City and Village Historical Briefs

The Most Prominent Water Features in the Jisr al-Shughur Region

The areas are the only relief people in the town get from the summer heat. 

The al-Asi (Orontes) River:

The river is called al-Asi because it runs from south to north in the direction of the rest of the rivers. It originates in Lebanon and passes through Homs and Hama, continuing to Jisr al-Shughur in Idlib and continues into Turkey. The total length is 571km, 525km of which passes through Syrian land. The banks are a great place for parks and swimming pools, particularly in Jisr al-Shughur and Darkush.

Ayn al-Zarqa:

‘Ayn al-Zarqa is located in the area of the town of Darkush, 24km from Jisr al-Shughur, west of Idlib. It is notable due to its water basin, which forms a small lake for visitors to use. It’s adjacent to the al-Asi River, and close to the Darkush tourist farms. Its water is abundant and clear, and many springs branch off of it.

Baths of Shaykh ‘Isa:

The baths are located north of Jisr al-Shughur, 3 km from the town of al-Hamamah. The baths are on the banks of the al-Asi River between the two mountains, and the banks are covered with green grass. The baths contain 12 mineral water springs that are described as the cures for many diseases, particularly skin diseases. The water of the springs is hot, between 35 to 40 degrees celsius.

The Green Idlib

Idlib is located in northwest Syria, connected to the north with Turkey. It’s called “The Green Idlib” because of the many olive trees in it. Idlib is located 60 km southwest of Aleppo, 132 km from Latakia, 330 km from Damascus, 168 km from Homs, and 105 km from Hamah. The name is of Syriac origin, with “Id” meaning the word for hand, and “Lib” meaning the heart, in total meaning “the hand of the heart,” or the spirit of the place and its purity. The area is covered in green, with around 14 million olive trees covering its hills and plains. 

The city is 451 meters above sea level, and maintains a rainfall rate of 495 mm. Temperatures range from 30/40 degrees in the summer, and in winter ranges from -3-12 degrees celsius. While olives are the city’s strategic crop, other crops are popular, including melon, barley, vegetables, figs, and grapes. The book “the Crown of the Bridge” remembers that Idlib was originally two localities: the northern locality was the largest and the southern was the smaller. The largest remained and is known as Idlib today. It was originally known as the town of Sarmin, located to the east, where the Ottoman Sultan Muhammad Pasha al-Kobarli used the town as a waqf for the Two Holy Mosques and made it tax-exempt, making it a destination for neighboring villages. This contributed to the expansion of greater Idlib. The town faced the French occupation and gathered its men around “Ibrahim Hananu” that started a revolution against the French, which expelled the French colonizer from Syria. The revolution cost the city many sacrifices, including the French bombing of the city on January 20, 1920.

The City of Harim: The Victory of the Grandparents and the Revolution of the Grandchildren 

Harim is located in northern Syria in the lower Asi basin, at the foothills of the northwestern end of the Al-Ala Mountain, northwest of Idlib. The city is an important transportation node, connecting the neighboring cities and towns. It’s famous for its historical and archeological sites, and its important landmark is the fortress of Harim, built by the Byzantines in 959 CE. Harim is known for its trees and gardens as well as agricultural lands, where abundant apricots, walnuts, olives, figs, and many other fruits grow. There is also abundant water supplies there due to abundant rainfall and the presence of 7 freshwater springs. Historians called it “little Damascus due to the presence of streams.

Harim’s origins date back to the Crusades, where the army of Salah al-Din al-Ayubi stormed towards Palestine to participate in the Battle of Hittin. There have been many invasions and wars there. Harim was one of the most notable revolutionary cities, as the regime turned its castle into a military base. The city faced significant artillery bombardment but the city was liberated by HTS. Harim is famous for its historic citadel and “will remain the land where grandparents triumphed and grandchildren follow.”

Ariha City

Ariha is a rich Syrian city of a rich Syrian Aramaic name “a good smell,” or the “scent of flowers.” It’s located on the international M4 road south of Idlib. It is located between four cities, Jisr al-Shughur 27 km to the west, Saraqib 22 km to the east, Ma’arat al-Nu’man 25 km to the southeast, and Idlib city 12 km to the north. Ariha is located 258 km away from Damascus. Ariha is located in a geographically attractive area, surrounded by Jabal al-Arba’in to the south and east. It’s famous for cultivating olives, figs, peaches, cherries, and mahleb.

Ariha is an ancient city, and has been mentioned by many archeologists, including Yaqut al-Hamawi in his writings, in which he said “Ariha is a town on the outskirts of Aleppo, the best and most beautiful of God’s country, with orchards and  trees, and in the outskirts of Aleppo there is no clearer from it.” The city has some archeological sites dating back 5,000 years.

Ariha is the center of the area, surrounded by dozens of towns, villages, and farms, most notably Urm al-Jawz, al-Rami, Nahliya, Majdaliya. It’s known for its tourist parks, related to the slopes of Jabal al-Arba’in. However, the continuing bombings by Assd’s militias and the Russian occupation destroyed these sites, and many of its residents fled the city and are displaced.

al-Atarib City

al-Atarib is located in the countryside of western Aleppo, about 30 km outside of the city. Its history dates back to 5,000 years BCE. Yaqub al-Hamawi notes the town in his book, “Glossary of Countries.” al-Atarib is derived from “al-Tharab,” meaning grease. The Greeks called the city “Litarbi,” while the Arab named it al-Atarib. al-Atarib and its rural areas number more than 30 villages, towns, and olive, fig, and grape farms. It’s also known for its wide plains that are used to cultivate rain-fed grains. It’s a commercial center for most of the surrounding countryside. 

