Political disturbance and armed conflict in the Middle East since 2010 have had the unintended consequence of making the air cleaner.
Researchers say that in countries like Syria and Iraq, levels of air pollutants have fallen dramatically.
The amount of nitrogen dioxide in the air over Damascus has fallen by up to 50% since start of the civil war.
The authors believe their work has important lessons for projections of global emissions.
Since 2004, scientists have been able to monitor atmospheric pollutants with high levels of precision thanks to the deployment of the Ozone Monitoring Instrument onboard the Nasa Aura satellite.
This new study used data from the spacecraft to see how economic, political and military activity has impacted levels of pollutants in and around the Middle East over the past decade.
Looking at levels of nitrogen oxides (NOx) that are generated from the burning of fossil fuels especially in transport, the team found a complex and unpredictable picture.