Arab weather - Snow covered large parts of Greece and Turkey on Monday, as a result of the region being affected by a strong snow storm, which is an unusual event for southern Mediterranean countries, but it happened for the second time in two years.
A rare snowstorm called "Elpida" (or "hope" in Greek) brought movement to a standstill in the Greek capital, Athens, and overnight temperatures dropped to -14 degrees Celsius, and schools and vaccination centers were forced to close.
Snow also brought down the roof of a building in Istanbul's main air traffic hub, halting flights to and from Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Snow is usually restricted to the northern mountainous regions of Greece, and it rarely snows with such intensity in Athens, so the Greek government has declared a holiday in parts of the country, including the capital, to urge people not to go out.
"We are asking citizens to avoid leaving their homes. It will be a difficult night," said Minister for Climate Change and Civil Protection Christos Stylianides.
He added that "the increase in snow is unprecedented in some areas."
Hundreds of city drivers were stuck in their cars for hours as rescuers braved the cold to free stranded motorists.
Some motorists in Athens got stuck in their cars for up to five hours
A snowstorm in February last year killed four people across Greece, as well as cutting power to thousands of residents for several days.
Kostas Lagovardos, director of research at the National Observatory of Athens, told ANT1 TV that the capital had not had consecutive winters like this since 1968.
Snow fell on many islands of the Aegean Sea, including on the beaches of the popular tourist region of Mykonos.
Harsh weather in the southern Mediterranean
Neighboring Albania also closed all primary and secondary schools for three days due to freezing temperatures.
Snow fell across Turkey before it reached the northern region of Syria, home to thousands of refugees in makeshift camps, unprepared for the levels of cold brought by the storm.
Snowfalls in Greece and Turkey are expected to last for several days.
A session of the Greek parliament in Athens had to be suspended due to the storm
Greece also suffered from deadly and devastating forest fires last summer that lasted for days. It is traced back to the effects of climate change increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme weather.