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Location Syria, Rif Dimashq
Central coordinates 37o 22.00' East  33o 18.00' North
IBA criteria A4i, B2, B3
Area 40,000 ha
Altitude 600 - 975m
Year of IBA assessment 1994

Syrian Society for the Conservation of Wildlife (Affiliate)

Site description A huge, extinct volcanic crater, the largest of many within a huge basalt lava field which covers much of southern Syria and northern Jordan. Jabal Sis (Sies) lies near the eastern edge of the basalt, 100 km east-south-east of Damascus and 55 km south of the main road running east from Damascus to Iraq. The volcano rises about 100 m above the surrounding plain. Spring rain lies in small lakes and pools in scattered pans of impermeable clay, and there is a rain-fed lake at the foot of Jabal Sis itself. Vegetation is sparse. The terrain is impassable to vehicles except along tracks, of which there are few. Nomadic pastoralists graze large flocks in the area in spring and early summer.

Key Biodiversity See box for key species. Proven or probable breeding species include Cursorius cursor (common), Charadrius leschenaultii (see box; large numbers have been seen at rain-flooded pans in March and May: almost certainly a breeding summer visitor), Eremophila bilopha, Oenanthe deserti, Corvus ruficollis and Rhodopechys githaginea. The area also holds a thinly spread resident population of a dark form of Oenanthe lugens, which occurs only on the basalt plains of Syria, Jordan and northern Saudi Arabia. Pterocles orientalis (150, December) and P. alchata (c.300, March) occur in good numbers in winter/spring.

Non-bird biodiversity: No information.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Sand Partridge Ammoperdix heyi resident  1993  present  B3  Least Concern 
Lappet-faced Vulture Torgos tracheliotos non-breeding  1968  1 individuals  poor  B2  Endangered 
Chlamydotis undulata breeding  1976  1 mature individuals  poor  B2  Not Recognised 
Greater Sandplover Charadrius leschenaultii breeding  1993  100 individuals  poor  A4i  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2014 medium not assessed negligible

Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - unintentional effects (species is not the target) likely in short term (within 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Climate change and severe weather temperature extremes likely in short term (within 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Some of site covered (10-49%)  No management planning has taken place  Very little or no conservation action taking place  negligible 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Desert   major
Wetlands (inland)   minor

Land use

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

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

References Macfarlane (1978).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Jabal Sis . Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

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