Ain Sifni


A street in Shekhan

Location in Iraq

Coordinates: 36°41′30″N 43°21′00″E / 36.69167°N 43.35000°E / 36.69167; 43.35000Coordinates: 36°41′30″N 43°21′00″E / 36.69167°N 43.35000°E / 36.69167; 43.35000IQ
Country  Iraq
District Shekhan

Shekhan (Kurdish: Şêxan, Syriac: ܥܝܢ ܣܦܢܐ, Arabic: عين سفني) is an Yazidi town in northern Iraq. It is one of the primary holy cities of the ethno-religious group of the Yazidis, and functions as a capital for them as it is the residence of the Princes of Shekhan, the leader of the Yazidi people, with the current prince being Tahseen Said. The town is also the seat of the Shekhan District in the Mosul Governorate province in Iraq.[1]

The town is mainly populated by Yazidis, with a minority of Assyrian Christians.[2][3] The churches are Mar Yusuf (Saint Joseph) Chaldean Catholic and Mar Kyriakos, which belongs to the Assyrian Church of the East. The languages spoken in the town are the Kurdish dialect of Kurmanji, Arabic and Assyrian Neo-Aramaic.[4]


The Assyrian name of the town, Ain Sifni, comes from Aramaic, the language spoken by Assyrians. Its name comes from the words "aina," meaning "[water] spring," and "sapanna," meaning "sailor." The name of the town means "[water] spring of the sailor."


Beginning on August 10, 2014, Yazidi refugees have been fleeing to the town and Lalish from Sinjar through Syria after the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant placed that city under siege.[5][6][7]

See also


  1. "Basic information about Shekhan District" (PDF). Christian Aid Program in Iraq. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 25, 2012. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
  2. First Church-,35628.html
  3. Second Church-,35598.html
  4. "What you did not know about Iraq's Yazidi minority". Al Arabiya News. Al Arabiya Network. Al Arabiya Institute for Studies. August 11, 2014. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
  5. "Iraq crisis: the last stand of the Yazidis against Islamic State". The Telegraph. August 12, 2014. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  6. Soguel, Dominique (August 12, 2014). "World Middle East A sanctuary for Iraqi Yazidis – and a plea for Obama's intervention". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
  7. Spencer, Richard (August 13, 2014). "Iraq dispatch: terrified Yazidi people seek refuge inside holy temple". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
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