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Syria: Yazidis
Country Study > Chapter 2 > The Society and Its Environment > Religious Life > Other Minorities > Yazidis

YAZIDIS


During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the Yazidis, whose religion dates back to the time of the Umayyad caliphate (A.D. 661-750), migrated from southern Iraq and settled in their present mountainous stronghold -- Jabal Sinjar in northern Iraq. Although some are scattered in Iran, Turkey, and the Caucasus, Iraq is the center of their religious life, the home of their amir, and the site (north of Al Mawsil) of the tomb of their most revered saint, Shaykh Adi.

In 1964, there were about 10,000 Yazidis in Syria, primarily in the Jazirah and at Aleppo; population data were not available in 1987. Once seminomadic, most Yazidis now are settled; they have no great chiefs and, although generally Kurdish-speaking, gradually are being assimilated into the surrounding Arab population.

Yazidis generally refuse to discuss their faith which, in any case, is known fully to only a few among them. The Yazidi religion has elements of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as well as of paganism. Yazidis consider the Bible and the Quran as sacred. Sometimes inaccurately called "devil worshipers" by other Syrians, Yazidis go to considerable lengths to placate a fallen angel symbolized as a sacred peacock called Malik Taus.

Data as of April 1987




Last Updated: April 1987


Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Syria was first published in 1991. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on Factba.se.

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