Sinjar Mountains

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Sinjar
Sinjar Mountains.png
Satellite picture of Sinjar Mountains
Elevation 1,463 m (4,800 ft)
Location
Sinjar is located in Iraq
Sinjar
Sinjar
Nineveh Province, Iraq
Coordinates 36°22′0.22″N 41°43′18.62″E / 36.3667278°N 41.7218389°E / 36.3667278; 41.7218389Coordinates: 36°22′0.22″N 41°43′18.62″E / 36.3667278°N 41.7218389°E / 36.3667278; 41.7218389
Anticlinal structures in Nineveh. Jebel Sinjar is the largest and most western structure

The Sinjar Mountains[1] (Arabic: جبل سنجار‎;[2] also Shengar/Shengal Mountains; Kurdish: چیای شهنگال/شهنگار) are a 100 kilometres (62 mi)-long east –west trending mountain range that rises to an elevation of 1,463 meters (4,800 ft) and above the surrounding the alluvial plains, northern steppe, of northwestern Iraq. The highest segment, which is about 75 kilometres (47 mi) long, of these mountains lies in Nineveh Governorate in northwestern Iraq. The western and lower segment of these mountains, which is about 25 kilometres (16 mi) long, lies in Syria. The city of Sinjar is just south of the range.[3][4]

Geology[edit]

The Sinjar Mountains are a spectacular example of a breached anticlinal structure.[3] These mountains consist of an asymmetrical, doubly plunging anticline, which is called the Sinjar Anticline, with a steep northern limb, gentle southern limb and a northerly vergence. The northern side of the anticline is normally faulted, which results in the repetition of the sequence of sedimentary strata exposed in it. The deeply eroded Sinjar Anticline exposes a number of sedimentary formations ranging from Late Cretaceous to Early Neogene in age. The Late Cretaceous Shiranish Formation outcrops within the middle of the Sinjar Mountains. The flanks this mountain range consist of outward dipping strata of the Sinjar and Aliji formations (Paleocene to Early Eocene); Jaddala Formation (Middle to Late Eocene); Serikagne Formation (Early Miocene); and Jeribe Formation (Early Miocene). The Sinjar Mountains are surrounded by exposures of Middle and Late Miocene sedimentary strata[4]

The mountain is a groundwater recharge area and should have good quality water, although away from the mountain groundwater quality is poor. Quantities are sufficient for agricultural and stock use.[5]

Sinjarite, a hygroscopic calcium chloride formed as soft pink mineral, was discovered in braided wadi fill in limestone exposures near Sinjar.[6]

Population and history[edit]

Since the 12th century,[7] the area around the mountains have been mainly inhabited by Yazidis[8] who venerate them and consider the highest to be the place where Noah's Ark settled after the biblical flood.[9] The Yazidis have historically used the mountains as a place of refuge and escape during periods of conflict. Gertrude Bell wrote, in the 1920s: "Until a couple of years ago the Yezidis were ceaselessly at war with the Arabs and with everybody else."[7]

Islamic State attacks[edit]

In August 2014, an estimated 40,000[10] or 50,000[11] Yazidis fled to the mountains following attacks by Islamic State (IS) forces on the city of Sinjar, which fell to the IS on August 3.[12] The Yazidi refugees on the mountain faced what a relief worker called a "genocide" by the Islamists.[13] Stranded without water, food, shade, or medical supplies, the Yazidis had to rely on scarce[14] supplies of water and food airdropped by American,[15] British,[16] Australian,[17] and Iraqi forces.[18] By August 10, Kurdish troops and officials had saved some 30,000 of the refugees by opening a corridor from the mountains into nearby Syria and from there into Iraqi Kurdistan,[19] although thousands more remained stranded on the mountain as of August 12.[13] It has been reported that 300 Yazidi women were taken as slaves and over 500 men, women, and children were killed, some beheaded or buried alive in the foothills, as part of an effort by the Islamists to instill terror generally and specifically to desecrate the mountain the Yazidis consider sacred.[15][19][20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jabal Sinjār (Approved) at GEOnet Names Server, United States National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
  2. ^ جبل سنجار (Native Script) at GEOnet Names Server, United States National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
  3. ^ a b Edgell, H. S. 2006. Arabian Deserts: Nature, Origin, and Evolution. Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands. 592 pp. ISBN 978-1-4020-3969-0
  4. ^ a b Numan, N. M. S., and N. K. AI-Azzawi. 2002. Progressive Versus Paroxysmal Alpine Folding in Sinjar Anticline Northwestern Iraq. Iraqi Journal of Earth Science. vol. 2, no.2, pp.59-69.
  5. ^ Al-Sawaf, F.D.S. 1977. Hydrogeology of South Sinjar Plain Northwest Iraq. Doctoral thesis, University of London
  6. ^ Aljubouri, Zeki A.; Aldabbagh, Salim M. (March 1980), "Sinjarite, a new mineral from Iraq", Mineralogical Magazine 43: 643–645 
  7. ^ a b Tim Lister (August 12, 2014). "Dehydration or massacre: Thousands caught in ISIS chokehold". CNN. Retrieved 2014-08-13. 
  8. ^ Fuccaro, Nelida (1999). The Other Kurds: Yazidis in Colonial Iraq. London: I.B.Tauris. pp. 47–48. ISBN 978-1-86064-170-1. 
  9. ^ Parry, Oswald Hutton (1895). Six Months in a Syrian Monastery: Being the Record of a Visit to the Head Quarters of the Syrian Church in Mesopotamia: With Some Account of the Yazidis Or Devil Worshippers of Mosul and El Jilwah, Their Sacred Book. London: H. Cox. p. 381. OCLC 3968331. 
  10. ^ Martin Chulov (3 August 2014). "40,000 Iraqis stranded on mountain as Isis jihadists threaten death". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-08-06. 
  11. ^ "Northern Iraq: UN voices concern about civilians’ safety, need for humanitarian aid". United Nations News Centre. 2014-08-08. Retrieved 2014-08-12. 
  12. ^ "Irak : la ville de Sinjar tombe aux mains de l'Etat islamique" (in French). Le Monde. 2014-08-03. Retrieved 2014-08-12. 
  13. ^ a b "Thousands of Yazidis 'still trapped' on Iraq mountain". BBC News. 2014-08-12. Retrieved 2014-08-12. 
  14. ^ "People Eating Leaves to Survive on Shingal Mountain, Where Three More Die". Rûdaw.net. 2014-08-07. Retrieved 2014-08-12. 
  15. ^ a b "Iraq crisis: No quick fix, Barack Obama warns". BBC News. 2014-08-09. Retrieved 2014-08-09. 
  16. ^ "Britain's RAF makes second aid drop to Mount Sinjar Iraqis trapped by Isis – video". The Guardian. 2014-08-12. Retrieved 2014-08-12. 
  17. ^ "JTF633 supports Herc mercy dash". Media Release. Department of Defence. 22 August 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  18. ^ "Irak : les opérations pour sauver les réfugiés yézidis continuent" (in French). Le Monde. 2014-08-12. Retrieved 2014-08-12. 
  19. ^ a b "Irak: les yazidis fuient les atrocités des djihadistes". Le Figaro (in French). 10 August 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-08-11. 
  20. ^ "Etat islamique en Irak : décapités, crucifiés ou exécutés, les yézidis sont massacrés par les djihadistes" (in French). Atlantico. 9 August 2014. Archived from the original on 11 August 2014. 

External links[edit]