Iraqis wake up to snow for first time in over a decade

News

Fresh snow falls while motorists drive through Abu Nawas street in central Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. Snow fell across the Iraqi capital Baghdad for the first time in a decade on Tuesday as morning temperatures uncharacteristically hovered around freezing. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq’s capital of Baghdad awoke on Tuesday to a sight not seen in over a decade — their city covered in snow.

It was a rare moment of respite during which residents took selfies and children played in parks, lobbing snowballs before the fluffy flakes disappeared and the white cover dissolved into grey puddles.

Iraq has grappled with months of unrest, beginning with an anti-government protest movement which engulfed the country in October, and the U.S. killing of a top Iranian general in Baghdad in early January, which brought the region close to war amid soaring U.S.-Iran tensions.

Over 500 people have died in the protests as security forces used live rounds and tear gas to disperse crowds in Baghdad and southern Iraq. The movement is entering a critical phase, after influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who initially threw his weight behind demonstrators, withdrew it. Tensions have since seethed between protesters and al-Sadr’s followers.

In the city’s central Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the protest movement, protesters took a moment to observe the snowfall and dusted the flakes off their sit-in tents.

“Thank God it is snowing this morning,” said Aymen Ahmed, a protester. “The atmosphere is beautiful … the people are very happy because this is the first time snow falls in Iraq.”

Annual snowfall is common in the mountainous northern region of Iraq, but very rare in Baghdad. The last time the capital saw snow was in 2008.

By midday, the snow had melted in most parts of the city. “It was a beautiful moment,” said Mariam, another protester. She gave only her first name, fearing reprisals like most anti-government protesters.

“Now life goes back to normal.”

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

CBS47 On Your Side

Do you have a problem that you need help solving? Contact CBS47 and let us be On Your Side.

Phone: 559-761-0383
Email: OnYourSide@cbsfresno.com

Images from Armenia

Small patients in Armenia
Yerevan by night.
Dr. Jeff Thomas delivers.
Dr. Jeff Thomas delivers in Gyumri.
Doctors unpack medical supplies from The Central Valley.
Fresno Medical Mission at work.
Medical Supplies being unloaded.
Fresno Medical Mission at the ready.
KSEE24 crew witnesses the miracle of life in Gyumri, Armenia.
Life saving work of Central Valley surgeons in Armenia.
Ribbon cutting on new surgical center in Ashtarak Armenia. Fresno donors made this dream come true.
KSEE24 on assignment with the Fresno Medical Mission
Honorary Consulate to Armenia Berj Apkarian explains the crisis facing one hospital.
KSEE24's Stefani Booroojian and Kevin Mahan at the meeting with President Bako Sahakyan.
Medical Meeting in Artsakh.
The President of Artsakh meets with the Fresno Medical Mission.
Learning modern medicine techniques with the Fresno Medical Mission in surgery.
Leaning in for a look. Dr. Brien Tonkinson holds class and helps a patient in Armenia.
Fresno Medical Mission cares on one of the smallest patients in the region. Six-year old Yanna receives life-changing better breathing surgery.