Its most famous archeological landmark is the Atarib Fortress and to the north of the city is the village of Al-Sahara, which sits on a mountain and is surrounded by hills. Next to the village is an ancient roman fortress, Deir Amman. After the Crusader invasion from 1099 CE to 493 H, the Muslim leader ‘Imad al-Din al-Zanki conquered it in 532 H, however one year later a severe earthquake hit the area, destroying much of it.

In today’s time, the city has revolted since the spring of 2011 against the Assad regime, prompting the regime to commit many massacres there, notably the blood mark massacre in the spring of 2014, and the massacre of 2017 where 80 civilians were killed.

Sarma City

Sarmada is an ancient Syrian city located north of Idlib, approximately 30 km from the city. It’s name is connected to Bab al-Hawa, the significant crossing that connects northern Syria to Turkey and Europe. The name of the city means “the eternal,” with older names being Sarmad. There is an old mosque located in Sarmada called “Sheikh Shahid,” and other archeological sites were built there, including the “Manlius” dating back to 112 CE, and some Greek writings. To the south of Sarmada is the Sarmada Castle, whose famous column is a symbol of the city. Sarmada is also a commercial hub and industrial center, as many displaced people came there, and the industrial infrastructure provides job opportunities for tens of thousands of young people.

Salqin City

Salqin is located in northwest Idlib, southwest of Harim, 45 km from Idlib City, and 80 km from Aleppo. The name of the city came from the Roman city of “Seleucus,” as well as has the meaning of “to ascend” as the city is located between two mountains. The al-Assi river and Iskenderun plains are viewed from the river and many people come there to hike. The city and the countryside has fertile soil for agriculture and is known for the cultivation of trees where olives, pomegranates, figs, grapes, almonds, and walnuts grow. There has been significant urban development within the past decades, and it is considered a commercial and industrial center, and contains industrial facilities working with the manufacture of olive oil and canning of olives.

Binnish City

Binnish is northeast of Idlib, located 7 km away from Idlib City, located about 371 meters above ground. It is considered one of the most important cities in northwest Syria. Its name is Syriac in origin, a combination of “bin” and “nish,” meaning a lion’s farm, and is mentioned in ancient documents, including Ugaritic documents in the 2nd millennium BCE, as “Bananch.” The city is notable for its diverse agriculture, full of fruitful fig, olive, and grape trees, as well as grain crops. It’s surrounded by wide agricultural areas in the south and east.

The city played a large role in the Syrian revolution against the Assad regime, and it was famous for its beautiful banners and slogans. Because of this, the Assad-aligned militias carried out revenge against it, and perpetrated several massacres there.

Jisr al-Shughur City

One of the most beautiful cities in Northern Syria, located 47 km southwest of Idlib City, in a valley surrounded by agricultural areas. It’s an area surrounded by the Latakia mountains to the east, and passing through it is the al-Absi river. The construction of the city began with a mosque and several baths in the beginning of the 17th century, as it was resting place on the route to the Hajj, in addition to being a linking point between Aleppo and Latakia. There is an archeological castle located there as well.  The name of the city corresponds to a stone bridge extending over the al-Asi river as well as the town of Shughur. Others say its name was changed from Thughur, which meant “gaps between Muslims.”

The city is one of the richest agriculturally in northern Syria, and is known for its cultivation of olives, grapes, citrus fruits, apricots, apples, peaches, pomegranates, and walnuts, as well as grains and vegetables. Water is also abundant there. However, the city was systematically destroyed during the revolution by Assad’s militias, and during the 1980s, when the Assad regime bombarded it.

Atme Village

The town is near the Syrian border with Turkey in the north of Idlib, named after a castle located nearby. “Atam” means castles, with its singular being “Atme,” with the name of the town being castle. 

There are dozens of olive orchards in the town, as well as vine and fig trees, which are tended by local farmers who get their income through it. The orchards/groves date back to the third century BCE during the time when the Akkadians destroyed the Kingdom of Ebla. However, the groves flourished again in the Hellenistic period in the first century BCE. 

The town participated throughout the revolution by helping the displaced, hosting lots of camps. The town is a point of focus for medical care sites, including the al-Ikha’ Hospital, the Charitable Hospital, and a number of schools, Sharia institutes, and kindergartens.

Taftanaz Village

Located in northeastern Idlib approximately 17 km from the city. The total area of the town is 2597 hectares (10.03 square miles). The name of the town has two parts, “Tafta,” meaning advanced weaving, and “Naz,” meaning the name of the town, with the overall name meaning a town of liberation and weaving.

Taftanaz is one of the towns that participated in the revolution. Located to the south of the town is a military airbase that shares the town’s name, and militias aligned with the Assad regime used the airbase to bomb the surrounding areas, paritcularly the city of Saraqib until the airbase was liberated by revolutionary factions in January 2013. Many of its inhabitants emigrated from the area during the last regime campaign in 2020, however many people returned to the area when educational and public goods services returned.

The history of Taftanaz is linked to the Ebla monarchy, in the middle of the town is “Ram,” where some artifacts are located dating back to the Aramaic period, which were connected to the Museum of Aleppo. The ancient inhabitants of the city depended on agriculture for their livelihoods because of the rich quality of soil, the appropriate climate for farming, and the abundance of groundwater. The area is known for grain, vegetable, fruit, and particularly olive cultivation. 

