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The Euphrates
Euphrates
(/juːˈfreɪtiːz/ ( listen); Sumerian: 𒌓𒄒𒉣 Buranuna, Akkadian: 𒌓𒄒𒉣 Purattu, Arabic: الفرات‎ al-Furāt, Syriac: ̇ܦܪܬ‎ Pǝrāt, Armenian: Եփրատ: Yeprat, Hebrew: פרת‎ Perat, Turkish: Fırat, Kurdish: Firat‎) is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
(the "Land between the Rivers"). Originating in eastern Turkey, the Euphrates
Euphrates
flows through Syria
Syria
and Iraq
Iraq
to join the Tigris
Tigris
in the Shatt al-Arab, which empties into the Persian Gulf.

Contents

1 Etymology 2 Course

2.1 Discharge of the Euphrates 2.2 Tributaries

3 Drainage basin 4 Natural history 5 River modifications

5.1 Environmental and social effects

6 History

6.1 Palaeolithic to Chalcolithic periods 6.2 Ancient history 6.3 Modern era

7 Economy 8 See also 9 Notes 10 References 11 External links

Etymology[edit] The Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
form Euphrátēs (Ancient Greek: Εὐφράτης, as if from Greek εὖ "good" and ϕράζω "I announce or declare") was adapted from Old Persian
Old Persian
𐎢𐎳𐎼𐎠𐎬𐎢 Ufrātu,[2] itself from Elamite 𒌑𒅁𒊏𒌅𒅖 ú-ip-ra-tu-iš. The Elamite name is ultimately derived from a name spelt in cuneiform as 𒌓𒄒𒉣 , which read as Sumerian language
Sumerian language
is "Buranuna"" and read as Akkadian language
Akkadian language
is "Purattu"; many cuneiform signs have a Sumerian pronunciation and an Akkadian
Akkadian
pronunciation, taken from a Sumerian word and an Akkadian
Akkadian
word that mean the same. In Akkadian
Akkadian
the river was called Purattu,[3] which has been perpetuated in Semitic languages (cf. Syriac P(ə)rāṯ, Arabic
Arabic
al-Furrāt) and in other nearby languages of the time (cf. Hurrian Puranti, Sabarian Uruttu). The Elamite, Akkadian, and possibly Sumerian forms are suggested to be from an unrecorded substrate language.[4] Gamkrelidze and Ivanov suggest the Proto-Sumerian *burudu "copper" (Sumerian urudu) as an origin, with an explanation that Euphrates
Euphrates
was the river by which the copper ore was transported in rafts, since Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
was the center of copper metallurgy during the period.[5] The earliest references to the Euphrates
Euphrates
come from cuneiform texts found in Shuruppak
Shuruppak
and pre-Sargonic Nippur
Nippur
in southern Iraq
Iraq
and date to the mid-3rd millennium BCE. In these texts, written in Sumerian, the Euphrates
Euphrates
is called Buranuna (logographic: UD.KIB.NUN). The name could also be written KIB.NUN.(NA) or dKIB.NUN, with the prefix "d" indicating that the river was a divinity. In Sumerian, the name of the city of Sippar
Sippar
in modern-day Iraq
Iraq
was also written UD.KIB.NUN, indicating a historically strong relationship between the city and the river. Course[edit] The Euphrates
Euphrates
is the longest river of Western Asia.[6] It emerges from the confluence of the Kara Su or Western Euphrates
Euphrates
(450 kilometres (280 mi)) and the Murat Su or Eastern Euphrates
Euphrates
(650 kilometres (400 mi)) 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) upstream from the town of Keban in southeastern Turkey.[7] Daoudy and Frenken put the length of the Euphrates
Euphrates
from the source of the Murat River
Murat River
to the confluence with the Tigris
Tigris
at 3,000 kilometres (1,900 mi), of which 1,230 kilometres (760 mi) is in Turkey, 710 kilometres (440 mi) in Syria
Syria
and 1,060 kilometres (660 mi) in Iraq.[8][9] The same figures are given by Isaev and Mikhailova.[10] The length of the Shatt al-Arab, which connects the Euphrates
Euphrates
and the Tigris
Tigris
with the Persian Gulf, is given by various sources as 145–195 kilometres (90–121 mi).[11] Both the Kara Su and the Murat Su rise northwest from Lake Van
Lake Van
at elevations of 3,290 metres (10,790 ft) and 3,520 metres (11,550 ft) amsl, respectively.[12] At the location of the Keban Dam, the two rivers, now combined into the Euphrates, have dropped to an elevation of 693 metres (2,274 ft) amsl. From Keban to the Syrian–Turkish border, the river drops another 368 metres (1,207 ft) over a distance of less than 600 kilometres (370 mi). Once the Euphrates
Euphrates
enters the Upper Mesopotamian plains, its grade drops significantly; within Syria
Syria
the river falls 163 metres (535 ft) while over the last stretch between Hīt
Hīt
and the Shatt al-Arab
Shatt al-Arab
the river drops only 55 metres (180 ft).[7][13] Discharge of the Euphrates[edit] The Euphrates
Euphrates
receives most of its water in the form of rainfall and melting snow, resulting in peak volumes during the months April through May. Discharge in these two months accounts for 36 percent of the total annual discharge of the Euphrates, or even 60–70 percent according to one source, while low runoff occurs in summer and autumn.[10][14] The average natural annual flow of the Euphrates
Euphrates
has been determined from early- and mid-twentieth century records as 20.9 cubic kilometres (5.0 cu mi) at Keban, 36.6 cubic kilometres (8.8 cu mi) at Hīt
Hīt
and 21.5 cubic kilometres (5.2 cu mi) at Hindiya.[15] However, these averages mask the high inter-annual variability in discharge; at Birecik, just north of the Syro–Turkish border, annual discharges have been measured that ranged from a low volume of 15.3 cubic kilometres (3.7 cu mi) in 1961 to a high of 42.7 cubic kilometres (10.2 cu mi) in 1963.[16] The discharge regime of the Euphrates
Euphrates
has changed dramatically since the construction of the first dams in the 1970s. Data on Euphrates discharge collected after 1990 show the impact of the construction of the numerous dams in the Euphrates
Euphrates
and of the increased withdrawal of water for irrigation. Average discharge at Hīt
Hīt
after 1990 has dropped to 356 cubic metres (12,600 cu ft) per second (11.2 cubic kilometres (2.7 cu mi) per year). The seasonal variability has equally changed. The pre-1990 peak volume recorded at Hīt
Hīt
was 7,510 cubic metres (265,000 cu ft) per second, while after 1990 it is only 2,514 cubic metres (88,800 cu ft) per second. The minimum volume at Hīt
Hīt
remained relatively unchanged, rising from 55 cubic metres (1,900 cu ft) per second before 1990 to 58 cubic metres (2,000 cu ft) per second afterward.[17][18] Tributaries[edit]

