Rare snowstorm near Syria-Lebanon border brings havoc, disrupts aid

A Syrian refugee shovels snow outside her tent in the makeshift refugee camp of Terbol near the Bekaa Valley town of Zahleh in eastern Lebanon on December 11, 2013.(AFP Photo / STR)

At least two people were killed and 14 injured as the first snowfall of the season hit Syria and Lebanon. High winds and freezing temperatures affected refugee camps and disrupted international aid. More severe weather is expected this winter.

The storm, named ‘Alexa,’ took the lives of two people and injured 14 others in Lebanon, Ya Libnan reported, citing Red Cross Secretary General George Kettaneh.

The winter storm caused transportation chaos in the region and grounded the UN humanitarian airlift, which was scheduled to bring food and supplies from Iraq to the northeastern Kurdish areas of Syria. Tens of thousands of people are isolated in those areas, waiting for the aid to arrive.

Read more at RT-Novosti

Rare Snow Storm Hits Jersusalem

A fierce winter storm is sweeping across the Middle East

Snow-covered cars are parked on a street in central Jerusalem, Dec. 13, 2013.

Jerusalem and parts of the West Bank was enduring a rare snowstorm sweeping across the Middle East on Friday. At least 20 inches had fallen since Thursday, Reuters reports.

“In my 54 years I don’t remember a sight like this, such an amount I cannot recall,” Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said.

The storm has tested Israeli rescue services, with more than 1,000 people were stranded overnight because of the heavy snow fall. The military helped police rescue hundreds of people stuck in vehicles on highways near the capital, Reuters reports.

It was also reportedly snowing heavily in Cairo.

The United Nations and other aid agencies have warned that thousands of Syrian refugees living in vulnerable conditions in Lebanon are at risk from the heavy snow and freezing rain that have hit the region this week, the Guardian reports.

Read more at TIME

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