Satellite picture of Sinjar Mountains
|Elevation||1,463 m (4,800 ft)|
|Nineveh Province, Iraq|
The Sinjar Mountains (Arabic: جبل سنجار; 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.
The Sinjar Mountains are a spectacular example of a breached anticlinal structure. 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
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.
Population and history
Since the 12th century, the area around the mountains have been mainly inhabited by Yazidis who venerate them and consider the highest to be the place where Noah's Ark settled after the biblical flood. 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."
Islamic State attacks
In August 2014, an estimated 40,000 or 50,000 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. The Yazidi refugees on the mountain faced what a relief worker called a "genocide" by the Islamists. Stranded without water, food, shade, or medical supplies, the Yazidis had to rely on scarce supplies of water and food airdropped by American, British, Australian, and Iraqi forces. 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, although thousands more remained stranded on the mountain as of August 12. 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.
- Jabal Sinjār (Approved) at GEOnet Names Server, United States National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
- جبل سنجار (Native Script) at GEOnet Names Server, United States National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
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