Tell Tamer

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Tell Tamer
تل تمر
Tella Tamra
Tell Tamer is located in Syria
Tell Tamer
Tell Tamer
Coordinates: 36°30′42″N 40°44′32″E / 36.51167°N 40.74222°E / 36.51167; 40.74222
Country Syria
Governorate Al-Hasakah
District Al-Hasakah
Nahiyah Tell Tamer
Population (2004)
 • Total 7,285
  Historical population estimates are as follows: 1,244 (1936); 1,250 (1960); 2,994 (1981); 5,030 (1993); 5,216 (1994); 5,405 (1995).[1]
Time zone EET (UTC+3)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+2)
Tal Tamr in 1939

Tell Tamer (Arabic: تل تمر‎, Syriac: ܬܠ ܬܡܪ, Kurdish: Girê Xurma[2]) also known as Tal Tamr also known as Tal Tamir is a town in northwestern Syria, The village is predominantly Assyrian Christian.


The name of the town, "Tell Tamer", is derived from the Arabic and Aramaic words "tell/tella", both meaning "hill", and "tamer/tamra", both meaning "date". The name of the town therefore means "Hill of Dates".


Its original inhabitants are Assyrians from the Upper Tyari tribe, who came to the area from Hakkari region in Turkey via Iraq.[3] As late as the 1960s, they still comprised virtually the entire population of the town.[4] The majority of the town's modern population is composed of settled Syrian Kurd and Syrian Arabs, while local Assyrian leaders in the 1990s estimated their own community's presence in the town to be around 20%.[5]

The pre-war scholarly estimates actually placed the total number of Assyrians which belong to the Assyrian Church of the East living across all of Syria at around 30,000 individuals, with between 15,000 and 20,000 (i.e., 2/3, at most) of them living along the Khabur.[6]


Located in north east Syria, the village is administratively part of the al-Hasakah Governorate, located 40 km north of the city of al-Hasakah. The town is located on the Khabur River just south of the boarder with Turkey.[7] The town is an important River crossing being on the main road from Qamishli to Aleppo.


Settled in the 1930s by Iraqi Assyrian refugees fleeing the Simele massacre in Iraq, who moved to French controlled Syria and settled in a 25km stretch of the Khabur River in 35 settlements.

By the 1960s the village had grown into a town. According to the Syria Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), Tell Tamer had a population of 7,285 in the 2004 census. It is the administrative center of a nahiyah ("subdistrict") consisting of 77 localities with a combined population of 50,982 in 2004.[8] The inhabitants of the town are composed of Assyrians/Syriacs, Arabs and Kurds.

Syrian Civil War[edit]

An Assyrian exodus from the town began in November 2012, when Free Syrian Army soldiers threatened to invade the town. The exodus further continued when the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria took control of nearby roads just outside the town.

In October 2013, four Assyrians were stopped while driving in a car and kidnapped by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria terrorists.

According to the Syriac International News Agency, in May 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant attacked an Assyrian village in the town, which prompted the Assyrians to call the Kurdish People's Protection Units to help protect them.[9]

Al-Hasakah offensive in progress, 24 February 2015

Since ISIL militants captured the city of Ar-Raqqah, some Assyrians from there and from Al-Thawrah fled to Tell Tamer as refugees. However, more than 500 Assyrian families have also fled the town. Many Assyrians from the town emigrated mainly to the United States, Europe and Canada.[citation needed]

In February 2015 this village was taken by Islamic State militia,[10] resulting in the abduction of about 90 residents.[11] during the Al-Hasakah offensive.[12] Several thousand residents fled the city, mostly to the city of Hasakeh.

On 23 February 2015, ISIL kidnapped around 220 Assyrians from villages surrounding Tell Tamer, and by 26 February, that number had increased to 350. On 1 March, ISIL released 19 of the kidnapped Assyrians.[13] On 24 March 5 more Assyrian hostages were released, raising the number of released Assyrian hostages to 24.[14]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

Coordinates: 36°39′N 40°22′E / 36.650°N 40.367°E / 36.650; 40.367


  1. ^ Alberto M. Fernandez, Dawn at Tell Tamir, pp. 43–44
  2. ^ "ISIS Attacks Tell Tamer". Peyamner News Agency (in Kurdish). 15 February 2015. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  3. ^ Fernandez, Alberto M. Dawn at Tell Tamer: The Assyrian Christian Survival on the Khabur River. Assyrian International News Agency. p. 41.
  4. ^ Alberto M. Fernandez, Dawn at Tell Tamir, p. 43
  5. ^ Alberto M. Fernandez, Dawn at Tell Tamer, p. 37
  6. ^ Alberto M. Fernandez, Dawn at Tell Tamer, p. 30.
  7. ^ ACN Press Release: Syria Extremists IS – seize Christian towns.
  8. ^ General Census of Population and Housing 2004. Syria Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). Al-Hasakah Governorate. (Arabic)
  9. ^ "Assyrian citizens called the YPG to defend them against ISIS – Syriac International News AgencySyriac International News Agency". Syriac International News Agency. Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  10. ^ Christians flee jihadists after Syria kidnappings 26 February 2015.
  11. ^ Syrian sources say ISIS executed 15 Christians – with more killing to come, 26 February 2015.
  12. ^ Islamic State 'abducts dozens of Christians in Syria' 24 February 2015.
  13. ^
  14. ^ "IS releases 24 Assyrian Christians so far". SOHR. Retrieved 3 March 2015.