Concentrations of elements and ions measured in aerosol samples collected from March 1992 to the end of December 1993 were investigated to identify source regions affecting chemical composition of aerosols in the eastern Mediterranean atmosphere. Collected samples were analyzed for approximately 40 elements and ions using a combination of atomic absorption spectrometry, instrumental neutron activation analysis, ion chromatography and colorimetry. Statistical techniques, such as enrichment factors and a non-parametric bootstrapped potential source contribution function, were applied on the data set to determine main source types and source regions of anthropogenic particles in the eastern Mediterranean basin. Source regions of two previously defined anthropogenic components, namely a long-range transported component and a local pollution component, were identified. The main source areas for pollutants reaching the eastern Mediterranean basin were determined as southern and western parts of Turkey, central and eastern regions of Ukraine, east of Belarus, Greece, Georgia, Romania, coastal areas along France and Spain and coastal areas around the Black Sea, Russia. More distant source regions in the South of UK and Sweden, the central part of Algeria, the northeastern part of Turkey, Russia, Germany, Hungary, Czech Republic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and coastal areas of Egypt, Israel and Italy do affect aerosol composition in the eastern Mediterranean, but transport from these regions cannot account for the highest 20% of the measured pollutant concentrations. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.