• Middle East sandstorm
    Cairo is seen during a sandstorm, in this general view taken February 11, 2015.Reuters
  • Middle East sandstorm
    NASA's Aqua satellite acquired the above image of the dust storm on February 1, 2015.NASA/http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/
  • Middle East sandstorm
    Cairo was caught in the sandstorm.Twitter/Thomas Aders

Much of the Middle East, reeling under conflict, is caught in the centre of a new storm, literally.

A deadly sandstorm has descended on several countries in the region, brought on by a cyclone that crossed Africa's Atlas Mountains, pushing dust clouds from the Sahara Desert as far as Turkey. 

The 'cloud of dust' moving from the Sahara Desert was caught on NASA's satellite at the beginning of the month. 

NASA scientists have said that both, the timing and the intensity of the storm, were 'unusual', given that such high concentrations of dust particles so far away from the source was rare, and that such storms largely occurred during spring time. 

Having already shrouded Egypt and Turkey for three days, the storm also reached Israel and Lebanon on Wednesday, according to The Associated Press. 

Israel's Environmental protection Ministry also reported that the storm was the biggest to hit it in four years. 

The storm and the winds also brought strong waves to the coast, forcing Egypt to close two of its seaports, and even shutting the Suez Canal. 

Twitterati from Egypt, Jordan, Israel and other nations in the region posted photos of the sandstorm, showing little visibility and clouds of yellow dust hanging in the air over buildings. 

Several Twitterati added some political humour to describe the storm, linking it to Russian President Vladimir Putin's recent visit to Egypt, and new Saudi King Salman's push for stronger ties with Egypt. 

In Iran, people took to Twitter with the hashtag #KhouzestanCantBreath, sharing pictures of masked locals walking through the storm. 

 Some shared 'before-and-after' photos as the sandstorm obscured visibility.