Deir ez-Zor

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Deir ez-Zor

دير الزور

Deir Ezzor - Deir Azzor
Deir ez-Zor collection.jpg
Deir ez-Zor is located in Syria
Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
Location in Syria
Coordinates: 35°20′N 40°9′E / 35.333°N 40.150°E / 35.333; 40.150
Country Syria
GovernorateDeir ez-Zor Governorate
DistrictDeir ez-Zor District
Government
 • MayorMohamed Ibrahim Samra
Elevation
210 m (690 ft)
Population
 (2004 census[1])
 • City211,857
 • Metro
239,196
Demonym(s)Arabic: ديري‎, romanizedDeiri
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EET)
Area code(s)051
GeocodeC5086
ClimateBWh

Deir ez-Zor (Arabic: دير الزورDayr az-Zūr; Syriac: ܕܝܪܐ ܙܥܘܪܬܐ Dayrāʾ Zəʿōrtāʾ) is the largest city in eastern Syria and the seventh largest in the country. Located 450 km (280 mi) to the northeast of the capital Damascus on the banks of the Euphrates River, Deir ez-Zor is the capital of the Deir ez-Zor Governorate.[2] In the 2004 census, it had a population of 211,857 people.

Names[edit]

Among Syrians and neighbouring regions, Ad-Deir is used for short to indicate Deir ez Zor. In Syriac, Zeʿūrta (ܙܥܘܪܬܐ) means "little"; hence, Dīrā Zeʿūrta means "small habitation".[3] The current name, which has been extended to the surrounding region, indicates an ancient site for one of the Early Christian secluded monasteries spread since the persecution times and Apostolic Age throughout Mesopotamia.[4] Although Deir (ܕܝܪܐ), which is Arabic for "monastery", was thought to be kept throughout Medieval and Modern Age renaming, Zor, which indicates the riverbank bush, appeared only in some late Ottoman records.[5]

Many different romanizations are used, including Deir Ezzor, Deir Al-Zor, Deir-al-Zour,[6] Dayr Al-Zawr, Der Ezzor, Deir Azzor, Der Zor, and Deirazzor.

History[edit]

Statue of Ebih-Il. (Mari, 25th century BC)

Ancient History[edit]

From the discoveries of Dura-Europos to the southeast of Deir Ezzor.

Archaeological findings in Deir Ezzor indicate that the area has been inhabited since the ninth millennium BC, however, the current location of the city has not seen a strong and significant city in the past, It was always an urban central subordinate to the neighboring regions and kingdoms, such as the Kingdom of Mari, which rose in the third millennium BC.[7]

During the third millennium BC, the Amorites settled the area and established the kingdom of Yamhad, one of whose urban centers was the city of Deir ez-Zor alongside Mayadeen, Qars, and Tarka and its capital is Aleppo. The city had not seen significant incidents with the succession of major empires such as Akkadian or Assyrian over the region, However, some military campaigns by the emperors were destroying entire urban centers for fear of its future rebellion, but, Deir al-Zour at that time, was too small to have the ability to rebel.[8]

In the third century BC Alexander the Great crossed the region and built the city of Dura-Europos, which was followed by Deir ez-Zor. and although influenced by Greek culture, the Aramaic language remained prevalent in the city. When Syria entered Roman rule in 64 BC, Deir ez-Zor was a small, marginal village known as "Azdra" follow to Circesium, which the Romans made it the center of the region, and they founded in it a strong military garrison. Deir Ezzor also followed the reign of Queen Zenobia of Palmyra in the second century within an autonomous federation of the Roman Empire.[9]

Islamic conquest[edit]

A map showing the march of Khalid ibn al-Walid's army from Iraq to the Levant.
A map of al-Jazira region (Upper Mesopotamia) in the 8th century. Iyad played a leading role in the Muslim conquest of the region.

After the end of the wars of apostasy and stability in the Arabian Peninsula, Abu Bakr sent four armies to open to the Levant, and the leaders of the armies were Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan, Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah, Amr ibn al-Aas, Shurahbil ibn Hasana. And because of the difficulties that was faced by these armies due the strength of the armies of the Byzantine Empire and its huge numbers, Abu Bakr ordered Khalid ibn al-Walid to march with a half of the Iraqi army towards fronts of the Levant and command the armies there.

