The site covers the area surrounding the villages of Anah and Rawa, lying in the narrow Euphrates valley c.240 km north-west of Baghdad, and includes the river itself. The region is stony desert on limestones and sandstones with much bare rock, sparsely vegetated with mostly spiny herbs. The river plain is sandy and silty, and there is some cultivation (dense date-palm groves with undergrowth, and cotton fields. There are flat, sandy islands in the river.
See box for key species. The breeding avifauna also includes Tadorna ferruginea, Cursorius cursor, Halcyon smyrnensis, Merops superciliosus and Pycnonotus leucotis.
Non-bird biodiversity: Reptiles: the desert has a rich reptile fauna.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
No conservation measures are known to have been taken. In recent years dams on the Euphrates in Turkey and Syria have caused considerable fluctuations in the water level, with consequent negative effects on the alluvial habitats. No conservation measures are known to have been proposed.