World (photos)

Snow blankets Iraq's Baghdad city first time in 12 years


Published on February 11, 2020 at 16.01

People in Baghdad have woken up to a sight not seen in over a decade: their city covered in snow.

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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.
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Iraq has grappled with months of unrest, beginning with an anti-government protest movement which engulfed the country in October, and the US killing of a top Iranian general in Baghdad in early January, which brought the region close to war amid soaring US-Iran tensions.
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“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.”
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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.
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The movement is entering a critical phase, after influential 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.
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The last time the capital saw snow was in 2008.
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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.”
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