Syrian refugees and internally displaced people are facing a desperate situation after a snowstorm struck the region, killing at least five people.

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Syrian refugees walk through snow in a refugee camp in Kabelias near the the Lebanese village of Zahle in the Bekaa valleyAFP
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Syrian refugees remove snow from tents at a makeshift settlement in Bar Elias, in the Bekaa valley, LebanonMohamed Azakir/Reuters
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Syrian refugees sort through donated clothes at a makeshift settlement in the village of Ketermaya, south of BeirutAli Hashisho/Reuters
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A refugee woman and children warm up around a fire at a camp housing Syrian families who fled their war torn country in the village of Wazzani, near the border between Lebanon and IsraelMahmoud Zayyat/AFP

Three Syrians died in Lebanon and two in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, according to Lebanese security officials and Syrian activists.

Snowfall and gales in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley destroyed some Syrian refugees' tents leaving people without shelter. Snow blocked roads in the Bekaa Valley, where more than 400,000 Syrian refugees are taking shelter in camps.

Mahmoud Moustapha, a Syrian refugee responsible for an unofficial camp where hundreds of refugees have set up tents, said: "The whole situation is tragic. It's miserable and it's freezing. People have no heating. Look. There is no bread nor diesel. No cars can reach here."

The wintry weather mostly silenced the guns in Syria and grounded government warplanes because of bad visibility. Wednesday (7 January) was the first day in three years when no casualties of the conflict were reported in Syria.

"The storm has bad effects and good ones," said Beibares Tellawi, an activist in the besieged city of Homs. "We have no blankets, no heating but the regime stopped its airstrikes."

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Rebel fighters warm themselves around a fire as they rest on the al-Breij frontline near AleppoHosam Katan/Reuters
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Syrians displaced by the fighting warm themselves around a fire in a tent during a winter storm in Jabal al-Zawiya, IdlibReuters
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Civilians and members of the Syrian Red Crescent play with snowballs in the Duma neighbourhood of DamascusBadra Mamet/Reuters
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Snow lies on the mountains behind the Duma neighbourhood of DamascusBassam Khabieh/Reuters
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A man makes his way across an area covered with snow in the Duma neighbourhood of DamascusBassam Khabieh/Reuters

The war, which began nearly four years ago, has also displaced some 6.5 million Syrians within the country whose pre-war population numbered about 23 million people.

The storm is forecast to last several days, threatening further disruption in Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Jordan, Israel, the West Bank as well as Gaza Strip, which have all been affected. Night-time temperatures in Ankara were forecast to plunge to minus 17 degrees Celsius.

Wind and rain also struck the Gaza Strip, where infrastructure and thousands of homes were destroyed in a 50-day war with Israel last summer.

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Snow covers the compound of a house in the Palestinian East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Beit HaninaAmmar Awad/Reuters
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Palestinians throw snowballs in front of the Dome of the Rock at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the old city of JerusalemAhmad Gharabli/AFP
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Palestinians warm themselves by a fire as they sit in a makeshift shelter outside their house, which was destroyed during last summer's war, in the east of Gaza CityMohammed Salem/Reuters
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Displaced Palestinians gather around a fire in a temporary shelter in the southern Gaza Strip where they live after their homes were destroyed during the 50-day-war between Israel and Hamas militants last summerSaid Khatib/AFP
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Palestinian man Tarek Mokbel, whose house was destroyed by what he said was Israeli shelling last summer, gathers with his children around a fire at a UN-run school in Shati refugee camp in Gaza CitySuhaib Salem/Reuters
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Ishaq Abu Romeileh, a 65-year-old Palestinian man, swims in a pond covered in ice in the West Bank town of HebronHazem Bader/AFP
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People whose vehicles got stranded in the snow continue their way on foot, in the mountains east of Beirut, LebanonJoseph Eid/AFP
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A man whose vehicle got stranded in the snow in the area of Mdeirej continues his way on foot towards Sofar, LebanonJoseph Eid/AFP
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People enjoy snow near the ruins of the Roman Temples of Bacchus at Baalbek in eastern LebanonAhmed Shalha/Reuters

Transport was disrupted across the region. Israeli police closed the main highways to Jerusalem intermittently, while Beirut Airport was briefly closed.