Khaled set off with his army towards Sham and opened Bosra and then defeated the Romans at the Battle of Ajnadayn and after Umar ibn Al-Khattab took over the Islamic caliphate in 13 AH (22 August 634 AD) Isolated Khalid ibn al-Walid from the leadership of the Levant armies and replaced him with Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah and ordered him to complete the conquest, and then Damascus opened and after that Baalbek then Homs, Hama and Latakia.

After the successive defeats of Byzantine forces,The Byzantine Emperor Heraclius requested the help of the Arab Christians in Mesopotamia who had mobilized a large army and headed towards Homs where the base of Abu Ubaidah in northern Syria, and Heraclius sent to them a soldiers across the sea from Alexandria, Omar ibn al-Khattab wrote to Saad ibn Abi Waqqas to support Abu Ubaidah of muslims from the people of Iraq, So he sent armies with the commanders, including Iyad ibn Ghanm, When the Romans who were besieging Homs heared about the muslims army that was coming from Iraq, withdrew from Homs and returned to their country, Saad wrote to Iyad to invade The Euphrates Island and he conquered in 17 AH and during his march conquered Deir Ezzor, where its people were on that day on the religion of Christianity and Judaism, There was a Christian monastery in the city called Monastery of the Hermits, later built in its place Omari Mosque, Since then, Muslims had come to the city of Deir ez-Zor from Iraq and other countries because of its good location, which combines the purity of air and the abundance of water, and christians had started increasingly disperse, and some of them had converted to Islam.[10]

During the Abbasid era, The city has seen great urbanization and agricultural prosperity as a result of security and irrigation development and because of the commercial Euphrates road that was going through it. The small town called "Deir Al-Rumman" did not record any significant events during the decline of the Abbasid state and The Mamluk period except for the volatility of the semi-independent states on its rule, that appeared in the Abbasid state, and later its destruction by the Mongols in the thirteenth century.[11]

Ottoman Era[edit]

The extent of the Ottoman Empire in 1566, upon the death of Suleiman the Magnificent.

First Ottoman Era (1517-1864)[edit]

Ibrahim Pasha, the ruler of Syria (1831-1840).

The first Ottoman era extends from the date the Ottomans entered Syria in 1517 until 1864, where the Ottomans found Deir ez-Zor a small town on the upper Euphrates and chose it as a center for their employees and settled in some of tribal sheikhs to protect the trade route between Aleppo and Baghdad and The tribesmen began to visit it to communicate the men of power and buy their needs.[12]

Some Arab and European travelers visited it and describe its construction, economy and the nature of its inhabitants. According to the description: "Its houses are adjacent over an artificial hill and its inhabitants are strong, polite and they welcome guests. Their crops were wheat, barley, cotton and corn, along with orchards full of fruit species, including palm trees, lemons and oranges, the chess game is common among elders".[13]

Deir ez-Zor has repeatedly been subjected to Bedouin attacks for looting and has been greatly affected by these attacks, including the attacks of Wahhabis in 1807, It was repeatedly plundered and destroyed by the Bedouin, because the Ottoman Empire had not subdued them as it was preoccupied with its wars and the corruption of its sultans and officials. The people of the city armed themselves with guns and organized a national army to defend the city resulting in decline the Bedouin attacks, but its negative effects were the shrinking of the city, But the isolation benefited the people of the city, because they relied on themselves to make many of their needs and those of neighboring villages such as axes, spears, swords, gunpowder and weaving the cotton.[14]

When security was relatively stable, the commercial convoys started passing through the area and Deir Ezzor was a station for them, providing them with food, feed, and comfort. The khans were established in it and the road between Aleppo and Baghdad began to revive it and get it out of isolation, and young people start traveling to Horan with the beginning of the spring for trading or work and then return in the early fall, they also travel to Aleppo, Baghdad, Mardin and Urfa for trading.[15]

In 1831 Ibrahim Pasha took over Deir Ezzor and annexed it to Hama Sanjak and appointed Maejun Agha governor of the city, Egyptian rule remained until 1840 when the authority of the Ottoman returned to the city, Perhaps the most prominent feature of Ibrahim Pasha's rule is the proliferation of weapons among the city's inhabitants, especially the rifles, known as "Brahimiyat", which constituted a major tool to defend the city and repel Bedouin attacks.[16]

Second Ottoman Era (1864-1918)[edit]

Zor Sanjak[edit]
Ottoman Syria until World War I. Present borders in grey.

