This week marked the end of 2015, a year that yet again saw turmoil across the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan. It also underscored the resilience of the people across the region and their determination to celebrate despite much adversity.
In Dubai, a fire raged at a high rise in the Gulf's glittering metropolis .The towering inferno that engulfed a 63-story luxury hotel on New Year's Eve competed with the fireworks display that went ahead at the world's tallest skyscraper nearby, the Burj Khalifa, and burned on into the first morning of 2016 as firefighters tried to douse the flames Friday.
The blaze at The Address Downtown, one of the most upscale hotels and residences in Dubai, followed a series of fires over the past months that struck the towers that provide this megacity its futuristic skyline. The Dubai Media office declared on Twitter: "New Year celebrations in Dubai will continue as scheduled," and soon the fireworks display lit up the skyline.
In Gaza, still recovering after the 2014 war, people braved heavy rainfall to celebrate the new year — though Gaza's Islamist Hamas rulers had banned New Year celebrations in the Palestinian coastal enclave.
In Iraq's Ramadi, civilians began to return to their ravaged hometown, after Iraqi commandos re-took most of the city, which had been held by the Islamic State since May.
Syrian opposition fighters, some on wheelchairs, others using stretchers or crutches, left the Syrian mountain resort of Zabadani to head to the Lebanese border from where they were to be flown to Turkey. The evacuation is part of a U.N.-backed truce deal reached in September for two key Syrian battleground areas that will see the transfer of thousands of Shiite and Sunni civilians and fighters from one area to another.
In Egypt, hundreds gathered on New Year's Eve at the Giza Pyramids for a stunning fireworks display and light show broadcast live. It was a show of defiance and national pride, a bid to revive Egypt's struggling tourist economy after a year that saw two deadly attacks on holidaymakers.
AP Middle East Regional Photo Editor Maya Alleruzzo in Cairo curated this gallery. Follow her on Twitter: www.twitter.com/mayaalleruzzo
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