Further information: Kurds in Syria, Syrians, Syrian-Assyrians, Syrian Turkmen, and Yazidis in Syria
Two ethnic groups have a significant presence throughout Northern Syria:
Kurds are an ethnic group living in northeastern and northwestern Syria, culturally and linguistically classified among the Iranian peoples. Many Kurds consider themselves descended from the ancient Iranian people of the Medes, using a calendar dating from 612 B.C., when the Assyrian capital of Nineveh was conquered by the Medes. Kurds formed 55% of the 2010 population of what now is both Jazira Region and Euphrates Region. During the Syrian civil war, many Kurds who had lived elsewhere in Syria fled back to their traditional lands in Northern Syria.
Arabs are an ethnic group or ethnolinguistic group living throughout Northern Syria, mainly defined by Arabic as their first language. They encompass Bedouin tribes who trace their ancestry to the Arabian Peninsula as well as arabized indigenous peoples and preexisting Arab groups. Arabs form the majority or plurality in some parts of Northern Syria, in particular in the southern parts of the Jazira Region, in Tell Abyad District and in Azaz District. While in Shahba region the term Arab is mainly used to denote arabized Kurds and arabized Syrians, in Euphrates Region and in Jazira Region it mainly denotes ethnic Arab Bedouin populations.
Two ethnic groups have a significant presence in certain regions of Northern Syria:
The streets of Qamishli during Christmas
Assyrians are an ethnic group. Their presence in Syria is in the Jazira Region of the autonomous region, particularly in the urban areas (Qamishli, al-Hasakah, Ras al-Ayn, Al-Malikiyah, Al-Qahtaniyah), in the northeastern corner and in villages along the Khabur River in the Tell Tamer area. They traditionally speak varieties of Syriac-Aramaic, a Semitic language. There are many Assyrians among recent refugees to Northern Syria, fleeing Islamist violence elsewhere in Syria back to their traditional lands. In the secular polyethnic political climate of the region, the Dawronoye modernization movement has a growing influence on Assyrian identity in the 21st century.
Turkmen are an ethnic group with a major presence in the area between Afrin Region and Euphrates Region, where they form regional majorities in the countryside from Azaz and Mare’ to Jarabulus, and a minor presence in Afrin Region and Euphrates Region.
There are also smaller minorities of Armenians throughout Northern Syria as well as Chechens in Ras al-Ayn.