Kfar Najd Village

Kfar Najd is a village west of Ariha (1.6km away), and 11 km away from Idlib. The population is around 6,000. The name of the town is originally in Syriac, and is derived from “a farm of high ruins.”  Across the village there are olive, fig, and mahleb (spice) groves. Mahleb is a strategic crop for the agricultural industry in Kfar Najd. Farmers depend on rain and groundwater wells for irrigation. 

In the village, there are lots of influences from the classical era, including Roman water springs, and also landmarks of Islam, including two “sibateen,” each of which is a room connected to two houses and a road passes under them.

The citizens of Kfar Njad were strongly involved in the Syrian revolution, holding demonstrations calling for the fall of the regime. A militia associated with the Assad regime stormed the town on August 2, 2013, and committed a massacre there that killed dozens of people by burning and shooting.

The Pomegranate Festival: Civilization and the Memory of Liberation

Darkush, a town located on the banks of the al-Asi river, west of the city of Idlib by 30 km, is full of beautiful nature and environment, where agricultural crops, including fruits and vegetables, are abundant. Most prominent of the crops is the pomegranate, and most of its types, which symbolize the season and memories of the liberation of the town from the Assad regime, and it is what makes the occasion special for the people.  

The pomegranate festival was first organized on October 9, 2018 in the Darkush town stadium and continued throughout the next several years, renewing and developing in sections and organizations, and this year will be the fifth edition, on October 13th.

There is a large turnout for the festival in Darkoush in particular but also across the entire “liberated area.” Also, a lot of members of the administration, the Salvation Government, associations, and civil groups associated with the agricultural sector attend.

The festival opens with a reading of the Qur’an and with speeches by some of the attendees. Other activities include: performances of swimming and fishing, plays for children, displays of crafts, and prizes distributed to farmers and producers for their crops.

al-Dana City

The history of al-Dana originates back to the Roman era (late 2nd century CE), with mentions during the Byzantine and then the Islamic conquests, where it was successful commercially and architecturally. Some residents of Al-Dana work in agriculture, particularly in growing wheat and olive crops; however, the land is rocky and there’s limited groundwater. However, it has turned into a commercial and industrial center several years ago after it became a destination for Syrian investment. The city is now a hub for urban economic development and is being expanded organizationally to accommodate more displaced people. The city is attractive to craftsmen, traders, and capital due to its proximity to the Bab al-Hawa crossing and its relative distance from the fire of Assad’s militias.

Darat ‘Iza City

Darat ‘Iza is located 30 km west of Aleppo. Historians’ believe that it was the location of an old palace. Others believe that its name is of Kurdish origin, meaning “the land of olives.” The city is located at 477 meters above sea level in a good geographic location, as to the west is al-Shaykh Barakat Mountain and its land is good for farming. In Darat ‘Iza, farmers tend to olive, fig, and grape trees, as well as other grains and vegetables.

The city also contains residential caves from thousands of years ago as well as Aramaic ruins, the remains of Roman and Byzantine monasteries and dwellings. It was also an ancient trade center. During the Syrian revolution, the city played an important role, as its people participated in massive demonstrations against the Assad regime, which later committed massacres there.

Wadi Murtahun

Wadi Murtahun is an archaeological site located in Jabal al-Zawiya, in the southern countryside of Idlib. The ruins date back to the Roman and Byzantine eras, and are surrounded by other archaeological sites, including the al-Barah ruin that is located 3 km. On the northern side, it contains 9 caves that were carved by hand from the 3rd century CE.

On its southern side, there are palaces and ancient villas, including the ‘Abd Allah Palace, which contains two floors and the entrance is decorated with inscriptions that have eroded over time. The Murtahun ruins are one of the most beautiful historical sites in the Ariha region, which has tons of sites that are located in Idlib as well, hosting a third of Syria’s antiquities. Most of the sites are registered in the UNESCO world heritage list.

Armanaz City

Armanaz is a Syrian city, located in the Harim area, in the northern Idlib countryside, about 55 km from Aleppo. Some historians believe its name is Syriac in origin, meaning “land of the king Naz,” while others view the name as meaning the committee in the Armenian language. The city is covered in many olive trees, next to many fruitful trees, as they are located in a favorable climate and fertile agricultural lands. Grains and vegetables are grown there, and crops rely on irrigation from well water.

The history of Armanaz dates back to the Phoenecian period, continuing through the Roman, and then to the Islamic era. The city contains between its neighborhoods an ancient archeological landmark of Roman water channels and the Mansoura neighborhoods, as well as some of its cultures are connected to the Andalucia region. The city held an honorable position within the revolution, as their inhabitants went out in demonstrations since 2011 calling for the fall of the Assam regime, and in 2017, more than 50 civilians from the city were killed by a bombs from regime planes.

The Town of Bidama

Bidama is a town in the countryside of Jisr al-Shughur and is located on the road between Aleppo and Latakia, and 40 km west of Idlib. The town is located about 500 meters above sea level, and its weather is beautiful in the summer and cold in the winter. The nature around the town is “amazing,” and filled with olive shrubs and vegetable, grain, and strawberry crops. The name of the town, “Bidama,” is Aramaic in origin and means “home of the nation.” The town’s history began in the first century CE, and the town contains several archeological sites, the most famous of which is a building made out of cut-up rocks and caves. The town’s residents participated in the revolution from the beginning when they participated in street demonstrations asking for decency and freedom. In 2011, the Assad regime “invaded” the town and committed a massacre against its people, killing 25 people.

