The Middle East and North Africa countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea – Algeria, Lebanon, Libya, Syria, Tunisia, Egypt, Israel, Morocco and the Gaza Strip – host a vast variety of species and habitats. At the same time multiple threats affect the marine and coastal environment in the region, such as pollution, climate change, fisheries, coastal development and habitat loss. Sea turtles occur in all waters of the Middle East and N.Africa region.
Aggregations of loggerheads occur in the Alboran Sea and off the Libyan, Egyptian and Tunisian coasts, which host important sea turtle feeding habitats. Loggerheads nest in Libya, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon and to a lesser extent in Syria and Tunisia. Green turtles nest in Syria, and at lower numbers in Egypt, Lebanon, and Israel.
The Syrian shoreline, which makes up 183 km (approximately a quarter) of the eastern border to the Mediterranean Sea, consists of cliffs and rocky slopes as well as longer sandy beaches. Loggerhead turtles and green turtles are present in Syrian waters and also nest on Syrian shores. While there have been records from fishermen sightings or accidental capture of some leatherbacks at sea (mostly during the summer months), they are considered rare in the area.