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Heavy snow affects several countries in the Middle East

BEIRUT (AP) – Snow covered parts of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel on Wednesday, encompassing areas it hadn’t reached in years, affecting traffic and forcing COVID-19 vaccination campaigns and even tests to be postponed. in some universities.

It snowed for the first time in years in Marjayoun, in southern Lebanon, and in Bayda, in northeast Libya.

Hurricane force winds caused blackouts in large areas of Lebanon, forcing many Lebanese – already accustomed to power cuts – to run portable generators for longer hours. Rescuers removed four motorists from their snow-covered vehicles, the National News Agency said.

The first snowfall this winter in Damascus did not prevent the Premier League soccer tournament from taking place. The Army Sports Club and the Al Karama team clashed despite snow covering the pitch, Syrian newspaper Al Watan reported.

In the mountains of the Syrian province of Sweida, the snow reached 15 centimeters (6 inches) high, according to the official SANA news agency. Roads in some provinces were blocked. In the central province of Hama, bulldozers were clearing snow to clear roads while some vehicles skidded on the ice, causing traffic disruptions.

The University of Damascus suspended mid-year exams scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday at all its campuses in Syria due to extreme weather. The country’s ports remained open. Local authorities in Sweida, Quneitra, Daraa and Tartús provinces suspended classes for Thursday due to heavy snowfall.

In opposition-controlled northwestern Syria, civil defense teams have been building mounds of earth since Tuesday around camps for displaced people to prevent rain from flooding crowded areas. Almost 3 million displaced people live in the Syrian northwest.