The Village of Qminas

Qminas is located about 55 km southeast of the city of Idlib and is near the Aleppo-Latakia highway. The city’s name is Aramaic in origin, meaning “the hearth” or “the ambush.” The town has fertile agricultural land, bearing fruitful trees, most prominently olive bushes, in addition to mahlab and fig plants. Qminas also has plains where some types of grains and vegetables are grown. The history of the town dates back to the Aramaic civilization, and the meaning of its name is connected to the name of a Syriac building mentioned in a document kept in the Museum of London. Qminas had an honorable role in the Syrian revolution, as its residents joined the protests in its first months against the Assad regime. Dozens of its residents were killed since the beginning of the uprisings and many have been displaced. 

al-Marj al-Akhdar

“The Green Meadow/al-Majr al-Akhdar” is a name that refers to the area between the two villages of Mishmashan and al-Kustan al-Tahtani located 7 km away from Jisr al-Shughur. Its name is a metaphor for the beauty of the spring and the green nature that adorns the plains as a green rug between the villages. Most of the people of the area rely on agriculture, including the most important crops from the fruitful olive, apricot, chestnut, and pomegranate trees, and also rely on vegetable production in the summer, including crops such as legumes. The crop production relies on rainfall, the water from the al-Asi river that lies west of the village, and on underground wells. Several important historical sites are located in the village, dating back to the beginning of the common era. The sites include one well known locally as “Jib al-Muzara’,” dating back to the Roman era, the archeological hill of Mishmashan, and ancient springs, including al-Dilbah and al-Fidanah, still running today. In the revolution, the people of the area had an important role, going out against the regime from the beginning of the uprising, through the bombing campaign by the Assad regime in which the forces targeted a mosque, a clinic, and residential neighborhood, “committing many massacres.” 

The Village of Muntaf (Moataf)

Muntaf (Moataf) is a Syrian village located in the northwest area of the country on the road leading between Ariha and Ma’arat al-Nu’man, about 16 km to the south of Idlib. It has green vegetation as well as ancient monuments. Surrounding the village there are many pomegranate, mahlab, peach, and oak trees. The most notable historical site in the village is an old rest area for Hajj caravans and merchants. Next to it is “al-Kih,” a house carved into the rock, consisting of two rooms, a staircase, and a door. Nearby are ancient burial sites dating back to the second century C.E. During the revolution, the village had an honorable role in large demonstrations during the spring of 2011 against the Assad regime, leading the regime to bomb the village repeatedly and target its mosque in 2015.

Halluz Village

Halluz is located in northwestern Syria in the Jisr al-Shughur area, 50 km west of Idlib. The town is a total of 2,750 hectares and is located about 800 meters above ground. Surrounding the town are mountain slopes on all sides. The town’s economy is reliant on agriculture and is comprised of dozens of orchards, growing almonds, olives, walnuts, pomegranates, figs, and some citrus fruits. The town is named for its almond trees and the almond store that originated there. The town’s history originates to the fourth century CE and some ancient homes are still there in addition to modern homes and stores. During the revolution, the Assad regime waged several bombardments on the town, forcing most residents to abandon it along with the surrounding areas.

Afes Village

Afes is located in the northwest of Syria about 15 km east of Idlib and 3 km down the M4-M5 road. The town is strategically located and is highly important due to its fertile agricultural lands and the ancient hill located there. Barley, beans, and lentil crops are plentiful there, in addition to crops such as cotton and corn. In the summer, vegetables grow, and on the east and south sides of the town, olive groves bloom. The town relies on underground wells and rainwater to irrigate crops. The town’s history dates back to 6,000 years ago. Many archeological excavations have been conducted there and notable discoveries have been made, including a “winged bull made of ivory and gold.” During the revolution, the Syrian people held an honorable position among the demonstrators, fighting against Assad’s militias when they surrounded the town in February 2012, ultimately killing 10 citizens. The town was controlled by the regime until the mujahidin liberated it.

Aqrabat Village

Aqrabat is a small town located in northwest Syria, near the Turkish-Syrian border, on the way to the town of Atme. Aqrabat is located about 43 km from the city of Idlib and 12 km from Sarmada. The history of the town of Aqrabat originates before the common era. Aqrabat is famous for its agriculture, consisting of many fruitful trees, most notably pomegranate, fig, and almond trees. The town’s crops are reliant on rain water for irrigation. Peasants found ancient stone carvings there, shedding light on the deepness of its history. Its name is also ancient, consisting of two parts, “araq” and “bat,” meaning grape fermentation. Since the start of the revolution, Aqrabat has attracted thousands of displaced people fleeing the regime, and has since become a focus of the Salvation Government’s attention, as several projects have been established there to meet the needs of an increasingly growing population.

Kafr Takharim City

Kfar Takharim is located on a mountainous plateau surrounded by mountains on its east and west sides. There are several theories of its name, but most likely it relates to its geographical features, and the presence of many valleys and mountain cracks in it. “Kfar” means the farm, while “Takharim” is the plural of valley, and by combining the two words, the name means “the farm of the valley.” The town is full of beautiful nature, making it a destination for many of the residents of the surrounding areas, especially during the summer. Most of the residents of the town work on farms, the most famous crops of which are olives, almonds, figs, grapes, nuts, and apricots. 

