. “We haven’t even harvested enough this year to secure our own supply of bread. Our losses are in the millions,” he said. Syria is among the countries most vulnerable and poorly prepared for climate change, which is forecast to worsen, posing a further threat to the wheat harvests that are an essential income source for a war-battered population. The trend is most evident in Syria’s once-fertile northeast where wheat fields are drying to a crisp because of severe drought and low rainfall, challenges also faced by Iraq and other neighbouring countries. In Umm Hajrah, a village northeast of Hasakeh city, Fatimi meandered through a wheat field dotted with sheep munching on the crops. “It’s just straw. There’s no seeds,” he said after pulling up a stunted stalk. Trucks used to queue to ferry bags of Fatimi’s wheat to granaries, but now he largely relies on income from other farmers who use his field to graze their animals. “I feel sorry when I see the sheep eating from the field,” he said. Syria’s wheat production averaged 4.1 million tonnes in years prior to its war, which erupted in 2011 after the repression of anti-government protests. Years of subsequent fighting have left around half a million people dead and displaced millions. Before the war, Syria’s wheat production was enough to meet local demand. Harvests then plunged to record lows, leading to increased dependence on imports especially from regime-ally Russia.