Khabur River is the largest perennial tributary to
the Euphrates in Syrian
territory. Although the Khabur originates in Turkey, the
karstic springs around Ra's al-'Ayn are the river's main source of water.
important wadis join the Khabur north of Al-Hasakah, together creating what is known as the Khabur
Triangle, or Upper Khabur area.
From north to south, annual
rainfall in the Khabur basin decreases from over 400 mm to less
than 200 mm, making the river a vital water source for agriculture
throughout history. The Khabur joins the Euphrates near the town
The course of the Khabur can be divided in two distinct zones: the
Upper Khabur area or Khabur Triangle north of Al-Hasakah, and the
Middle and Lower Khabur between Al-Hasakah and Busayrah.
The tributaries to the Khabur are listed from east to west. Most of
only carry water for part of the
- Wadi Radd
- Wadi Khnezir
- Wadi Jarrah
- Wadi Jaghjagh
- Wadi Khanzir
- Wadi Avedji
In Sumerian mythology
Habur is equivalent to the River Styx
. Important ancient
sites such as Tell
Leilan (ancient Shekhna) and Urkesh, have been
excavated in the Khabur river basin.
It has given its name
to a distinctive painted ware found in northern Mesopotamia
and Syria in the
early 2nd millennium BCE, called Khabur ware. The region of the
Khabur River is also associated with the rise of the kingdom of the
that flourished c.1500-1300 BC. In
classical times the river was known as Chaboras
Books of Kings and The First Book of Chronicles in the
Old Testament recount that Tiglath-Pileser III who ruled 745–727 BC
as King of Assyria, captured
Israelites from east of the Jordan.
portion of these captives were deported to the banks of the Chebar.
of Kings further relates how Israelite
captives from Samaria were then
settled near Gozan (Tell
Halaf) on the Chebar river's banks by Shalmaneser V who reigned from 727 to 722 BC,
as son and successor of Tiglath-Pileser III, (2 Kings 17:6,
After the Babylonians rose to dominance in the early
6th century, the Judaean priest and prophet Ezekiel
proclaims to have been "by the river Chebar
among the exiles...in the land of the Chaldeans
", when "the heavens were opened and I saw
visions of God" (Ezek.1:1,3).
cuneiform inscriptions excavated at Nippur have however
thrown doubt on the identification of this ancient River Chebar (or
Kebar) with the present day Khabur River (Nahr el-Khabur).
The latter's location in northern Mesopotamia
is also believed to be
irreconcilable with Ezekiel
's residence in
. One of Babylonia's grand canals,
Naru Kabari, is now favoured, which may be identified with modern
Modern Khabur River Valley
The Khabur River Project, begun in the 1960s, involved the
construction of a series of dams
. The Khabur Valley, which now has about four
million acres (16,000 km²) of farmland, is Syria's main
-cultivation area. The northeastern part
is also the center for Syria's oil production.