The Mesopotamian Marshes, also known as the Iraqi Marshes, are a wetland area located in Southern Iraq and Southwestern Iran. Historically the marshlands, mainly composed of the separate but adjacent Central, Hawizeh and Hammar Marshes, used to be the largest wetland ecosystem of Western Eurasia. It is a rare aquatic landscape in the desert, providing habitat for the Marsh Arabs and important populations of wildlife. Draining of portions of the marshes began in the 1950s and continued through the 1970s to reclaim land for agriculture and oil exploration. However, in the late 1980s and 1990s, during the presidency of Saddam Hussein, this work was expanded and accelerated to evict Shia Muslims from the marshes. Before 2003, the marshes were drained to 10% of their original size. After the fall of Hussein's regime in 2003, the marshes have partially recovered but drought along with upstream dam construction and operation in Turkey, Syria and Iran have hindered the process. Since 2016 the Mesopotamian marshes have been listed as an UNESCO Heritage Site.