View of the Murat River

In Syria, three rivers add their water to the Euphrates; the Sajur, the Balikh and the Khabur. These rivers rise in the foothills of the Taurus Mountains
Taurus Mountains
along the Syro–Turkish border and add comparatively little water to the Euphrates. The Sajur is the smallest of these tributaries; emerging from two streams near Gaziantep
Gaziantep
and draining the plain around Manbij
Manbij
before emptying into the reservoir of the Tishrin Dam. The Balikh receives most of its water from a karstic spring near 'Ayn al-'Arus and flows due south until it reaches the Euphrates
Euphrates
at the city of Raqqa. In terms of length, drainage basin and discharge, the Khabur is the largest of these three. Its main karstic springs are located around Ra's al-'Ayn, from where the Khabur flows southeast past Al-Hasakah, where the river turns south and drains into the Euphrates
Euphrates
near Busayrah. Once the Euphrates
Euphrates
enters Iraq, there are no more natural tributaries to the Euphrates, although canals connecting the Euphrates
Euphrates
basin with the Tigris
Tigris
basin exist.[19][20]

Name Length Watershed size Discharge Bank

Kara Su 450 km (280 mi) 22,000 km2 (8,500 sq mi)

Confluence

Murat River 650 km (400 mi) 40,000 km2 (15,000 sq mi)

Confluence

Sajur River 108 km (67 mi) 2,042 km2 (788 sq mi) 4.1 m3/s (145 cu ft/s) Right

Balikh River 100 km (62 mi) 14,400 km2 (5,600 sq mi) 6 m3/s (212 cu ft/s) Left

Khabur River 486 km (302 mi) 37,081 km2 (14,317 sq mi) 45 m3/s (1,600 cu ft/s) Left

Drainage basin[edit]