Many ancient archeological sites are located there, including an old mosque dating to the 2nd century Hijri. The city also has an ancient covered market similar to the old markets of Aleppo. It is the city from which the leader of the Jabal al-Zawiya revolution, Ibrahim Hanano, fought against the French occupation. The city’s inhabitants have demonstrated against the Assad regime since 2011, and suffered several aerial bombings, the most famous of which was the Kfar Takharim Surgical Hospital massacre in 2017, which killed and injured dozens in the vicinity. 

Kafr Karmin Village

Kafr Karmin is a Syrian village located in the Jabel Sma’an area in the western countryside of Aleppo, about 4 km west of the city of al-Atarib. The village is called “Kafr Karmin” because of its notoriety in the cultivation of the “Karamah” grape trees. Its name means “the Karoum farm.” The town is known for its wonderful environment, situated on a hill overlooking a wide space of agricultural lands where olives and grapes are grown, in addition to other crops. Furthermore, around the town, there are forests full of trees. In the town, there remains several archeological sites originating to the 6th century C.E. One of the most notable is a cobblestone Roman road that is about six meters wide, some of which is made of the ruins of grape presses. During the revolution in 2011, the citizens of the town participated in demonstrations in al-Atarib. The town faced repeated bombings by Assad’s militias throughout the years of the revolution.

Kafr Dariyan Village

Kfar Dariyan is located on the eastern slopes of the Barisha mountain near the city of Sarmada (6-8km) and about 38 km north of Idlib. The city’s environment is mountainous, but this does not stop the people from cultivating it. The main crops are olives and grapes in addition to some seasonal crops. The village relies on underground well water for drinking and agriculture. The town’s name is Aramaic in origin and means the crop “drina,” originating to ancient history before the common era. Some of the buildings in the village date back to the Byzantine and Islamic eras, including a mosque that was built on the ruins of an old monastery about 500 years ago. During the revolution, the people of Kfar Dariyan have participated in protests since 2011, asking for freedom and the fall of the regime. The town suffered from many casualties and now hosts several camps for the displaced.

al-Najiya Village

al-Najiya is located on the M4 road, southwest of Jisr al-Shughur and about 45 km west of Idlib. The town serves as a link between rural Idlib and Latakia. al-Najiya has a charming nature and is known for its archeological remains dating back thousands of years. The town is known for its variety of fruit trees, including apple, olive, orange, almond, and pomegranate orchards, in addition to other vegetable crops. The people rely on rain and well water to grow their crops. The name al-Najiya is Aramaic in origin, meaning “west Kafr Najd.” Its name indicates a village with prominent ruins, with sites that date back to before the common era, including the Dabdabah Cave, created in the Roman era. The town has been subject to mass displacement due to repeated airstrikes by the Assad regime, including cluster and barrel bombings, as punishment for rebellion. Dozens of citizens died for the revolution.

Killi Village

The town of Killi is located in the northern countryside of Idlib, about 10 km south of Sarmada and near Bab al-Hawa. Its terrain varies between plateaus and plains, and is characterized by the presence of ancient archeological remains. Its agricultural products vary, but the most notable are olives, figs, and grapes. On the slopes of the hills, grains such as wheat, black cumin, and cumin, etc. are grown, in addition to a variety of vegetables. The agricultural sector relies on rain and well water to grow crops. 

The history of Killi originates before the common era. In the village, there is a large stone arch and caves cut out from rock. Roman gold and silver coins, in addition to Islamic coins dating back hundreds of years, have been found in several places across town. The town participated in the revolution from its beginnings, and the people stood in demonstrations asking for justice and the fall of the Assad regime. Now, Killi hosts dozens of IDP camps, especially on the Mount Killi site.

Haranabush Village

Haranabush is located in the northwest of the country, near the city of Ma’arat Misrin (about 7km) and about 20 km from Idlib. Haranabush is also located near the heights of Mount Summaq (in the Harim Mountains). The town’s terrain consists of both red rocks and soil. Olive trees grow in the surrounding areas, while Haranabush has agricultural plains with fertile red soil on its eastern and southern sides, in which various types of grains and vegetables are grown. The agricultural sector relies on rain and well water to grow crops. The name of the town is in ancient Syriac, according to many history books, such as the dictionary of countries by Yaqut al-Hamawi. Haranabush contains many archeological remains, including the “Marks” monastery, ancient olive presses, and the remains of the walls of ornate homes. The people of Haranabush participated in the revolution from its beginnings, asking for the fall of Assad’s gangs. However, the regime repeatedly bombed the town’s inhabitants and committed massacres against them. Now, the town contains displaced persons camps.

Jabal al-Zawiyah

Jabal al-Zawiya is a mountain range extending through northwest Syria and in the southern countryside of Idlib. It consists of two sections separated by a valley, with its maximum elevation at the summit of the Prophet Ayub of 939 meters (3081 feet). The range includes dozens of cities and towns, most notably al-Bara and Ariha, located on the heights of Jabal al-Arba’in. Its parts are dressed in the clothes of green nature, with a variety of farms, with many olive, sumac, cherry, and walnut trees. Grains and vegetables also grow there. The people of the area rely on different sources of water to grow their crops. The name of the range comes from an archaeological landmark that takes the form of a corner in the town of al-Bara. There are archaeological sites dating back to several eras and ancient times, including the sites of Ram Billion, al-Ruwayha, Sirjilah, Friki, Jaradah, in addition to the ruins of al-Bara distinguished by its reputation and large historical status. The mountain has a history full of heroes throughout the ages, as well as being the cradle of the revolution, where its songs lie in the Syrian revolution in the greatest of epics against Assad’s gangs, and they remained steadfast despite the bombings that still continuously strike through the current time.

