HOME
        TheInfoList






Ras al-Ayn (Arabic: رأس العين‎, romanizedRaʾs al-ʿAyn, Kurdish: Serê Kaniyê‎, Classical Syriac: ܪܝܫ ܥܝܢܐ‎, romanized: Rēš Aynā[2]), also spelled Ras al-Ain, is a city in al-Hasakah Governorate in northeastern Syria, on the Syria–Turkey border.

One of the oldest cities in Upper Mesopotamia, the area of Ras al-Ayn has been inhabited since at least the Neolithic age (c. 8,000 BC). Later known as the ancient Aramean city of Sikkan, the Roman city of Rhesaina, and the Byzantine city of Theodosiopolis, the town was destroyed and rebuilt several times, and in medieval times was the site of fierce battles between several Muslim dynasties. With the 1921 Treaty of Ankara, Ras al-Ayn became a divided city when its northern part, today's Ceylanpınar, was ceded to Turkey.

With a population of 29,347 (as of 2004),[1] it is the third largest city in al-Hasakah Governorate, and the administrative center of Ras al-Ayn District.

During the Syrian Civil War, the city became contested between Syrian opposition forces and People's Protection Units (YPG) from November 2012 until it was finally captured by the YPG in July 2013. It was later captured by the Turkish Armed Forces and the Syrian National Army during the 2019 Turkish offensive into north-eastern Syria,[3][4][5][6] bringing it under the Turkish occupation of northern Syria.

Etymology

The first mention of the town is in Akkadian Rēš ina[7] during the reign of the Assyrian king Adad-nirari II (911-891 BC).[7] The Arabic name Ras al-Ayn derives from the Akkadian and has the same meaning; "head of the spring",[7] or idiomatically, "hill of the spring", indicating a prominent mountain formation close to a well.

Map of the medieval Jazira (Upper Mesopotamia), showing Ras al-Ayn as part of Diyar Rabi'a administrative division

The ancient Greek geographer Ptolemy (d. 168) names the town Raisena.[8] The town, as part of the Roman Empire, was called Ressaina/Resaina.[9] Another name was Theodosiopolis, after emperor Theodosius I, who enlarged the town in 380.[8] The 11th century Arab geographer Muhammad al-Idrisi visited the town, mentioning its name as Ras al-'Ayn, and assigning it to Diyar Rabi'a (abode of the Arab tribe Rabi'a). He also described it as a big city with plenty of water, around 300 springs from which most of al-Khabur river starts. [10] In addition to Ras al-Ayn, medieval Arab Muslim sources refer to the town sometimes as Ain Werda.[8] Nineteenth-century English sources refer to the town as Ras Ain, Ain Verdeh (1819),[11] or Ras el Ain (1868).[8] The Kurdish name Serê Kaniyê also means "head of the spring" or "head of the fountain", referring to water source areas. This name is probably a modern literal translation of the ancient Semitic name.[citation needed]

British ethnographical map from 1910 showing the name "Ras el Ain" in the red eclipse (top center). The blue color represents Arab population and yellow represents Kurds
Ottoman map from 1893 showing "Ras al-Ain" in Ottoman Turkish language (رأس العين) (in red circle, top center)

Geography and climate

Ras al-Ayn is located in the Upper Khabur basin in the northern Syrian region of Jazira. The Khabur, largest tributary of the Euphrates, crosses the border from Turkey near the town of Tell Halaf, about 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) to the southwest of the city. The overground feeders, originating on the headwaters of the Karaca volcano in Şanlıurfa Province, usually do not carry water in the summer, even though Turkey brings in water from the Atatürk reservoir to irrigate the region of Ceylanpınar. While more than 80% of the Upper Khabur's water originates in Turkey, this mostly comes as underground flow.[12] So rather than the overground streams, it is the giant karstic springs of the Ras al-Ayn area that is considered the river's main perennial source.[13]

Ras al-Ayn springs

Ras al-Ayn has more than 100 natural springs. The most famous spring is Nab'a al-Kebreet, a hot spring with a very high mineral content, containing calcium, lithium, and radium.

Water supplyOne of the oldest cities in Upper Mesopotamia, the area of Ras al-Ayn has been inhabited since at least the Neolithic age (c. 8,000 BC). Later known as the ancient Aramean city of Sikkan, the Roman city of Rhesaina, and the Byzantine city of Theodosiopolis, the town was destroyed and rebuilt several times, and in medieval times was the site of fierce battles between several Muslim dynasties. With the 1921 Treaty of Ankara, Ras al-Ayn became a divided city when its northern part, today's Ceylanpınar, was ceded to Turkey.

