Mideast storm settles snow on Saudi Arabia

Al-Lawz Mountain, located in northwest of Saudi Arabia near the Jordanian border, was partially covered in snow

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Stormy weather bringing snow and heavy rains continues to hit several countries in the Middle East, including several areas in Saudi Arabia, where the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment expects a sharp decrease in temperatures for another week according to the Saudi Gazette newspaper.

Al-Lawz Mountain in Tabuk, near the Jordanian border, was partially covered in snow, and five families were reportedly held there.

In Egypt, many Egyptians are seeing snow for the first time in their lives. "It is the first time in very many years" that it has snowed in the suburbs of Cairo, said Ali Abdelazim, an official at the meteorological center, reported AFP.

In the Sinai Peninsula, the storm deposited a blanket of snow several centimeters thick in the mountainous area around Saint Catherine's monastery for the first time in decades,

In Palestine, snow piled up to around 37cm in Jerusalem, and settled deeper in the city’s outlying areas, reported AFP. Other parts of the occupied West Bank were also hit by winter storm Alexa.

The snow blanket covering many parts of the Middle East is considered a rare occurrence, and has increased the plight of Syrian refugees, who are already low on food and fuel supplies, having only thin tents to protect them from the blizzard.

Twelve Syrian children have died so far, as the bad weather took toll on 2.3 million refugees living outside Syria, and 6.5 million people displaced within the country.

The minister of social affairs in Lebanon, Wael Abou Faour, paid an inspection visit to the Syrian refugees’ tents, and announced opening up aid centers round the clock to help with the aftermath from storm Alexa.

Over 800,000 Syrian refugees now reside in Lebanon, according to UNHCR data, other estimate the number to have reach around one million.

In Jordan, air traffic has been disrupted due to bad weather, and routes to the airport were blocked due to difficulties in commuting.