Syria - The Cenozoic.
The post-Cretaceous Paleocene of Syria, a Fm known as Aliji, developed in a thick marly-to-chalky facies out-cropping in the Damascene-Palmyrid fold belts, the north-west of the Aleppo area and into south-eastern Turkey. It is transgressive similar to the facies characterising the Maestrichtian (Shiranish) and Campanian (Soukhne) Fms of the Palmyrids. There, the facies extends upwards embracing the whole Eocene and includes the Upper Eocene.
The sequence is known as the "Palmyra Marl Group", with the Jaddala Fm making up the Eocene portion. Extensive development of chert occurs in parts of the Lower-Middle Eocene portions of the group, such as the Araq flint.
Lower Eocene volcanics were developed in the Aleppo area. The Eocene in other parts of Syria is in a neritic, partly reefoid and partly argillaceous, facies reaching maximum development in Lebanon's Beqa' plateau. The Upper Eocene extends from the Palmyrid area into north-western Iraq, across the Jabal Sinjar trough.
The Oligocene is missing from much of Syria, restricted to the north-west and across the Palmyrid Basin and close to Damascus. It is mainly in a limestone facies. In the east Palmyrids, at Jabal Bishri, it is developed in a sandy facies, which includes conglomerate layers, sourced from the Rutbah High.
The Upper Eocene and Oligocene were the times of uplift of the coastal mountains of Lebanon and Syria, as well as much of anti-Lebanon and the Syrian interior. Later cut off were the Tethyan sea-way along northern Syria and southern Turkey, into north-western Iraq, with arms extending into the Palmyrids of central Syria.
A renewed transgression in the Late Oligocene and Early Miocene across the northern region left behind some pelagics and limestones. The Miocene, mainly a time of shallow and often restricted deposition, brought the Lower Fars Fm over northern Syria. This included wide-spread anhydrites.
By the Upper Miocene, the northern sea-way had filled up with Upper Fars clastics, dumped from the rising land as Arabia drifted northwards and partly closed the intervening sea area. During the Pliocene, molasse was deposited all the way from north-western Syria into northern Iraq.
The link between the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean through the Tethyan sea-way and the Persian Gulf was severed. A Messinian salinity crisis in the Mediterranean and Red Sea areas restricted marine Neogene deposits to limited ingressions into the edge of the mountain range, with Lower Miocene carbonates transgressing onto older deposits.
Messinian evaporites have been found in the Latakia area and in the sub-surface of the Lebanese-Syrian littoral border region.
A limited Pliocene marine ingression followed, which quickly turned into continental facies inter-fingering with basalts in the Tripoli-Hums area and parts of coastal Syria. In the interior, along the Levant Fracture System, lacustrine and continental deposits marked the Neogene.