The mountainous region was part of the diocese of Beth Nuhadra (current day Dohuk) since antiquities and have seen a mass migration of Nestorians after the fall of Baghdad in 1258 and Timurlane's invasion from central Iraq.
Its Christian inhabitants were little affected by the Ottoman conquests, however starting from the 19th century Kurdish Emirs sought to expand their territories at their expense. In the 1830s Muhammad Rawanduzi, the Emir of Soran, tried to forcibly add the region to his dominion pillaging many Assyrian villages. Bedr Khan Beg of Bohtan renewed attacks on the region in the 1840s, killing tens of thousands of Assyrians in Barwari and Hakkari before being ultimately defeated by the Ottomans.
Many Assyrians who survived later suffered in the Assyrian Genocide by the Ottoman Army and their Kurdish allies during the First World War; others took refuge in Urmia led by their patriarch, Mar Shimun XXI Benyamin. Later attempts for their resettlement in Barwar were largely successful however, and Assyrians still live in the region.
In addition to the Assyrian population, an Aramaic speaking Jewish population existed in the region for thousands of years, living mainly in Barwari. However, All of the Barwari Jews left for Israel shortly after its independence in 1947. The region was heavily affected by the Kurdish uprisings during the 1950s and 60s and was largely depopulated during the Al-Anfal campaign in the 1980s, although some of its population later returned and their homes were subsequently rebuilt.
Barwari has many historic sites, such as Cave churches in the villages of Eyit and Dooreh. Additionally, the area has beautiful scenery and rustic beauty, with sprawling mountains and small villages with mixed modern and traditionally built structures.
List of Settlements
- Annoneh (Kani Mase)
- Totha Shmiaee
- Bethanure (depopulated Jewish village)
- Shukho (depopulated Jewish village)
- Berwari (East Syrian Diocese)
- Nahla plains
- Tur Abdin
- Alqosh, Tel Keppe and Batnaya - Assyrian tribes also in Northern Iraq
- Tyari, Jilu, Gawar Nochiya - Assyrian tribes to the north, in Hakkari province, Turkey
- Islamic desk reference, E. J. van Donzel
- A modern history of the Kurds, David McDowall
- Gaunt, David; Beṯ-Şawoce, Jan (2006), Massacres, resistance, protectors: Muslim-Christian relations in Eastern Anatolia during World War I, Gorgias Press LLC, p. 32, ISBN 978-1-59333-301-0
- Stafford, Ronald Sempill (2006), The Tragedy of the Assyrians, Gorgias Press LLC, p. 41, ISBN 978-1-59333-413-0