|Location||Syria, Ar Raqqah|
|Central coordinates||39o 20.00' East 36o 25.00' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A4i, B1i, B2|
|Year of IBA assessment||1994|
Site description An extensive area of steppe to the west of Jabal Abdul Aziz and to the east and south-east of Skiro village (36°25'N 39°05'E), bounded by the Balikh valley to the west. In the 1960s there were seasonally inundated fresh and saline marshes in the Balikh valley, e.g. at Ali Bajiliyah, c.100 km north of Al-Raqqah. In the 1970s, there were extensive reedbeds and some open water at Skiro, and about 10 km north along the road from Skiro on the western side was Al-Sharkrak pond (c.1 ha). In the early 1980s there was an area of small permanent lakes (c.50 ha) called Waz Gol (36°31'N 39°01'E), fed by springs at Ayn al-Arus. Vegetation here, and probably elsewhere in the valley, consisted of Salix trees/bushes and stands of Phragmites, Lythrum, Carex and Luzula. However by 1992 (and perhaps as early as 1984) the lakes, springs, and river itself were all dry due to major and unsustainable water abstraction from the Balikh river for irrigation in Turkey and Syria. The continued existence of other wetland areas in the valley, of which the above are only representative examples, is thus in doubt. The majority of the steppe is cultivated with cereals and cotton and otherwise very heavily grazed by livestock; crop failures are common during droughts.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Marbled Teal Marmaronetta angustirostris||passage||1982||20 individuals||poor||A4i||Vulnerable|
|Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca||passage||1982||20 individuals||poor||B1i, B2||Near Threatened|
|White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala||passage||1982||1 individuals||poor||A1||Endangered|
|Great Bustard Otis tarda||winter||1976||16-22 individuals||poor||A1||Vulnerable|
|Sociable Lapwing Vanellus gregarius||passage||1982||4 individuals||poor||A1||Critically Endangered|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Artificial - terrestrial||major|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|Notes: Agric/cultiv/Rangeland: Primarily rangeland|
Other biodiversity No information.
Acknowledgements Data-sheet compiled by Prof. Dr S. Bottema; translation of article by G. Keijl.
References Bottema (1985), Macfarlane (1978), Savage (1968).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Tual al-'Abba. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 16/09/2014
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