With a population of 29,347 (as of 2004),[1] it is the third largest city in al-Hasakah Governorate, and the administrative center of Ras al-Ayn District.

During the Syrian Civil War, the city became contested between Syrian opposition forces and People's Protection Units (YPG) from November 2012 until it was finally captured by the YPG in July 2013. It was later captured by the Turkish Armed Forces and the Syrian National Army during the 2019 Turkish offensive into north-eastern Syria,[3][4][5][6] bringing it under the Turkish occupation of northern Syria.

The first mention of the town is in Akkadian Rēš ina[7] during the reign of the Assyrian king Adad-nirari II (911-891 BC).[7] The Arabic name Ras al-Ayn derives from the Akkadian and has the same meaning; "head of the spring",[7] or idiomatically, "hill of the spring", indicating a prominent mountain formation close to a well.

Map of the medieval Jazira (Upper Mesopotamia), showing Ras al-Ayn as part of Diyar Rabi'a administrative division

The ancient Greek geographer Ptolemy (d. 168) names the town Raisena.[8] The town, as part of the Roman Empire, was called Ressaina/Resaina.[9] Another name was Theodosiopolis, after emperor Theodosius I, who enlarged the town in 380.[8] The 11th century Arab geographer Muhammad al-Idrisi visited the town, mentioning its name as Ras al-'Ayn, and assigning it to Diyar Rabi'a (abode of the Arab tribe Rabi'a). He also described it as a big city with plenty of water, around 300 springs from which most of al-Khabur river starts. [10] In addition to Ras al-Ayn, medieval Arab Muslim sources refer to the town sometimes as Ain Werda.[8] Nineteenth-century English sources refer to the town as Ras Ain, Ain Verdeh (1819),[11] or

The ancient Greek geographer Ptolemy (d. 168) names the town Raisena.[8] The town, as part of the Roman Empire, was called Ressaina/Resaina.[9] Another name was Theodosiopolis, after emperor Theodosius I, who enlarged the town in 380.[8] The 11th century Arab geographer Muhammad al-Idrisi visited the town, mentioning its name as Ras al-'Ayn, and assigning it to Diyar Rabi'a (abode of the Arab tribe Rabi'a). He also described it as a big city with plenty of water, around 300 springs from which most of al-Khabur river starts. [10] In addition to Ras al-Ayn, medieval Arab Muslim sources refer to the town sometimes as Ain Werda.[8] Nineteenth-century English sources refer to the town as Ras Ain, Ain Verdeh (1819),[11] or Ras el Ain (1868).[8] The Kurdish name Serê Kaniyê also means "head of the spring" or "head of the fountain", referring to water source areas. This name is probably a modern literal translation of the ancient Semitic name.[citation needed]

British ethnographical map from 1910 showing the name "Ras el Ain" in the red eclipse (top center). The blue color represents Arab population and yello

Ras al-Ayn is located in the Upper Khabur basin in the northern Syrian region of Jazira. The Khabur, largest tributary of the Euphrates, crosses the border from Turkey near the town of Tell Halaf, about 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) to the southwest of the city. The overground feeders, originating on the headwaters of the Karaca volcano in Şanlıurfa Province, usually do not carry water in the summer, even though Turkey brings in water from the Atatürk reservoir to irrigate the region of Ceylanpınar. While more than 80% of the Upper Khabur's water originates in Turkey, this mostly comes as underground flow.[12] So rather than the overground streams, it is the giant karstic springs of the Ras al-Ayn area that is considered the river's main perennial source.[13]

Ras al-Ayn springs

Ras al-Ayn has more than 100 natural springs. The most famous spring is Nab'a al-Kebreet, a hot spring with a very high mineral content, containing calcium, lithium, and radium.

Water supply

The Allouk water pumping station, which distributes water to the Hasakah Governorate, is close to Ras al-Ayn. Since the Turkish occupation began, the water supply has been interrupted several times.[14] Previously, the station supplied about 460,000 people in Al-Hasakah, Tell Tamer, and the Al-Hawl refugee camp, but not since the last interruption in March 2020, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.[15]

History