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Location Syria, Ar Raqqah
Central coordinates 39o 20.00' East  36o 25.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, B1i, B2
Area 30,000 ha
Altitude 300 m
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Syrian Society for the Conservation of Wildlife (Affiliate)



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.

Populations of IBA trigger species

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 

Habitats

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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture major
Notes: Agric/cultiv/Rangeland: Primarily rangeland
hunting major
Notes: Hunting
rangeland/pastureland minor

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 01/08/2014

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