French map from the 17th century showing the Euphrates
Euphrates
and the Tigris

Further information: Tigris– Euphrates
Euphrates
river system The drainage basins of the Kara Su and the Murat River
Murat River
cover an area of 22,000 square kilometres (8,500 sq mi) and 40,000 square kilometres (15,000 sq mi), respectively.[7] The estimates that have been made for the area of the Euphrates
Euphrates
drainage basin vary widely; from a low 233,000 square kilometres (90,000 sq mi) to a high 766,000 square kilometres (296,000 sq mi).[10] Recent estimates put the basin area at 388,000 square kilometres (150,000 sq mi),[7] 444,000 square kilometres (171,000 sq mi)[8][21] and 579,314 square kilometres (223,674 sq mi).[22] The greater part of the Euphrates
Euphrates
basin is located in Turkey, Syria, and Iraq. According to both Daoudy and Frenken, Turkey's share is 28 percent, Syria's is 17 percent and that of Iraq
Iraq
is 40 percent.[8][9] Isaev and Mikhailova estimate the percentages of the drainage basin lying within Turkey, Syria
Syria
and Iraq at 33, 20 and 47 percent respectively.[10] Some sources estimate that approximately 15 percent of the drainage basin is located within Saudi Arabia, while a small part falls inside the borders of Kuwait.[8][9] Finally, some sources also include Jordan
Jordan
in the drainage basin of the Euphrates; a small part of the eastern desert (220 square kilometres (85 sq mi)) drains toward the east rather than to the west.[10][23] Natural history[edit] See also: Mesopotamian Marshes

Rafetus euphraticus

The Euphrates
Euphrates
flows through a number of distinct vegetation zones. Although millennia-long human occupation in most parts of the Euphrates
Euphrates
basin has significantly degraded the landscape, patches of original vegetation remain. The steady drop in annual rainfall from the sources of the Euphrates
Euphrates
toward the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
is a strong determinant for the vegetation that can be supported. In its upper reaches the Euphrates
Euphrates
flows through the mountains of Southeast Turkey and their southern foothills which support a xeric woodland. Plant species in the moister parts of this zone include various oaks, pistachio trees, and Rosaceae
Rosaceae
(rose/plum family). The drier parts of the xeric woodland zone supports less dense oak forest and Rosaceae. Here can also be found the wild variants of many cereals, including einkorn wheat, emmer wheat, oat and rye.[24] South of this zone lies a zone of mixed woodland-steppe vegetation. Between Raqqa
Raqqa
and the Syro–Iraqi border the Euphrates
Euphrates
flows through a steppe landscape. This steppe is characterised by white wormwood (Artemisia herba-alba) and Chenopodiaceae. Throughout history, this zone has been heavily overgrazed due to the practicing of sheep and goat pastoralism by its inhabitants.[25] Southeast of the border between Syria
Syria
and Iraq
Iraq
starts true desert. This zone supports either no vegetation at all or small pockets of Chenopodiaceae
Chenopodiaceae
or Poa
Poa
sinaica. Although today nothing of it survives due to human interference, research suggests that the Euphrates
Euphrates
Valley would have supported a riverine forest. Species characteristic of this type of forest include the Oriental plane, the Euphrates
Euphrates
poplar, the tamarisk, the ash and various wetland plants.[26] Among the fish species in the Tigris– Euphrates
Euphrates
basin, the family of the Cyprinidae
Cyprinidae
are the most common, with 34 species out of 52 in total.[27] Among the Cyprinids, the mangar has good sport fishing qualities, leading the British to nickname it " Tigris
Tigris
salmon." The Rafetus euphraticus
Rafetus euphraticus
is an endangered soft-shelled turtle that is limited to the Tigris– Euphrates
Euphrates
river system.[28][29] The Neo-Assyrian
Neo-Assyrian
palace reliefs from the 1st millennium BCE depict lion and bull hunts in fertile landscapes.[30] Sixteenth to nineteenth century European travellers in the Syrian Euphrates
Euphrates
basin reported on an abundance of animals living in the area, many of which have become rare or even extinct. Species like gazelle, onager and the now-extinct Arabian ostrich
Arabian ostrich
lived in the steppe bordering the Euphrates
Euphrates
valley, while the valley itself was home to the wild boar. Carnivorous species include the gray wolf, the golden jackal, the red fox, the leopard and the lion. The Syrian brown bear
Syrian brown bear
can be found in the mountains of Southeast Turkey. The presence of European beaver
European beaver
has been attested in the bone assemblage of the prehistoric site of Abu Hureyra
Abu Hureyra
in Syria, but the beaver has never been sighted in historical times.[31] River modifications[edit] Main articles: Dams in Iraq, Tabqa Dam, and Southeastern Anatolia Project

Map (in French) showing the locations of dams and barrages built in the Syro–Turkish part of the Euphrates
Euphrates
basin

