Massive sandstorm grounds Assad's airforce

Government forces call off air strikes against rebel positions north of the central Hama province due to reduced visibility.

Massive sandstorm grounds Assad's airforce

World Bulletin / News Desk

A heavy and unseasonable sandstorm has swept across parts of the Middle East, killing two people and hospitalising hundreds in Lebanon, and disrupting fighting and airstrikes in neighbouring Syria according to news in Al Jazeera.

Clouds of dust also engulfed Israel, Jordan and Cyprus, where aircraft were diverted to Paphos from Larnaca airport as visibility fell to 500 metres. The storm left at least 12 people, sending hundreds to hospital hundreds to hospitals for breathing difficulties.

At least three refugee women died in Lebanon on Tuesday where at least 750 others were hospitalised for asphyxiation or shortness of breath, the health ministry said.

The meteorological department at Beirut's Rafik Hariri International Airport described the storm as being "unprecedented" in Lebanon's modern history.

The pro-government Syrian Al-Watan newspaper says it forced the Assad government to halt all air strikes against rebel fighters in the rebel-held areas in the north and centre of the country.

Activist Hadi al-Abdallah, in the northern province of Idlib, confirmed there were no strikes on the northern suburbs, which are usually bombarded on a daily basis.

"That's the worst sandstorm I've ever seen. I couldn't [see an] object just five metres away. Most people stayed indoors," he told Al Jazeera.



Güncelleme Tarihi: 09 Eylül 2015, 09:26