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Location Syria, Al Hasakah
Central coordinates 40o 5.00' East  36o 50.00' North
IBA criteria A1, B2, B3
Area 100,000 ha
Altitude 400 - 450m
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Syrian Society for the Conservation of Wildlife (Affiliate)

Site description A vast area of steppe around the border settlement of Ras al-Ayn, through which the seasonal Khabur river flows in winter and spring, north-west of Al-Hasakah. Much of the steppe along the Khabur valley is now under irrigated cultivation of wheat and cotton. Trees and scrub occur along the Khabur river, especially at Ras al-Ayn where there is a patch of c.100 ha of dense Salix bushes, fed by a very powerful, sulphurous hot spring.

Key Biodiversity See box for key species. Streptopelia turtur is a passage migrant in large numbers at Ras al-Ayn. Anser albifrons occurs in winter. There is almost no information on the site since the mid-1970s. Likely species are indicated by extrapolating from the adjacent Ceylanpinar area in Turkey (see Grimmett and Jones 1989). Other likely breeding species include Buteo rufinus, Aquila chrysaetos, Burhinus oedicnemus, Pterocles alchata and Merops superciliosus, as well as a variety of waterfowl along the Khabur river.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals: Gazella subgutturosa (rare) may still occur. Reptiles: Varanus griseus (rare) may still occur.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
See-see Partridge Ammoperdix griseogularis resident  1993  present  B3  Least Concern 
Black Francolin Francolinus francolinus resident  1993  common  B2  Least Concern 
Eurasian Bittern Botaurus stellaris passage  1993  present  B2  Least Concern 
Great Bustard Otis tarda winter  1993  common  A1  Vulnerable 
Dead Sea Sparrow Passer moabiticus breeding  1968  10-12 breeding pairs  good  B3  Least Concern 
Pale Rock Sparrow Petronia brachydactyla breeding  1993  unknown  B3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2014 high not assessed negligible

Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming likely in short term (within 4 years) majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities likely in short term (within 4 years) majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high

Little/none of site covered (<10%)  No management planning has taken place  Very little or no conservation action taking place  negligible 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   major
Grassland   minor
Shrubland   minor
Wetlands (inland)   minor

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture major
rangeland/pastureland minor
hunting major

Acknowledgements Data-sheet compiled by M. I. Evans.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Ras al-Ayn. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016

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