Khan Shaykhun

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Khan Shaykhun
خان شيخون
Khan Shaykhun is located in Syria
Khan Shaykhun
Khan Shaykhun
Location in Syria
Coordinates: 35°26′20″N 36°39′4″E / 35.43889°N 36.65111°E / 35.43889; 36.65111Coordinates: 35°26′20″N 36°39′4″E / 35.43889°N 36.65111°E / 35.43889; 36.65111
Country de-jure: Syria
de-facto - Tahrir al-Sham Emirate
Governorate Idlib
District Maarrat al-Nu'man
Subdistrict Khan Shaykhun
Elevation 350 m (1,150 ft)

Khan Shaykhun (Arabic: خان شيخون‎‎), sometimes spelled Khan Sheikhoun or Khan Shikhoun,[1] is a town in, and sub-district of, the Maarrat al-Nu'man District, within the southern Idlib Governorate of northwestern Syria.

Khan Shaykhun has an altitude of 350 meters. It is located on the main highway between Aleppo and Damascus. The local economy is primarily agricultural, focusing on the growing of cotton and cereals.[2] The town was formerly known for producing embroidery.[3] Nearby localities include Hbit to the west, Kafr Zita to southwest, Murak to the south and Al-Tamanah to the east.


Khan Shaykhun takes its name from a 14th-century khan or caravanserai built by the Mamluk emir Sayf al-Din Shaykhu al-'Umari.[4][5] The town grew up around the khan and is situated below a prominent tell, where excavations carried out in 1930 under the French Comte du Mesnil du Buisson revealed evidence of habitation dating back to the 20th century BC.[2][6] The tell, which measures about 200–250 m long by 18–24 m high, was levelled off in the Bronze and Iron Ages to provide a platform for a series of walled towns built successively on top of each other. The second of these, dating to about 700 BC, has been identified as the Assyrian town of Ashkhani. The site was abandoned around 300 BC.[7]

In more recent times, Khan Shaykhun was noted for its beehive houses, an architectural style found across the Levant and probably exported from there to North Africa.[8] It was described in 1902 by the traveller Henry James Ross as "a miserable looking village"[9] and remained small until relatively recently. In 1966 it was recorded as having only around 3,000 inhabitants.[5]

Syrian Civil War[edit]

During the Syrian Civil War, the town initially fell under control of the Syrian opposition; Idlib province, which includes the town, is "mostly controlled" by the Tahrir al-Sham alliance, "which is dominated by the Fateh al-Sham Front, formerly known as the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra Front."[10]

On 4 April 2017, the town came under a heavy air attack, using chemical weapons.[11] 86 people were killed.[12][13][14][15]


  1. ^ "Khan Shikhoun - Wikimapia". Wikimapia. 
  2. ^ a b Cohen, Saul Bernard (1998). The Columbia Gazetteer of the World: A to G. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-11040-2. 
  3. ^ Condra, Jill (2013). Encyclopedia of National Dress: Traditional Clothing Around the World. ABC-CLIO. p. 431. ISBN 978-0-313-37637-5. 
  4. ^ Nahrawālī, Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad; Blackburn, Richard (2005). Journey to the Sublime Porte: the Arabic memoir of a Sharifian agent's diplomatic mission to the Ottoman Imperial Court in the era of Suleyman the Magnificent ; the relevant text from Quṭb al-Dīn al-Nahrawālī's al-Fawāʼid al-sanīyah fī al-riḥlah al-Madanīyah wa al-Rūmīyah. Orient-Institut. p. 93. ISBN 978-3-89913-441-4. 
  5. ^ a b Boulanger, Robert (1966). The Middle East: Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Iran. Hachette. p. 376. 
  6. ^ Du Buisson, "Une campagne de fouilles a Khan Sheikhoun", Syria 13 (1932)
  7. ^ Ancient Egypt and the East. 1931. p. 63. 
  8. ^ Myers, Bernard Samuel (1959). Encyclopedia of world art. McGraw-Hill. p. 305. 
  9. ^ Ross, Henry James (1902). Letters from the East. J. M. Dent & Company. p. 292. 
  10. ^ Death toll rises in Syria 'gas attack'. Deutsche Welle. 4 April 2017.
  11. ^ "The Khan Sheikhoun Chemical Attack, The Evidence So Far - bellingcat". bellingcat. 2017-04-05. Retrieved 2017-04-08. 
  12. ^ Assad regime responsible for ‘awful’ Syria ‘chemical’ attack: EU’s Mogherini Al Arabiya. 4 April 2017. 5 April 2017.
  13. ^ "An 'infantile argument': Experts pour cold water on Russia's 'fanciful' explanation for Syrian gas attack". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-04-07. 
  14. ^ "Syria 'chemical attack': What we know". BBC News. 6 April 2017. 
  15. ^ Shaheen, Kareem (2017-04-06). "'The dead were wherever you looked': inside Syrian town after gas attack". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-04-07.