The Syrian Desert, also known as the Syrian steppe, the Jordanian steppe, or the Badia, is a region of desert, semi-desert and steppe covering 500,000 square kilometers of the Middle East, including parts of south-eastern Syria, northeastern Jordan, northern Saudi Arabia, and western Iraq. It accounts for 85% of the land area of Jordan and 55% of Syria. To the south it borders and merges into the Arabian Desert. The land is open, rocky or gravelly desert pavement, cut with occasional wadis.
Some of the climax plants in the Syrian Badia are Caroxylon vermiculatum, Stipa barbata, Artemisia herba-alba and Atriplex leucoclada. This desert ecosystem is under threat from drought, over-grazing, hunting and other human activities. Some native animals no longer inhabit this area, and many plant species have died out while grasses with a lower nutritional value to livestock have replaced them.
The Syrian Desert is the origin of the golden hamster.
Storks, herons, cranes, small waders, waterfowl, and also raptors visit the seasonal lakes. Small rodents are common, as are their predators such as snakes, scorpions and camel spiders; previously common were gazelle, wolf, jackal, fox, cat and caracal, also ostrich, cheetah, hartebeest and onager. The large mammals are now locally extinct.