The roots of the name Qamishli maybe originally traced to languages spoken in ancient Southwest Asia during the Bronze Age, like the name of the Hittite/Mitanni city of Carchemish KarKamish. The word Qamishli seems to have been Turkicized to mean "with reed".
Al Qamishli, in modern times, is of mixed ethnic groups, predominantly Kurdish , Syriacs and Arabs . The Christians of the city who are indigenous to the area mainly consist of Syriacs and Armenians . The city's population grew with the arrival of Syriacs fleeing the Syriac genocide in modern Turkey and the city was also founded by Syriac . Today Kurds , Syriacs , Arabs , and Armenians live side by side in the city. The city is populated by around 50,000 inhabitants, while the city and its suburbs and the Qamishli district is inhabited by up to 200,000 Syrians.
Al Qamishli was also home to a significant Jewish community. In the 1930s the Jewish population of Al Qamishli numbered 3000. After 1947 the situation of the Jews of Al Qamishli deteriorated. All Jews employed in government offices were sacked. Many Jewish women were imprisoned and beaten with the approval of the authorities. By 1963 the community had dwindled to 800 persons, and after the [Six-Day War] it went down further to 150. The remaining Jewish community is subjected to a daily curfew at sundown.
Qamishli is situated at the base of the Taurus Mountains , located near the area of ancient Hurrian city of Urkesh which was founded during the fourth millennium BC.
The modern city was founded in 1926 as a railway station on the Taurus railway
Al Qamishli has recently experienced an economic boom due to the exploration of petroleum in the Qarah Shuk region 80 km east of Al Qamishli.
It has an international airport, Kamishly Airport , with IATA code KAC.