On 2 January 1858, the Ottoman government launched a military campaign under the command of Omar Pasha (Croatian) comprised 500 soldiers to subdue the tribes in the Euphrates region. The campaign reached Deir ez-Zor city and fought against the residents of the city where 16 Ottoman soldiers were killed and after The Ottoman army managed to subdue the city, Omar Pasha recruited 16 young men from the city instead of the Ottoman soldiers killed.[17]

In 1864 the city revolted against Ottoman rule, and Soraya Pasha governor of Aleppo sent a military campaign to suppress it. After the campaign settled, Soraya Pasha came to Deir Ezzor and made it the center of the district's headquarters (Qaimakamiyya) and he return back to Aleppo after appointing Omar Pasha as a governor, but his rule did not last more than 6 months, where Khalil Bey Saqib was appointed as Kaymakam of Deir Ezzor after it annexed to Aleppo.

During his reign, it established the government House (Dar Al Saraya), a military barracks, a hospital and some trade market, Some of the arrivals from Urfa settled in the city to help Khalil Bey Saqib with the administration, as well as starting campaigns to settle the Bedouin in urban centers on the Euphrates.[18] In 1868, the Qaimakamiyya was transformed into the Zor Sanjak, which do not follow to the wali but are directly follow to the Grand Vizier in Istanbul and its ruler (Mutasarrıf) was granted wide powers and its area was extended to include the city of Raqqa and Hasakah.[19]

The rulers (Mutasarrıfs) solidified security especially during Arslan Pasha's reign, they were interested in organizing and planning the city, constructing schools and streets and they established the first public park, They also built bridges on the Euphrates and some mosques and encouraged afforestation and they used boats to cross the Euphrates, They reformed the tax system and introduced European uniforms into the city and did not generalize it.

The era of the Zor Sanjak lasted 54 years, where 29 Mutasarrıfs successively ruled it, the most recent was Hilmi Bey, who left the city with the Ottoman army on 6 November 1918. The continuous change of rulers (Mutasarrıfs) and lack of resources and disruption of conditions in the Ottoman Empire affected negatively of the urban, economic, cultural and social activity of the city, and the outbreak of World War I in 1914 brought her calamities, where many of her young people were recruited, famine and disease spread, livelihoods were confiscated, trade stopped and agriculture declined. However, in the opinion of the historian Abdul Qadir Ayyash, Deir Ezzor owed for its civilization for the Ottoman rulers despite their mistakes.[20]

Armenian Genocide[edit]
Armenian Genocide 1914.

At the beginning of World War I in 1914 the Ottoman Empire began systematic campaigns to kill and displace Armenians, This was carried out through massacres, forced deportations and displacement, which were marches under harsh conditions designed to lead to the death of the deportees and the researchers estimate the number of Armenian victims between 1 million and 1.5 million.[21][22]

Deir Ezzor was the last destination of the forced displacement of Armenian convoys, and the scene of killings and slaughter by the Turkish gendarmerie, where the Ottoman authorities planned to exterminate Armenians by the Arabs, But their plans failed. where the people of Deir ez-Zor regretted for what happened to the Armenian men, women and children, Which prompted Haj Fadel Al-Aboud who was mayor of Deir Ezzor to helped and protected them and provided them with food, housing, all livelihoods and safety.[23][24]

If the Armenian forced migration had a tragic side, it had a positive side on the city of Deir Ezzor, reflected in the high population of the city and consequently the high rate of population growth. Historically, the city of Deir Ezzor has a special status for Armenians in Syria and Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora, Therefore, a church was built in the name of Armenian Genocide Memorial Church (the church was officially built in 1991), included a museum containing some remains, collectibles and maps for memory of the martyrs who died in that area by the Ottoman Turks. The city later became a pilgrimage to hundreds of thousands of Armenians on 24 April each year, after being declared in 2002 by Catholicos Aram I of the Armenian Orthodox of Cilicia as an pilgrimage to the Armenians.[25][26]

Arab Kingdom of Syria[edit]

The first government of Haj Fadel[edit]

Fadel Al-Aboud
President of Deir al-Zour government in 1918 and 1920.
King Faisal in 1920.

