People across Western Asia are celebrating Newroz, a spring festival marking the start of the new year for a range of ethnic groups throughout the greater Middle East. Atop Mount Akre Iraq's northern Kurdish region, thousands carried torches and shot fireworks to mark the day. Celebrants danced around bonfires and unfurled a huge Kurdish flag. Along with Kurds in Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria, the holiday is also celebrated by people of Persian descent in Iran, India, Central Asia and Afghanistan. But amid the celebrations, tragedies have also occurred.

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