Heaviest snowstorm in 50 years hits Iran

Updated 15 May 2014
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Heaviest snowstorm in 50 years hits Iran

TEHRAN: The heaviest snowstorm in five decades has blanketed provinces in northern Iran, cutting power supplies and trapping villagers, Iranian media reported Monday.
The storm is “unprecedented for the past 50 years, with two meters (almost seven feet) of snow falling since Friday,” a Mazandaran provincial official said, quoted by the media.
“Our main problems are (the provision of) power and water, which have been cut off due to the heavy snow,” he said.
According to officials, around 500,000 people in northern Iran have been left without electricity and gas since Saturday.
Iran’s Red Crescent head, Pir Hossein Kolivand, said teams have in the past four days rescued around 11,000 people caught in the heavy snow. Seven-nine people have been hospitalized, official IRNA news agency reported.
“Some 3800 people have also been settled in emergency shelters,” he added.
In Tehran, temperatures plunged to -7 C on Saturday, making it the capital’s coldest night of the year, while other provinces experienced temperatures as low as -18 C.
Some schools in northern Tehran were closed Monday because of the weather.
New snowstorms are expected from Monday night in the southwest of the country.


Truckloads of civilians leave Daesh enclave in Syria

Updated 24 min 22 sec ago
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Truckloads of civilians leave Daesh enclave in Syria

  • The village is all that remains for Daesh in the Euphrates valley region that became its final populated stronghold in Iraq and Syria
  • The SDF has steadily driven the militants down the Euphrates after capturing their Syrian capital

NEAR BAGHOU: Trucks loaded with civilians left the last Daesh enclave in eastern Syria on Friday, as US-backed forces waited to inflict final defeat on the surrounded militants.
Reporters near the front line at Baghouz saw dozens of trucks driving out with civilians inside them, but it was not clear if more remained in the tiny pocket.
The village is all that remains for Daesh in the Euphrates valley region that became its final populated stronghold in Iraq and Syria after it lost the major cities of Mosul and Raqqa in 2017.
The SDF has steadily driven the militants down the Euphrates after capturing their Syrian capital, Raqqa, in 2017, but does not want to mount a final attack until all civilians are out.
The US-led coalition which supports the SDF has said Islamic State’s “most hardened fighters” remain holed up in Baghouz, close to the Iraqi frontier.
Mustafa Bali, head of the SDF’s media office, earlier told Reuters that more than 3,000 civilians were estimated to still be inside Baghouz and there would be an attempt to evacuate them on Friday.
“If we succeed in evacuating all the civilians, at any moment we will take the decision to storm Baghouz or force the terrorists to surrender,” he said.
Though the fall of Baghouz marks a milestone in the campaign against Islamic State and the wider conflict in Syria, the militant group is still seen as a major security threat.
It has steadily turned to guerrilla warfare and still holds territory in a remote, sparsely populated area west of the Euphrates River — a part of Syria otherwise controlled by the Syrian government and its Russian and Iranian allies.
The United States will leave “a small peacekeeping group” of 200 American troops in Syria for a period of time after a US pullout, the White House said on Thursday, as President Donald Trump pulled back from a complete withdrawal.
Trump in December ordered a withdrawal of the 2,000 troops, saying they had defeated Daesh militants in Syria.

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