In pictures: Rare snowfall covers large parts of the Middle East
Many parts of the Middle East have been blanketed in a rare snowfall in recent days, creating beautiful scenery but posing difficult conditions for others who are less equipped for the treacherous conditions. Here, the Roman Temple of Jupiter in Lebanon’s Baalbek district in the eastern Bekaa valley is covered in snow. (AFP)
In Mount Lebanon, residents were forced to go out into the streets and shovel snow, as well as clear uprooted trees that had fallen and blocked roads overnight. Fawzi Tarabay, 42, from the Qraiyeh area, was shocked at the sight.
“I woke up and found this tree toppled across the street. I spent 42 years watching it grow, it’s much older than I am, and it took one snowstorm to rip it from its roots," he told Middle East Eye. (MEE/Lynn Chaya)
In many parts of the region, the heavy snowfall has caused power outages. Here, three brothers in the Lebanese village of Falougha walk up steep hills to fill up a gallon of oil to provide heat for their homes.
“We use this oil for the heater. The electricity has been cutting frequently and it’s the only way to stay warm here. It’s a 15 minute walk, so we’re going to take turns carrying it.” (MEE/Lynn Chaya)
In Syria’s rebel-held Idlib province, local residents headed out to play in the snow, some taking part in snowball fights.
“We really enjoyed the snow today. Every year it snows here, but because of our displacement and Assad’s forces, we were not able to enjoy it,” said Ahmed Mustafa, who is from the town of al-Bara, which has been a site of fighting between forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and opposing factions.
The snowstorm has coincided with a period of relative calm, Mustafa explained. “I wish all of our friends and relatives could return here and play in the snow, it looks like a white paradise,” he told MEE. (MEE/Ali Haj Suleiman)
Despite many people enjoying the crisp white layers of snow, many people living in displacement camps or homes that have been damaged in the conflict in Idlib have suffered as a result of the drop in temperatures.
Volunteers from the Syrian Civil Defence cleared up the snow in the area and helped struggling residents. “The region has witnessed a severe cold front and the closure of many roads,” said Mohammad al-Ibrahim, a volunteer with the organisation. (MEE/Ali Haj Suleiman)
The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem was covered in a light dusting of snow on Thursday. In the surrounding areas, many people went for walks and built snowmen. (AFP/Emmanuel Dunand)
Families and friends made their way to the Dome of the Rock to make the most of the weather and take part in a much-anticipated snowball fight. (Reuters/Ammar Awad)
The historic ruins of Amman’s citadel in Jordan provided the perfect backdrop for young children to go out and make a snowman. (AFP/Khalil Mazraawi)
A cat is pictured in the historical cemetery at the Eyup Sultan district of Turkey's Istanbul, following a flurry of snow. (AFP/Ozan Kose)
The heavy snowfall in Istanbul has disrupted public transport services and caused traffic, leaving many people no choice but to trudge through the snow on foot. (Reuters/Emrah Oprukcu)
In the mountainous Kurdistan region of Iraq, bears in the Duhok governorate could be seen strolling around and exploring the snow-covered scenes. (Reuters/Ismael Adnan)
This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.