Trouble broke out in the city of Deir al-Zour after the Ottomans left on 6 November 1918, where people began looting and stealing from each other across the area, so it was necessary to have a strong authority for protecting the city and its people and that led Al-Hassan who was the mayor to form his first government in the city and asking all tribal leaders in the villages and surrounding districts to support him and pledge allegiance to him. One of the priorities of this government was maintain the security and running the affairs of the city. This government later known as the "Haj Fadel Government".[27][28][29]

The government continued until the arrival of Sharif Nasser, the cousin of prince Faisal Bin Al-Hussein, on 1 December 1918, and Mari Basha Al-Mallah on 7 December 1918.[30]

British period[edit]

On 11 January 1919, the British army occupied the city via the Iraqi border and annexed it to Iraqi territory. The British government took care of the security and cleanliness of the city and set up a primary school that started teaching English. Fadel Al-Aboud remained mayor, During this period, Fadel Al-Aboud and a number of leaders of the Baggara tribe, Agedat and other tribes represented the Euphrates region at the Syrian National Congress held in late June 1919 Which declared on 8 March 1920 the independence of Syria and establishment of Arab Kingdom of Syria and the appointment of Faisal Ibn Al-Sharif Hussein as King.[31][32]

The people of Deir Ezzor sought to get rid of British rule and wrote their wish to the Arab government in Damascus, The Iraqi officers of the Iraqi "Alahid Party" in Damascus wanted to occupy Deir Ezzor to make it a base to liberate Iraq from the British occupation. So they appointed Ramadan Shalash as governor of Raqqa to be a step to liberate Deir Ezzor, Officer Ramadan Shlash came and occupied Deir Ezzor with the help of her people and "Albu Saraya" clan and British troops withdrew on 27 December 1919 to the Iraqi border.[33]

The Second government of Haj Fadel[edit]

On 27 December 1919, Ramadan Shalash took over the administration of Deir ez-Zor as a military ruler and his authority was nominal and the real ruling was to the notables of the city, and they were not satisfied with his actions so they took him out of the city after two months.[34]

After the Battle of Maysalun on 24 July 1920 and occupation of Damascus by French forces, The city of Deir ez-Zor was in a state of chaos and insecurity, which prompted Al-Hassan to form his second government, Which has done great services in protecting the city and maintaining the security of its people despite its limited capabilities. This government continued its work until 23 November 1920, when it was dissolved by a decision of the French occupation authorities.[35][36]

King Faisal left Syria for Horan then Haifa and from there to Como in Italy then to London in October 1920 at the invitation of the British royal family, Upon his departure, the monarchy in Syria ended and began the French Mandate era.

French Mandate[edit]

On July 1920, French General Henri Gouraud issued an ultimatum to the government of King Faisal, known as the "Gouraud ultimatum ", I set four days to accept it.

Although the Syrian government accepted the ultimatum and accepted the demands of General Gouraud to demobilize the Syrian army and withdraw the soldiers from the mounds of the village of Majdal Anjar in violation of the decision of the Syrian National Congress, on 24 July 1920, French troops began to march on the orders of General Goubeier (By order of General Gouraud) towards Damascus, While the Syrian army stationed on the border was retreating, and when General Gouraud) asked about this matter, replied that Faisal's message by accepting the ultimatum had reached him after the deadline.

on 24 July 1920, the Battle of Maysalun ended with the loss of the Syrian army and the martyrdom of the Minister of War Yousef Al-Azma, After its control over the entire Syrian territory, France resorted to the fragmentation of Syria into several independent states or entities:

The city of Deir Ezzor, Raqqa and Al-Hasakah were followed to Aleppo.

