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The education ministry in war-hit Syria also announced that mid-term exams will be postponed until further notice due to "the prevailing weather conditions" as snow blanketing the capital Damascus.

In Jordan, a blizzard brought the country to a near halt. King Abdullah II ordered the army to help clear roads across the usually parched country and help those stranded by the snow. Thursday was also declared a holiday.

The storm triggered power blackouts in several countries, including Lebanon, where electricity has been rationed since the 1975-1990 civil war. That plunged several areas into darkness and leaving those who rely on electricity to heat their homes shivering.

"Our boiler works with electricity, so of course we have no hot water," said Elsa, a Beirut housewife. Officials and residents blamed the outage on the storm and an open-ended strike by employees of the state-run Electricite du Liban power company over salaries and pension issues.

Energy and Water Minister Gebran Bassil told AFP: "There is a storm, and there is a problem in the grid. Among them were a man who froze to death after he fell asleep drunk in his car in Lebanon's eastern Bekaa Valley and a baby swept away in a flash flood in the centre of the country.

In the Palestinian territories, officials reported four fatalities since Tuesday, one of them a woman in the West Bank who died from a fire she started in her home to keep warm.