Ketyan Village

Ketyan is located about 18 km northeast of Idlib near the road between Aleppo and Idlib. Located in it is an agricultural plain that has internal resources for the citizens. The vast majority of its citizens work in agriculture. The town has fertile agricultural soil where a variety of crops grow, including wheat, barley, cumin, potatoes, and olives. The agricultural sector relies on rainwater and well water for irrigation. Ketyan’s history dates back to the middle of the first millennium CE, as some pottery and Byzantine coins have been found there. There is also an old pigeon tower located there from the 9th century CE that accommodates 14,000 pairs of pigeons. During the revolution, the citizens of the village demonstrated against the regime, however Assad’s militias attacked the village and bombed it continuously.

al-‘Asi (Orontes) River

al-‘Asi is one of the important rivers in Syria, starting in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon and emptying in the Mediterranean Sea, specifically in the Swedish Bay, with a length of 571 meters. It passes through several Syrian cities before reaching the north, in the southern countryside of Jisr al-Shughur. The river is called al-‘Asi due to the direction of the water flow from south to north, unlike the other rivers in the region. Throughout history, the river has been called by many names, including al-Maqlub, al-Mayamas, and al-Kabir. al-‘Asi flows through Syrian territory at a rate between 14-24 meters per second. The river has an important economic and agricultural role, as it serves as an important water source for irrigation in several surrounding villages within the northwestern countryside of Idlib. This includes supplying water in Darkoush, and thousands of farmers rely on the river to water citrus crops, pomegranate, and other basic crops. The river is also considered a place for tourism and recreation due to its attractive green nature and the parks established on its banks. Overall, it’s considered one of the most important sources of water in the liberated north.

Dweila Village

Dweila is located about 30 km northwest of Idlib and 5 km from Kfar Takharim. It sits on the Dweila mountain, overlooking the al-Amaq Plain. It’s located about 800 m above sea level. Agriculturally, the village relies on growing olives, grapes, figs, and other semi-rain-fed crops for income. The people depend on rain water to irrigate as well as underground wells. Dweila is an ancient name that is a diminutive of “a state,” and dates back to the 3rd century CE. It was a strategic outpost in the region and perhaps was the remains of a military fort. Furthermore, the name of the town is mentioned in the records of the Crusades. During the revolution, the people of Dweila participated from its beginnings and participated in demonstrations calling for the fall of the regime. The town welcomed many of the displaced that were targeted by the Assad regime in previous military campaigns. 

Ihsim Town

Ihsim is near Jabal al-Zawiya in the southern Idlib countryside. The town contains beautiful nature and diverse topography, as its land is interspersed with calcareous rocks. The agricultural area has various trees, including olive, peach, cherry, and almond trees. Its residents rely on agriculture for their livelihoods, considering it the profession of parents and grandparents. The name Ihsim denotes solidity and durability, linking it to the nature of its inhabitants and its harsh mountain environment. The area contains artifacts from different civilizations, including the Byzantine Deir Lozeh and some other Islamic monuments. The residents of Ihsim have faced bombings from Assad’s militias and Russia’s planes since the beginning of the revolution, which destroyed many of its buildings, but persist in pursuing their revolutionary goals.

Kafr Yahmul Village

Kfar Yahmul, located in northwest Syria, is about 6 km from the city of Ma’arat Misrin and 15 km from Idlib. It is located along the important road between Bab al-Hawa and Idlib and has fertile agricultural soil. A variety of crops grow in the town, such as wheat, barley, black cumin, a variety of potatoes, and crops that grow on stalks such as corn, in addition to vegetables. The crops rely on underground wells for irrigation. In addition, there is an agricultural science research station located there. The town’s name originates from the name of one of its ancient residents, “Yahmul,” and Kfar means farm. There are caves carved from the rock there that originate from the Byzantine era, and a press machine from the Roman era to press olives, named locally as “Bayt al-Ras.” Homes remain there that are built in the Islamic style. During the revolution, the town suffered from regime bombings, but still accepted many of the displaced. 

Hamams of Shaykh ‘Isa

The Shaykh ‘Isa baths are located in the countryside of Jisr al-Shughur in a beautiful location in the middle of a forest on the banks of the al-Asi river. Surrounding the baths are the mountains, which give them “beauty beyond their beauty.” The bathes are dug out of rocks dating back to the Roman era and are fed by 12 springs of sulfuric and metallic water, which has been used to treat several skin diseases, including eczema and rashes. The water reaches temperatures between 35-40 degrees Celsius (95-104 Fahrenheit), and is made up of hydrocarbons of chlorine and sodium ions, in addition to phosphate. The baths consist of two main basins, one for men and one for women. The Shaykh ‘Isa baths are considered one of the most important water riches in northwest Syria and a natural outlet for the people of multiple different areas of Idlib especially in the spring and summer.

Termanin Town

Termanin is a northwest Syrian town located at 428 meters above sea level on a plateau that is 4km away from eastern al-Dana and about 35km away from Idlib. Termanin is surrounded by fruitful trees, growing olive, fig, and grape plants, in addition to wheat, barely, legumes, and grain. Opinions vary on the origin of the town’s name, but most historians believe it is Aramaic, connected to an ancient teacher located in the area. Other ancient landmarks are located there from before the common era, including homes and resting places. During the revolution, Termanin had a large fingerprint on the revolutionary movement in the western countryside of Aleppo, calling for the fall of the regime, clashing with its militias, and experiencing massacres.