When the French colonial forces entered Deir ez-Zor on 9 November 1921 the region was locally ruled by Fadel Al-Aboud, a member of an aristocratic family, After a while protests and demonstrations against occupation broke out, A group of French armored vehicles and dozens of soldiers encircled the house of Fadel Al-Aboud, where he was arrested and transferred to the military airport of Deir al-Zour and then transported by military aircraft to Aleppo, where he was imprisoned in the castle and during his imprisonment he met with the leader Ibrahim Hanano, In June 1922 he was released and returned to Deir ez-Zor.[37][36]

Later, Fadel Al-Aboud was sentenced to exile to the city of Jisr al-Shughour after he was accused of preparing a revolt against French colonialism in protest against the military campaign by the French army against the Bukhabur tribes that refused to pay taxes to the French colonizer, and insulting Wali Deir al-Zour Khalil Isaac, who was cooperating with the French.[38][39][40][41]

In June 1922, under the pressure of the Syrian people and the continued demonstration, Gouraud declared the creation of a Syrian federation on a federal basis between Damascus, Aleppo, and Alawite state, Provided that the Federation should have a president elected for one non-renewable year, The council of the Federation held its first meeting in June 1922 in the city of Aleppo and issued resolution No. / 1 / to form the federal Government, Subhi Barakat, who is close to the French colonial authorities, was elected president of the federation.

The struggle against the Mandate[edit]

French General Maurice Sarrail, The High Commissioner of the French Mandate of Syria
Hassan Al-Abed Al-Salamah, the moment of his execution by the French occupation
Ayyash Al-Hajj grave at the Sultan Ibrahim al-Adham mosque in Jableh.

There were contacts between the leaders of the Great Syrian Revolution and some patriots of Syrian east area as Mohammed ِAl-Ayyash, who met in Damascus with Dr. Abdul Rahman Shahbandar, leader of the People's Party, and discussed with him the issue of extending the revolution to the Euphrates region and opened a front against the French to disperse their forces, and ease the pressure on the rebels of Ghouta and Jabal al-Arab, after returned Al-Ayyash from Damascus he started to arouse the enthusiasm of the people of Deir ez-Zor and invite them to fight, and agreed with his brother Mahmoud to go to the villages of the Albu Saraya clan that living west of Deir ez-Zor and which have a strong friendship with his father Ayyash Al-Haj, to form revolutionary groups with them to strike the French forces.[42][43][44]

Al-Ayyash managed to form a revolutionary group of thirteen armed men who were ready to take any military action against the French forces, They are:[45][46][47][48]

  1. Mahmoud Al-Ayyash
  2. Hakami Al-Abed Al-Salameh (Al-Shumaitiya Village).
  3. Aziz Al-Ali Al-Salamah (Al-Shumaitiya Village).
  4. Haji Ali Al-Abed Al-Salama (Al-Shumaitiya Village).
  5. Hassan Al-Abed Al-Salamah (Al-Shumaitiya Village).
  6. Hamza Al-Abed Al-Salama (Al-Shumaitiya Village).
  7. Aslibi Masoud Al-Abdul Jalil (Al-Shumaitiya Village).
  8. Khaleef Al-Hassan Al-Muhammad (Al-Kuraitia Village).
  9. Lions of Hamdan (Al-Kuraitia Village).
  10. Ahmed Al-Hassan (Al-Kuraitia Village).
  11. Hameed Al-Sultan (Al-Kuraitia Village).
  12. Abdullah Al-Khalaf Ibrahim (Deir ez-Zor city).
  13. Hamad Bin Rdaini - Al-Baggara tribe.

Some people was working with the French at translation centers and others, but they were at the service of the revolutionaries which They were bringing news to Mohammed ِAl-Ayyash about the situation and movements of the French and their activities and the timing of their military operations and Al-Ayyash guides the revolutionaries to strike the French forces.

In early June 1925, the translators informed Mohammed ِbey Al-Ayyash that a military vehicle carrying four French officers who had come from France to inspect the French military construction departments in Syria and Lebanon, accompanied by their French driver, would leave Deir ez-Zor on its way to Aleppo. He instructed his brother Mahmoud to set up an ambush in the area of Ain Albu Gomaa on the road to Deir ez-Zor Al-Raqqa, where the highway runs through very deep valley and has a narrow stone bridge.[49][50][51][52]

If each of the criminals, who committed this terrible offense deserve dying once, the gang leader Mohammed ِAl-Ayyash is deserve hanging twice.

