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Location Syria, Aleppo
Central coordinates 37o 29.00' East  36o 3.00' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2, B3
Area 15,000 ha
Altitude 300 - 350m
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Syrian Society for the Conservation of Wildlife (Affiliate)

Site description A large, shallow salt-lake in a closed basin of c.37,500 ha, lying just south of Jabbul village, 35 km east-south-east of Halab (Aleppo). In the 1970s the lake was filled entirely by local run-off of winter/spring rainfall and its extent was highly variable from year to year, reaching a maximum of c.3,000 ha and with at least a little standing water at most times of the year. A levée built on the east side by the 1970s prevented flooding of the majority of the salt-flat in the east of the basin. However, in 1988 large, new irrigation projects on the nearby steppe started discharging surplus water into the lake on a substantial scale; it is not known how saline the inflow is nor whether it is seasonal or perennial. This appears to have led to a higher and more stable water level than in the past, since the lake currently measures up to 20 km long and 5 km wide (c.10,000 ha), and although in the 1970s the flat and sandy banks had little or no marginal vegetation, they are now locally lined by extensive Phragmites reedbeds, on the southern and south-eastern shores at least. At least two large islands are created at times of high flooding. Around the lake shore there is turf, close-cropped by sheep. The surrounding steppe has a sparse shrubland of Haloxylon and Artemisia. Primary uses of the area are salt extraction, wildfowl hunting, and livestock grazing on the surrounding steppe by nomadic pastoralists; in the 1970s the sabkhah to the east was an artillery firing range.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea passage  1993  400 individuals  poor  B1i  Least Concern 
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea winter  1993  300 individuals  poor  B1i  Least Concern 
Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus winter  1975-1977  6,000-8,000 individuals  poor  A4i  Least Concern 
Chlamydotis undulata resident  1993  present  B2  Not Recognised 
Black-winged Pratincole Glareola nordmanni breeding  1975  unknown  B2  Near Threatened 
Pallid Scops-owl Otus brucei breeding  1993  present  B3  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  1970-1993  20,000 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Sabkhat al-Jabbul Nature Reserve Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 10,000 protected area contained by site 10,000  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland Temperate  minor
Wetlands (inland) Permanent inland deltas; Permanent rivers, streams & creeks; Permanent saline, brackish & alkaline lakes; Permanent saline/brackish/alkaline marshes & pools; Seasonal/intermitt salt/brackish/alkali lake/flats; Seasonal/intermitt salt/brackish/alkali marsh/pool  20%
Artificial - terrestrial Arable land; Pasture land; Urban areas  major

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture major
rangeland/pastureland major
military minor
urban/industrial/transport minor
Notes: salt-pans
hunting major

Other biodiversity Mammals: Canis lupus (V), Gazella subgutturosa (rare).

Acknowledgements Data-sheets compiled by: Dr Ibrahim Hanna and Dr Amer Majid Agha (translated by S. Zaiane); Dr Riad Sabbagh and Dr M. A. Kabbani; Mohamed Taha Abassi (translated by S. Zaiane).

References Bodenham (1944), Carp (1980), Clarke (1924), Hollom (1959).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Sabkhat al-Jabboul. Downloaded from on 21/10/2014

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