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The entrance to Al Bukamal from the town of Al-Salihiyah
The entrance to Al Bukamal from the town of Al-Salihiyah
Al-Bukamal is located in Syria
Location in Syria
Coordinates: 34°27′13″N 40°56′12″E / 34.45361°N 40.93667°E / 34.45361; 40.93667Coordinates: 34°27′13″N 40°56′12″E / 34.45361°N 40.93667°E / 34.45361; 40.93667
Country  Syria
Governorate Deir ez-Zor
District Al-Bukamal
Elevation 175 m (574 ft)
Population (2012 est)
 • Total 116,270
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) +3 (UTC)

Al-Bukamal (Arabic: البوكمال‎‎) is a city on the Euphrates river in the Deir ez-Zor Governorate of eastern Syria near the border with Iraq. It is part of Al-Jazira, a plains region consisting of northeastern Syria and northwestern Iraq, quite distinct from the Syrian Desert and lower-lying central Mesopotamia. The Euphrates divides Abu Kamal[clarification needed] into two areas: Shamiyya (belonging to the Levant) and Jazira (belonging to Mesopotamia). Al-Bukamal is an economically prosperous farming region with cattle-breeding, cereals, and cotton crops. It is also home to the historical site Dura-Europos and the ancient kingdom of Mari. It is the administrative centre of the Al-Bukamal District. Just to the south-east is the Al-Qa'im border crossing to the town of Husaybah in the Al-Qa'im District of Iraq's Al Anbar Governorate.


During the Ottoman time, Al-Bukamal was called kışla, pronounced locally as "qashla", which is a Turkish word for "military barracks". This name "Qashla" is still used by some inhabitants of the area, especially by elderly villagers.[citation needed] The name "Al-Bukamal" (Arabic: البوكمال) means "the family of Kamal", Kamal being the tribe that lives there, whereas the name Abu Kamal means "the father of Kamal".


During Roman times Al-Bukamal was, as part of Mesopotamia, an important trading post between the Roman Empire and India. Conquered by Zenobia, it became part of the kingdom of Palmyra.

During the early Islamic Empire, the administration of Jazira was often shared with that of Armenia. At the time of Mu'awiyah (governor of Syria and the later founder of the Umayyad Caliphate), the administration of al-Jazira was included in the administration of Syria.

In the 17th century, Al-Bukamal was the seat of an Ottoman sanjak in the Eyalet of Ar Ruha, modern Sanliurfa. It was a kaza centre in Zor Mutasarrıflığı (District of Zor), which center was Deir ez-Zor before ending of Ottoman rule in 1918.[1]

France occupied Al-Bukamal together with Deir ez-Zor in 1921 and made it the seat of a large garrison. In 1946 it became part of independent Syria. The region's position at the border of Syria and Iraq, especially after the US invasion of Iraq, has made it an important commercial as well as political center.

On 27 October 2008, four US helicopters carried out a raid on the village of Sukkariyeh in Al-Bukamal. It was the first known raid inside Syria by the US. News reports indicate that at least seven people were killed, four of them children.[2][3][4] Al-Bukamal is located near to Al-Qa'im, a crossing point for the Iraqi insurgency and the location of Operation Steel Curtain in November, 2005. The Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem stated that "Killing civilians in international law means a terrorist aggression." [5]

During the Syrian civil war, in late July 2012, FSA takes it over along with its associated border post with Iraq. In early September 2012, France 24 reported that the Hamdan military airport was under attack by FSA.[citation needed] On 16 November 2012, FSA took over the Hamdan military airport, which was once used to transport farm produce, but was converted to a base for helicopters and military tanks. The capture of Hamdan means that the Syrian Army forces now only hold one air base in the province - the main military airport in Deir ez-Zor city.[6] As of 6 January 2014, the ISIL control the city.[7] The city was later reclaimed by the rebels. On 3 Jule, SOHR said that city Mayadeen, the biggest town in Deir Ezzor province, "is now under IS control, after Al-Nusra Front evacuated its headquarters there, and IS raised its banner. On 3 Jule, SOHR said that all towns and villages on the route from Al-Bukamal to Al-Bab, passing through Raqa province, are now under IS control,""[8][9] It was also the target of a Syrian opposition attack during the 2016 al-Bukamal offensive.


  1. ^
  2. ^ "BBC NEWS - Middle East - 'US helicopter raid' inside Syria". Retrieved 19 May 2016. 
  3. ^ Al-Jazeera(Arabic)
  4. ^ The Associated Press Archived October 28, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ "BBC NEWS - Middle East - Syria hits out at 'terrorist' US". Retrieved 19 May 2016. 
  6. ^ Solomon, Erika (Nov 17, 2012). "Syria rebels say seize airport near Iraqi border". Reuters. Retrieved Nov 17, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Profile: Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS)". BBC News. Jan 6, 2014. Retrieved Jan 13, 2014. 
  8. ^ "IS Takes Over Towns, Countryside in Oil-Rich Syria Province: NGO". Retrieved 25 October 2014. 
  9. ^ "Syria Iraq: The Islamic State militant group". BBC News. Retrieved 19 May 2016. 

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