Ras al-Ayn

Country/territory: Syria

IBA criteria met: A1, B2, B3 (1994)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 100,000 ha

The Syrian Society for the Conservation of Wildlife
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2014 not assessed high negligible
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Site description (1994 baseline)
A vast area of steppe around the border settlement of Ras al-Ayn, through which the seasonal Khabur river flows in winter and spring, north-west of Al-Hasakah. Much of the steppe along the Khabur valley is now under irrigated cultivation of wheat and cotton. Trees and scrub occur along the Khabur river, especially at Ras al-Ayn where there is a patch of c.100 ha of dense Salix bushes, fed by a very powerful, sulphurous hot spring.

Key biodiversity
See box for key species. Streptopelia turtur is a passage migrant in large numbers at Ras al-Ayn. Anser albifrons occurs in winter. There is almost no information on the site since the mid-1970s. Likely species are indicated by extrapolating from the adjacent Ceylanpinar area in Turkey (see Grimmett and Jones 1989). Other likely breeding species include Buteo rufinus, Aquila chrysaetos, Burhinus oedicnemus, Pterocles alchata and Merops superciliosus, as well as a variety of waterfowl along the Khabur river.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals: Gazella subgutturosa (rare) may still occur. Reptiles: Varanus griseus (rare) may still occur.

Data-sheet compiled by M. I. Evans.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Ras al-Ayn. Downloaded from on 26/09/2023.