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The word means "highland", "ridge" or "backbone" in Turkic languages (sırt) and is present in Turkic toponymy in the mentioned areas: in Tien Shan, Pamirs, South Urals, such as Obshchiy Syrt by Urals, Uzun-Syrt ("Long back") plateau by Koktebel in Crimea.
It is a denudational upland or elevated flatland, a kind of dissected plateau. Syrts may be separated from each other by higher ridges. At the same time, syrts may serve as water divides between drainage basins for larger rivers.