Officer Bono 1925.[53]

When the military vehicle arrived, the revolutionaries attacked and arrested the officers and took them with their car after they took their weapons to a desert called "Al-Aksiyya", and threw them with their driver in one of the abandoned wells where they died.[54][55][56]

The French were mad for losing the contact with their officers, and began a big campaign included planes to search for them and when they found their bodies and inquired from the informants about the names of the revolutionaries, the sent a large military force equipped with heavy guns and planes to attack Albu Saraya clan and blockade it.

French planes began bombing the villages of the clan, it was a horrific and devastating bombardment where the houses destroyed on the heads of children and women and killed the livestock and burned farms and crops, Some civilians were killed and among them were "Hanash Al-Mousa Al-Ani", "Ali Al-Najras", and a woman who was pregnant, and many were wounded by bullets and shrapnel from Airplane bombs, All of this was to pressure on the people to surrender the revolutionaries.

When the French convinced that the bombing did not work, they resorted to a despicable means where they threatened to arrest the women of the revolutionaries, their mothers and sisters until the revolutionaries surrender themselves to the French, when the news arrived to the revolutionaries, they emerged from their hideouts and surrendered themselves to avoid arresting their women.[57][58]

Revolutionaries were tried in Aleppo, where The family of Ayyash Al-Haj appointed lawyer Fathallah Al-Saqqal to defend her, The court heard (officer Bono) head of the French intelligence in Deir ez-Zor, who said: If each of the criminals, who committed this terrible offense deserve dying once, the gang leader Mohammed Al-Ayyash is deserve hanging twice.[59][60][61]

The French High Commissioner in Beirut, Maurice Sarrail, issued Decision No. 49S / 5 in August 1925, which ordered the exile of all members of the Ayyash Al-Haj family to the city of Jableh, Mahmoud ِAl-Ayyash and 12 of his companions were sentenced to death. The execution was carried out by firing squad on 15 September 1925 in the city of Aleppo. Mohammed ِAl-Ayyash was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment on the island of Arwad in Tartous city.[62]

Shortly after Ayyash Al-Haj family's living in Jableh, The French authorities assassinated Ayyash Al-Haj in a cafe outside the city by poisoning his coffee, and prevented the transfer of his body to Deir ez-Zor city for reasons of public security, He was buried in Jableh in the cemetery of Sultan Ibrahim ibn Adham Mosque where the absent prayers held for the spirit of this martyr mujahid in all the Syrian cities.[63][64][65]

Independence[edit]

Flag of Independence in the Syrian Republic 1946.
Former Deir ez-Zor suspension bridge crossing the Euphrates.

The city was neglected during the reign of the first ٍSyrian republic and illiteracy was rampant by 95%, however, some achievements were belong to that stage, such as building the suspension bridge and the establishment of the first bank in addition to the palace of justice, the national library and the city museum and the municipal stadium, during this period, literary and cultural clubs increased, electricity was existed and cafes became widespread.

The city participated strongly in the sixtieth strike in 1936, and has seen a large march on 10 February 1936, This strike led to the signing of the independence agreement between Syria and France and the arrival of the national bloc to power after parliamentary elections held at the end of the year in which the city was represented by three deputies.[66]

In 1941, the twenty-fifth government was formed in the modern history of Syria and the tenth in the era of the first Syrian Republic, and the first after Taj al-Din al-Hassani became president. which gathered the various pillars of politics in Syria, during which the independence of Syria was proclaimed and the federal rule recognized the financial and administrative independence of Lattakia and Sweida. in this government Mohammad Bey al-Ayesh took over the Ministry of National Economy to be the first minister from Deir Ezzor and the Eastern Province. after his tenure, it dedicated the tradition of allocating a ministerial seat to a bourgeoisie in Deir ez-Zor in successive Syrian governments. And in the same year (1941) British-led forces defeated the Vichy French during the Syria-Lebanon campaign, which included a battle over Deir ez-Zor, and they handed administration of the region to the Free French.[67][68]

The city has maintained its struggle and political role in addition to its civil activity even during the independence phase, in 1946, the wheat uprising against Governor Makram al-Atassi began due to the monopoly of the authority with the good wheat in the city and the people succeeded in obtaining their rights.

