Known in Arabic as Badiyat al-Sham after the nomadic bedouin (Badu, hence Badiya) who roam its parts in search of pasture, it is also known as the Greater Badiyat al-Sham (Badiyat al-Sham al-Kubra) because it extends between the desert of al-Nufud on the Arabian peninsula and the Euphrates river. Badiyat al-Sham covers about two-thirds—about 52,000 square miles (130,000 sq. km)—of the overall area of Syria. It is divided into two parts: the first, in the northeast, is called Badiyat al-Jazira, and the second, in the southeast, is called alShamiyya or Badiyat al-Sham, that is, the Syrian desert. This desert begins at the Syro-Jordanian border, skirts the frontier of settlement toward the north at a line east of Jabal Druze, al-Ghuta oasis of Damascus and its marj (meadow), then up along the Qalamun mountains, then east of al-Jabbul, the finally ends at Meskene on the Euphrates.
The Syrian desert, in turn, is divided into two parts, which differ in their surface structure. The first, a plateau in the southwest, is more elevated than the other part and also much drier. The part to the northeast starts at lower elevation in the south—2,208 feet (673 m)—and ends at 623 feet (190 m) in the north. This part is dry and has dry river channels (wadis) exposed to flooding. These wadis range in length from 93 to 186 miles (150–300 km) and in width from 0.3 to 0.6 miles (0.5 to 1 km). Annual precipitation in the Syrian desert does not exceed 5.85 inches (150 mm).
The few plants and animals of the Syrian desert are of the type that can withstand a subtropical climate. The nomads raise sheep and camels, and they move according to the seasons, from one region to the other across political frontiers seeking pasture. Phosphates, oil, and butane gas have been discovered in this desert, and modern network of roads and railways makes the exploitation of the desert much easier than before.
"Syrian Desert." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 15, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/syrian-desert
"Syrian Desert." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . Retrieved February 15, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/syrian-desert
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Syrian Desert, Arabic Badiyat Ash Sham, arid wasteland, SW Asia, between the cultivated lands along the E Mediterranean coast and the fertile Euphrates River valley. It extends N from the Nafud Desert in Saudi Arabia and comprises W Iraq, E Jordan, and SE Syria. The famous Arabian horses are raised along the edges of the desert, which in the north is crossed by oil pipelines and by a motor route from Damascus to Baghdad. Several nomadic tribes inhabit the desert. Palmyra and other oases served as staging posts on ancient Mediterranean-Mesopotamian trade routes.
"Syrian Desert." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 15, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/syrian-desert
"Syrian Desert." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved February 15, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/syrian-desert