Al-Jazira, Mesopotamia

Al - Jazeera (Arabic: الجزيرة, al - Ǧazīra DMG ), in the meaning of " island ", " peninsula ", " river island ", is the Arabic name for the territory of present-day northern Iraq's West and Northeast Syria. Other spellings Jazeera, Djezirah, Djazirah, Jazirah, Dschesireh (eg Karl May ) and Gesireh. The area coincides with northern Mesopotamia and stretches from the Euphrates to the Tigris. The Khabur originates in Turkey and flows 440 km through the landscape until it empties into the Euphrates River on the northern edge of the Syrian desert. The larger cities of Mosul are Jazirah, Deir ez- Zor, al-Raqqa, al -Hasakah and Qamishli. The western part corresponds to the Syrian government of al -Hasakah. The capital of the western region is al -Hasakah. The eastern part of Iraq is identical with the Iraqi province of Ninawa. The capital of the eastern region is Mosul.


The western part of northern Mesopotamia ( to al-Raqqa ) is called Diyar Mudar, the northern part as Diyar Bakr (according to Diyarbakir ) and the eastern part is called Diyar Rabi'a. These names come from Arab tribes ago. The name al - Jazeera was used in the Islamic sources for the designation of the northern part of Mesopotamia and made together with the region of Sawad Iraq ( Al-' Aragh ) from. The Jazirah was bounded on the south by the Jabal Sinjar, but the western and eastern boundaries appear to have been variable in the period before the Abbasids and sometimes included western Syria and Adiabene in the east.

Jazeera is described as plain and as quite distinct from the Syrian Desert and lower-lying central Mesopotamia. So there is in central Mesopotamia one of the largest salt flats in the world. Further south from Mosul to Basra, there is a sandy desert that resembles the Rub al- Khali, where summer temperatures can climb up to 58 ° C.. The region has been plagued in recent years by drought.


Early history

Northern Mesopotamia was the heart of ancient Assyria. Since the pre-Islamic times, al - Jazeera was an economically prosperous region with various agricultural products such as fruits and cereals, and also a productive manufacturing system for food and clothing. The position of the region on the borders of the Sassanid and Byzantine Empire made ​​it a major economic center, and it had also had conquered this advantage as Muslims parts of the Byzantine Anatolia. The Jazirah enclosed the former Sassanid provinces Arbayestan, Nisibis and Mosul.

Islamic empires

The conquest of the region came to the time of the early caliphate, leaving the former administration intact with the exception that now the jizya tax was levied. At the time of Mu ʿ āwiyas (Governor of Syria and later founder of the Umayyad ), management al - Dschaziras was integrated into the administration of Syria. During the early Islamic empires the administration was divided with that of Armenia.

The prosperity of the region and its high horticultural and manufacturing income made ​​it an object of rivalry between the leaders of conquering armies of the early Arabs. Various conquerors tried in vain, under a unit and its power to bind the various cities of the former Sassanid provinces and the recently conquered Byzantine province of Mesopotamia itself.

The control of the region was essential for every power that had its center in Baghdad. Consequently, the establishment of the Abbasid Jazeera brought under the direct control of Baghdad. At the time, the Jazirah was one of the most productive tax provinces of the Abbasid Empire.

During the early history of Islam, the Jazirah was a center of Charidschitenbewegung and had to be subdued by the caliph so all the time. Later, the Hamdanids, descendants of the Kharijites, an autonomous state in the Jazirah and northern Syria established. The disappearance of the Hamdanids brought the region back under the nominal rule of the caliph in Baghdad, while the real power was in the hands of the Buyids.

Turkish empires

In subsequent periods, the Jazirah came under the control of the newly founded Turkish dynasties such as the Ichschididen and Zengids, and was eventually controlled by the Ayyubids. The later development of the region was determined by the rise of Mosul and Nisibis ', which were both important commercial and manufacturing centers. In 12 yrs. the region was conquered by the Seljuk Turks and later dominated and subordinated to the Rumseldschuken. When the Ottomans followed the Rumseldschuken in Asia Minor, the Jazirah came under their control.

Modern History

Thousands of Christian refugees from Turkey entered the Syrian Jazirah after the First World War. In addition, 1933 17.000 Assyrian Christians Chaldean Catholics and 7000 were due to persecution and massacre from northern Iraq.

Current Situation

Jazeera is one of the four archdioceses of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch. The others are located in Aleppo, Homs and Damascus.

In the last 40 years, many Christians have emigrated from this area. The main reasons were the droughts, the exodus of Christians from Turkey and the influx of Kurds from the east.