Yarmuk valley

Country/territory: Syria

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

Area: 20,000 ha

The Syrian Society for the Conservation of Wildlife
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2014 medium not assessed negligible
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
The Yarmuk river runs along part of the Syria–Jordan frontier, at the southern end of the Golan Heights, and is joined by other streams in this region, e.g. near Heite by the Nahr al-Allan running from the north and by Wadi al-Thahab from the east. The watercourses lie in steep, narrow wadis cutting through a plateau with well-watered farmland (cereals), and though the sides of the valleys are barren the bottoms are full of lush vegetation including Phragmites reedbeds and oleander Nerium. The lower valleys are below sea-level. There are a few houses by the river below Heite. Lake Muzayrib (32°42'N 36°01'E, 2 ha) lies in a shallow depression on the plateau (Wadi al-Thahab), just west of Al-Muzayrib village and c.12 km north-west of Dar'a: a natural, spring-fed, mesotrophic lake of 2.5 m mean depth, with banks of grazed turf and at least one reedbed Phragmites. The lake is much used for irrigation, fishing, fish-farming and recreation (picnicing, etc.), and is surrounded by agriculture and many houses.

Key biodiversity
See box for key species. The avifauna resembles that of the Jordan Valley more than does that of any other region in Syria. Breeding species (presumed) include Halcyon smyrnensis, Anthus similis, Cercomela melanura, Acrocephalus melanopogon, A. stentoreus, A. arundinaceus, Cisticola juncidis and Nectarinia osea. Remiz pendulinus and Passer hispaniolensis have been recorded in winter.

Non-bird biodiversity: Fish: Tilapia gallilae (endemic).

Data-sheet compiled by M. I. Evans.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Yarmuk valley. Downloaded from on 08/02/2023.