In 1952 cotton cultivation was widespread and automated pumping engines were introduced which resulting in increase the area of arable land and cotton became the first crop of the city instead of wheat, and the discovery of oil and salt during the reign of the second Syrian republic near the city helped to develop and expand urbanization and the increase the number of public and private companies that working in it, as well as increasing migration from the countryside towards it.[69]

Protests (2011-2012)[edit]

The destroyed city of Deir Ezzor.

Deir Ezzor was one of the first cities that saw large demonstrations. The demonstrations began in the city on 15 March 2011, which was the first day in the movement of protests demanding the overthrow of the Syrian regime. On 15 April 2011, a large demonstration was launched from the city`s stadium despite of using the live bullets by the regime forces and the militias supporting it.[70][71]

In the demonstrations on Friday, 22 April 2011, (the sixth Friday in the history of the Syrian revolution) the statue of Basil al-Assad was shot down, until then, the Syrian regime had been cautious about the protests in Deir Ezzor, because of their clan nature and the size of their area and the presence of quantities of weapons in it stored from the days of the Iraq war. When the demonstrators headed towards the statue of Basil al-Assad, the security forces fired only in the air. It is said that the demonstrators were not shot and prevented from dropping the statue because the security commanders did not know or appreciate the reaction that could be issued by the people of the city if one of the demonstrators was killed.[72]

Syrian regime forces took full control of the city in August 2011, but the Free Syrian Army (associated with the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces) returned to take control in June 2012, and by the beginning of 2014, ISIS announced its annexation to what it called the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, and a part of Syrian regime forces remained besieged in a small part of the city.[73]

Deir Ez Zor district for more than two years remained one of the few Syrian Government′s strongholds in eastern Syria. In May 2015, Islamic State militants launched an offensive, capturing Palmyra and cutting off the remaining supply line to Deir ez-Zor.[74] The city was then effectively under siege by ISIS, leaving supplies to be solely delivered by transport helicopters.[74] ISIS attempted to stop the supplies by daily attacking the Deir ez-Zor Airbase. However, their attempts failed due to the presence of elite Republican Guards of the 104th Airborne Brigade led by Brigadier General Issam Zahreddine.[74]

In early September 2017, the Syrian Army moving from al-Sukhnah, reached the stronghold and joined the besieged garrison. Shortly thereafter, the siege of the city as well as the siege of the city′s airport were lifted.[75][76] By 3 November 2017, the SAA had fully liberated the city.[77]

From 8 September 2017 to 23 March 2019 a military operation east of the Euphrates River led by the Syrian Democratic Forces and the CJTF–OIR took place against the last bastion of the Islamic State in Syria. The campaign ended with a decisive victory for the SDF and its allies and resulted in the capture of all of ISIL territory in the Deir ez-Zor Governorate after finishing the Battle of Baghuz Fawqani.

Economy[edit]

The city and its rural surrounding is a fertile and prosperous farming area, with livestock-breeding (for awassi sheep), cereals and cotton crops. Many agribusiness institutions work there as well.

Since the discovery of light crude petroleum in the Syrian desert it has become a centre for the country's petroleum extraction industry.[78] It is also a minor centre for tourism with many tourist facilities such as traditional French-style riverbank restaurants, up to 5-star hotels, a hub for trans-desert travel and an airport (IATA code: DEZ) in Al-Jafra suburb. There are salt mines nearby.

Culture[edit]

Armenian Genocide Museum in Deir ez-Zor

The majority of Deiries (from Deir ez-Zor) are Arab Muslims, with few Armenian and Assyrian/Syriac families.

Deir ez-Zor was the final concentration place for Deir ez-Zor Camps for annihilating the Armenian deportation caravans. Tens of thousands of surviving men, women and children were systematically killed on the banks of the Euphrates River. The Armenian Genocide Memorial church commemorated the memory of Genocide victims who lost their lives, but it was destroyed on 21 September 2014 by Islamic State militants.