The Earthquake

Earthquakes that hit the north of al-Sham over the course of 14 centuries… learn about the most violent:

  • In 747 and 748 CE (130 and 131 Hijri), during the period of the collapse of Umayyad Caliphate and the rise of the Abbasids, several earthquakes hit the countries of the Levant, killing tens of thousands including many of their supporters who came from Medina. 
  • In 860 CE, a violent earthquake hit the Antakya, Adana, Idlib, Raha, al-Raqqah, Hawran, Homs, Damascus, Tartus, and Latakia regions, causing huge human and material damage. 
  • In 1157 CE, an earthquake hit Antakya, Shiraz, Aleppo, Homs, the Syrian coast, Apamea, Baarin, and the Lebanese coast, leaving tens of thousands dead and wounded.  
  • In 1509 CE, a powerful earthquake hit Istanbul and northern Syria, and its consequences remained for 45 days, naming the period “the small resurrection” and leaving many dead. 
  • In 1663 CE, a violent earthquake hit Aleppo, Shiraz, Antakya, Damascus and the coastal areas, causing huge damage. 
  • In 1822 CE, there was an earthquake in Aleppo and Antakya, killing 20,000 people and hundreds of thousands were injured.

Kurin Town

The town of Kurin is located about 7 km away from Ariha and 9 km south of Idlib and sits at 577 meters above sea level. The town is surrounded by ancient trees on all sides reflecting its long history. The residents of Kurin grow crops from a variety of trees, specializing in olives in addition to figs and almonds. The agricultural sector of Kurin relies on rain and well water to grow its crops. The origin of the name Kurin is from the Aramaic “al-Kura,” meaning a spot where villages meet on a hill. It contains archeological artifacts from before the common era. Al-Kura is located near Wadi al-Qala’a that includes homes and caves whose walls contain Islamic engravings referring to Quranic verses. Kurin held an honorable position during the resistance to French colonialism, and this does not differ from its resistance against the criminal regime. Since 2011, the town has been calling for the fall of the regime and throughout the town’s journey its people have made many sacrifices.

Baluon Town

Baluon is a Syrian village located near the peaks of Jabal al-Zawiya, about 18 km from Ariha. The city is surrounded by green nature on all sides, and ancient artifacts are still located there dating back to different centuries. In Baluon, there are different olive groves, in addition to cherry, mahleb, and fig trees. The people of Baluon grow different grains and vegetables and rely on well and rainwater to irrigate crops. The place where water is collected is called “al-Ramat.” The historian Fayez Qusra notes that Baluon was once a settlement dating back to the Ayyubid era. In Balyun, there is a renovated mosque that has a square rock inscribed with the date 982 Hijri (1574 CE). Near the mosque, there are Islamic tombstones and graves dating back to 605 Hijri (1209 CE). During the revolution, the people of Baluon held an honorable position, supporting the protestors and making sacrifices despite the brutality of the Assad regime.

The Most Important Events and Achievements of the Syrian Revolution During the Past 12 Years

  • 2012-2013:
    • The massacre of the chemical attack on Eastern Ghouta
    • Complete liberation of al-Raqqah 
    • Defection of the first pilot in his warplane
    • Battle to liberate Aleppo
    • Martyrdom of the leader ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Salah
  • 2014-2015:
    • Founding of Jaysh al-Fatah
    • Military liberation of Wadi al-Dhayf and al-Hammadi 
    • Urban liberation of Idlib and Jisr al-Shughur 
    • Founding of Idlib University 
    • Martyrdom of the leaders of Ahrar al-Sham 
  • 2016-2017:
    • Unification of revolutionary factions under Hayat Tahrir al-Sham
    • Formation of the Syrian Salvation Government
    • Operation Euphrates Shield begins in northern Syria
    • SDF controls al-Raqqah 
    • Chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun 
  • 2018-2019:
    • Battle of Sharq al-Sikkah 
    • Martyrdom of Abdul Baset al-Sarout 
    • Killing of the leader of the Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
    • Operation Peace Spring begins
    • Military campaign against Russian forces in the countrysides of Hama, Idlib, and Aleppo 
    • Occupation of the enemy of Kfar Zita, Khan Shaykhun, and Morek 
  • 2020-2021:
    • Enemy occupation of Ma’arat al-Numan and Saraqib
    • Enemy occupation of parts of the western parts of the Aleppo countryside
    • Recognition of Idlib University and acceptance of its graduates to Turkish universities 
    • Opening of Idlib University Hospital
    • Opening of the National Hospital of Ariha 
    • Operation Spring Shield begins 
  • 2022-2023:
    • Reopening of the National Hospital of Idlib
    • Paving central and branch roads, the most important of which were the Bab al-Hawa-Idlib and Bab al-Hawa-Aleppo roads
    • Building thousands of cement apartments to house the displaced
    • Beginning to issue personal identification cards
    • Formation of the emergency response committee for the earthquake

The Most Important Events in Jisr al-Shughur Region During the Past 12 Years of the Syrian Revolution

