Snow falls in Middle East as strong winter storm lashes Syrian refugees
Life in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley grinds to a halt as schools, shops close
Snow fell Wednesday across the Middle East as a powerful winter storm swept through the region, forcing Syrians who have fled their country's civil war to huddle for warmth in refugee camps.
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The storm dumped rain and hail on Lebanon's coast and heavy snows in the mountains and central Bekaa Valley, where gas stations, banks, schools and most shops closed.
While the storm disrupted life for everyone, it proved particularly trying for the hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees who live in tents and makeshift shelters in the Bekaa.
Elsewhere, Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip declared a state of emergency over the storm. An 8-month-old Palestinian infant in the Tulkarem refugee camp was killed in a fire caused by a heating stove, Palestinian civil defence ministry spokesman Loae Bani Odeh said.
Snow accumulated in the Golan Heights and northern Israel. Schools across Jerusalem closed ahead of a forecast warning of 25 centimetres of snowfall.
Heavy fogs also blanketed parts of Pakistan on Wednesday morning. Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority said officials temporarily closed Islamabad's Benazir Bhutto International Airport due to the weather, diverting incoming flights to Lahore.