Successive waves of new settlers from surrounding countrysides and provinces were heavily related to severe drought in late 1950s and 1990s most of them looking for standard jobs and giving up their farming and herding lifestyle. The Mesopotamian variety of Arabic is used in the city; a slight influence of the Aleppo dialect can be noticed as well. Dominated by Sunni Muslims, Christianity in Deir ez-Zor can be traced back to the Apostolic Age, with few active churches and chapels belong to different congregations.

The city was also famous for the Deir ez-Zor suspension bridge (Arabic: الجسر المعلق‎) which spanned the Euphrates[2] and was destroyed in 2013 during the civil war. The Deir ez-Zor Museum keeps thousands of antiquities collected from nearby archaeological sites in Northern Mesopotamia.

Main campuses of Al-Furat University and Aljazeera University are also located there.[79] Many other polytechnic schools and professional institutes provide tertiary education are based in the city as well.

The local daily newspaper Al Furat and few other publications are published there and circulated in neighbouring Al-Hasakah and Raqqa governorates.

International relations[edit]

Deir ez-Zor is home to the third Armenian diplomatic mission in Syria; the Honorary Consulate of Armenia, opened on 11 February 2010.[80]

Deir ez-Zor Airport is an under-developed domestic and international terminal and important hub mostly connecting with Damascus and destinations in the Persian Gulf region.

Twin cities[edit]

Climate[edit]

Köppen-Geiger climate classification system classifies it as hot desert (BWh).

Climate data for Deir Ez-Zor (1961–1990)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 22.5
(72.5)
26.1
(79.0)
32.7
(90.9)
40.0
(104.0)
41.6
(106.9)
44.2
(111.6)
47.5
(117.5)
47.8
(118.0)
43.0
(109.4)
41.0
(105.8)
31.5
(88.7)
23.0
(73.4)
47.8
(118.0)
Average high °C (°F) 12.2
(54.0)
15.1
(59.2)
19.5
(67.1)
25.4
(77.7)
31.7
(89.1)
36.9
(98.4)
39.9
(103.8)
39.3
(102.7)
35.3
(95.5)
28.8
(83.8)
20.7
(69.3)
14.0
(57.2)
26.6
(79.9)
Daily mean °C (°F) 6.7
(44.1)
9.1
(48.4)
13.1
(55.6)
18.7
(65.7)
24.5
(76.1)
29.6
(85.3)
32.6
(90.7)
31.7
(89.1)
26.9
(80.4)
20.9
(69.6)
13.3
(55.9)
8.1
(46.6)
19.6
(67.3)
Average low °C (°F) 2.5
(36.5)
3.7
(38.7)
7.0
(44.6)
12.0
(53.6)
17.1
(62.8)
21.9
(71.4)
25.1
(77.2)
24.5
(76.1)
19.4
(66.9)
13.7
(56.7)
7.2
(45.0)
3.2
(37.8)
13.1
(55.6)
Record low °C (°F) −7.2
(19.0)
−8.2
(17.2)
−3.7
(25.3)
−2.0
(28.4)
8.0
(46.4)
10.6
(51.1)
17.6
(63.7)
16.8
(62.2)
11.4
(52.5)
2.5
(36.5)
−8.0
(17.6)
−9.3
(15.3)
−9.3
(15.3)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 28.1
(1.11)
24.1
(0.95)
27.8
(1.09)
22.2
(0.87)
8.6
(0.34)
0.3
(0.01)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.2
(0.01)
8.0
(0.31)
12.4
(0.49)
24.1
(0.95)
155.8
(6.13)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 4.8 4.3 4.3 3.5 1.7 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.1 1.5 2.6 4.1 27.0
Average relative humidity (%) 76 67 57 49 38 27 26 28 32 42 57 75 48
Mean monthly sunshine hours 161.2 179.2 223.2 243.0 310.0 351.0 372.0 356.5 309.0 257.3 207.0 161.2 3,130.6
Mean daily sunshine hours 5.2 6.4 7.2 8.1 10.0 11.7 12.0 11.5 10.3 8.3 6.9 5.2 8.6
Source #1: Deutscher Wetterdienst[82]
Source #2: NOAA[83]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]



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