  • 2011-2012-2013
    • Beginning of popular demonstrations in Jisr al-Shughur 
    • Attack on security forces in Jisr al-Shughur and the killing of 120 individuals
    • Liberation of Darkush, Kharbat al-Juz, and Najia 
    • Attack on the village of al-Hamamah that killed 12
    • Liberation of Zainia and Janudia and the capture of hundreds of items
  • 2014-2015-2016
    • Attack on Mara’anad that killed 10 
    • Battle to liberate Kesab on the Syrian coast
    • Liberation of Jisr al-Shughur
    • Liberation of the Zayzun thermal station
    • Attack on the town of Darkush that killed 90
  • 2017-2018-2019
    • Russian planes launch an attack on Jisr al-Shughur that killed 15 and injured 30 
    • Attack on the town of Mishmishan targeting the health center that killed 5 and injured others
    • Founding the administration of the Jisr al-Shughur area 
    • Attack on the town of Mahmabil that killed 19 
  • 2021-2022-2023
    • Opening of a medical clinic in the city of Jisr al-Shughur 
    • Opening of a justice center in the town of Darkush
    • New attack, which killed 7 city residents
    • Providing Jisr al-Shughur with electricity
    • Tragedy of the earthquake that hit several cities and town, the most notable of which was al-Miland

The Most Important Events in the Harim Region During the Past 12 Years of the Syrian Revolution

  • 2011-2012-2013
    • Beginning of demonstrations in al-Kahraba’ square in Salqin 
    • Liberation of Salqin and Harim
    • The regime raids Kfar Takharim 
    • The regime attacks Kfar Takharim
    • Liberation of the International Battalion from the regime
  • 2014-2016-2017
    • Ramadan attacks that killed 45 including children
    • Opening of the Wasim and al-Salam hospitals and the children’s hospital
    • Attack that killed 55 in the al-Rudah Mosque
    • Attack on al-Hara lane that killed 45
    • Attack on Armanaz that killed 35, mostly children
    • Opening of the dental school
  • 2018-2019-2020
    • Attack on the Sha’abi Souq that killed 112
    • Establishment of a hospital in Armanaz
    • Opening of a the Public Harim Hospital
    • Attack on the Bustan neighborhood that killed dozens of civilians 
  • 2021-2022-2023
    • Reestablishment of electricity in the area
    • Opening of projects to house the displaced in the Rama compound 
    • Opening of the civilian record by the Interior Ministry
    • Opening of the children’s department in the Salam hospital
    • Violent earthquake hits the area and disrupts the lives of thousands
    • Formation of the emergency response committee for the earthquake

Most Important Events in the Ariha Region During the Past 12 Years of the Syrian Revolution

  • 2011-2012
    • Defection of the first officer, Lt. Col. Hussein Harmush 
    • Formation of the Liwa’ al-Dhabat al-Ahrar (Free Officers Brigade)
    • Badima attack that killed 120 
    • Kansafra attack that killed 100
    • Liberation of Jabal al-Zawiya
    • Liberation of al-Bara checkpoint from the regime  
  • 2013-2014
    • “MiG” plane crash in Jabal al-Zawiya
    • Attack on al-Suq al-Sha’abi in Ariha that killed 24
    • Attack on Magharah, a village in the middle of Jabal al-Zawiya
    • Attack on Balyun, a village in the middle of Jabal al-Zawiya
    • Eid attack in the villages of Shnan and Sarjah
  • 2015-2016
    • Liberation of Ariha and raising the revolutionary flag
    • Liberation of the strategic al-Qarmid camp 
    • Shooting down a helicopter in Jabal al-Zawiya and capturing its crew
    • Bombing of the Ariha market that killed 46
    • Attack on al-Hal market in Ariha that killed 15
    • Attack on the Balyun market that killed 16
  • 2017-2018-2019-2020
    • Russian aerial bombing of the Orient hospital in Kfar Nabil
    • Russian aerial attack on Mardikh that killed 45
    • Bombing of the women and children’s hospital in Shnan by a Russian raid
    • Destruction of the Dar al-Hikma hospital in Kfar Nabl due to a Russian raid 
    • Shooting down a warplane in Jabal al-Zawiya 
    • Martyrdom of the military leader Abu Ubaydah Kansafra 
  • 2021-2022-2023
    • Attack on the Iblin town that killed 14
    • Attack on the military commander for Hayat Tahrir al-Sham 
    • Attack on students in Ariha that killed 10
    • Connecting electricity to Ariha and some other villages in Jabal al-Zawiya 
    • Opening of the central hospital in Ariha
    • Damages to buildings and infrastructure as a result of the earthquake in Syria 

Palmyra Prison: The most horrific human slaughterhouse known to Syria

The Palmyra prison, a large prison that was built in 1966 as a military prison under the pretext of deterring military violations inside the army institution at the time, later turned into the largest place of detention in the country during the ill-fated coup of the criminal Hafiz al-Assad. During Hafiz al-Assad’s regime, tens of thousands were imprisoned, some of them Palestinians, on various charges, all centering around a basic charge of attempting to overthrow the Ba’ath Party, or undermining the prestige of the state. The prisoners witnessed massacres that Amnesty International classified as the most heinous human rights violations in the Middle East, including the 1980 massacre. Violations continued against detainees during Bashar al-Assad’s era until 2015, when the Islamic State blew the prison up and destroyed it. All evidence exposing Assad’s violations disappeared. For five decades, the prison remained a nightmare for Syrians, and during the stage of the Syrian revolution – in addition to the notorious Sednaya prison – the Palmyra prisoners witnessed horrific massacres against peaceful demonstrators, whose files were closed forever after the prison bombing.