Drought in Hasakah, North and East Syria, reveals ancient cemetery

TEL TAMR, Syria — As the drought in North and East Syria continues, the receding waters of the southern Hasakah Dam built on the Khabur River have revealed tombs of fragile bones dating back to the ancient Syriac–Assyrian civilizations.

Suleiman al-Dahish, a resident of the village of Taban, told North Press Agency that the cemetery was found three weeks ago after the water level of the dam decreased to 120 million cubic metres.

The water level of the dam, constructed in 1991, has dramatically decreased after Turkey reduced the flow of the Euphrates Rivers despite existing agreements with Syria.

The cemetery, which is more than one km long, is located near Tel Taban.

After preliminary investigations, “It was found that the Tel Taban cemetery belongs to the ancient Syriac–Assyrian civilization, dating back some 2,400 years,” al-Dahish stated.

In confirmation of al-Dahish’s comments, Hassan al-Abd, another resident of the village, confirmed that this cemetery was not previously mentioned among the cemeteries of the villagers. The sheikhs of the village also did not recognize the cemetery.

Director of the Commission of Antiquities in Hasakah Adnan Berri stated that according to official statistics there are about 300 archaeological sites scattered on the banks of the Khabur River, including around 60 underwater. Many of these sites have been rescued, and several missions have worked at the sites. He also confirmed that the newly discovered cemetery belongs to the ancient Syriac–Assyrian civilization.