I was signing an article just a few moments ago, so, today, June 18th. And it so happens, June 18th has as first entry in martyrology this item on St. Ephrem the Syrian:
Edessae, in Mesopotamia, sancti Ephraem, Diaconi Edesseni et Confessoris, qui, post multos labores pro Christi fide susceptos, doctrina et sanctitate conspicuus, sub Valente Imperatore quievit in Domino, et a Benedicto Papa Decimo quinto Doctor Ecclesiae universalis est declaratus.
In Edessa in Mesopotamia, saint Ephrem, Deacon of Edessa and Confessor, who, after taking up many labours for the Faith of Christ, conspicuous for doctrine and holiness, under Emperor Valens slept in the Lord, and by Pope Benedict the Fifteenth was declared Doctor of the Church Universal.
Now, where exactly is Edessa?
Edessa (Ancient Greek: Ἔδεσσα; Arabic: الرها ar-Ruhā; Turkish: Şanlıurfa; Kurdish: Riha) was a city in Upper Mesopotamia, founded on an earlier site by Seleucus I Nicator ca. 302 BC. It was also known as Antiochia on the Callirhoe from the 2nd century BC. It was the capital of the semi-independent kingdom of Osroene from c. 132 BC and fell under direct Roman rule in ca. 242. It became an important early centre of Syriac Christianity. It fell to the Muslim conquest in 638, was briefly retaken by Byzantium in 1031 and became the center of the Crusader state of the County of Edessa from 1098–1144. It fell to the Turkic Zengid dynasty in 1144 and was eventually absorbed by the Ottoman Empire in 1517. The modern name of the city is Urfa and it is located in Şanlıurfa Province in the Southeast Anatolia Region of Turkey.
Short story : Upper Mesopotamia and Eastern Turkey are same ground, at least in significant part.
So, Mesopotamia being the meaning of Shinear ... yes, that is right. Genesis 11 has a geographic description which is compatible with this region of Eastern Turkey.
Both Sumer and Sinjar are probably non-identic to Shinear, and were probably named for claiming (without success?) authority over all of Shinear, sth which was then forgotten.
It's a bit like if a European geographer has map extending AMERICA between Canada and Chile, while diverse American geographers had named their respective country Mérica here or Murka there. You are aware that the Spanish word Americano doesn't refer to US American, that that is Estadunidense, but to someone from Spanish speaking Americas, right? Well, like Mérica and Murka in my fictitious example, so Sinjar and Sumer in the real one, and meanwhile a Hebrew outside that region is calling all of it between Edessa and Persian Gulf (which back then was where we now have Shatt el Arab) Shinear.
Dear St. Ephrem, thank you for your stability of place, and pray for us!
Hans Georg Lundahl
St. Ephrem (as said)