The Hindiya
Hindiya
Barrage on the Iraqi Euphrates, based on plans by British civil engineer William Willcocks
William Willcocks
and finished in 1913, was the first modern water diversion structure built in the Tigris– Euphrates
Euphrates
river system.[32] The Hindiya
Hindiya
Barrage was followed in the 1950s by the Ramadi
Ramadi
Barrage and the nearby Abu Dibbis Regulator, which serve to regulate the flow regime of the Euphrates
Euphrates
and to discharge excess flood water into the depression that is now Lake Habbaniyah. Iraq's largest dam on the Euphrates
Euphrates
is the Haditha
Haditha
Dam; a 9-kilometre-long (5.6 mi) earth-fill dam creating Lake Qadisiyah.[33] Syria
Syria
and Turkey
Turkey
built their first dams in the Euphrates
Euphrates
in the 1970s. The Tabqa Dam in Syria
Syria
was completed in 1973 while Turkey
Turkey
finished the Keban Dam, a prelude to the immense Southeastern Anatolia Project, in 1974. Since then, Syria
Syria
has built two more dams in the Euphrates, the Baath Dam and the Tishrin Dam, and plans to build a fourth dam – the Halabiye
Halabiye
Dam – between Raqqa
Raqqa
and Deir ez-Zor.[34] The Tabqa Dam
Tabqa Dam
is Syria's largest dam and its reservoir (Lake Assad) is an important source of irrigation and drinking water. It was planned that 640,000 hectares (2,500 sq mi) should be irrigated from Lake Assad, but in 2000 only 100,000–124,000 hectares (390–480 sq mi) had been realized.[35][36] Syria
Syria
also built three smaller dams on the Khabur and its tributaries.[37] With the implementation of the Southeastern Anatolia Project
Southeastern Anatolia Project
(Turkish: Güneydoğu Anadolu Projesi, or GAP) in the 1970s, Turkey
Turkey
launched an ambitious plan to harness the waters of the Tigris
Tigris
and the Euphrates for irrigation and hydroelectricity production and provide an economic stimulus to its southeastern provinces.[38] GAP affects a total area of 75,000 square kilometres (29,000 sq mi) and approximately 7 million people; representing about 10 percent of Turkey's total surface area and population, respectively. When completed, GAP will consist of 22 dams – including the Keban Dam
Keban Dam
– and 19 power plants and provide irrigation water to 1,700,000 hectares (6,600 sq mi) of agricultural land, which is about 20 percent of the irrigable land in Turkey.[39] C. 910,000 hectares (3,500 sq mi) of this irrigated land is located in the Euphrates
Euphrates
basin.[40] By far the largest dam in GAP is the Atatürk Dam, located c. 55 kilometres (34 mi) northwest of Şanlıurfa. This 184-metre-high (604 ft) and 1,820-metre-long (5,970 ft) dam was completed in 1992; thereby creating a reservoir that is the third-largest lake in Turkey. With a maximum capacity of 48.7 cubic kilometres (11.7 cu mi), the Atatürk Dam
Atatürk Dam
reservoir is large enough to hold the entire annual discharge of the Euphrates.[41] Completion of GAP was scheduled for 2010 but has been delayed because the World Bank
World Bank
has withheld funding due to the lack of an official agreement on water sharing between Turkey
Turkey
and the downstream states on the Euphrates
Euphrates
and the Tigris.[42] Apart from barrages and dams, Iraq
Iraq
has also created an intricate network of canals connecting the Euphrates
Euphrates
with Lake Habbaniyah, Lake Tharthar, and Abu Dibbis reservoir; all of which can be used to store excess floodwater. Via the Shatt al-Hayy, the Euphrates
Euphrates
is connected with the Tigris. The largest canal in this network is the Main Outfall Drain or so-called "Third River;" constructed between 1953 and 1992. This 565-kilometre-long (351 mi) canal is intended to drain the area between the Euphrates
Euphrates
and the Tigris
Tigris
south of Baghdad
Baghdad
to prevent soil salinization from irrigation. It also allows large freight barges to navigate up to Baghdad.[43][44][45] Environmental and social effects[edit] See also: Environmental impact of reservoirs

Keban Dam
Keban Dam
in Turkey, the first dam on the Euphrates
Euphrates
after it emerges from the confluence of the Kara Su and the Murat Su

Qal'at Ja'bar
Qal'at Ja'bar
in Syria, once perched on a hilltop overlooking the Euphrates
Euphrates
valley but now turned into an island by the flooding of Lake Assad

The construction of the dams and irrigation schemes on the Euphrates has had a significant impact on the environment and society of each riparian country. The dams constructed as part of GAP – in both the Euphrates
Euphrates
and the Tigris
Tigris
basins – have affected 382 villages and almost 200,000 people have been resettled elsewhere. The largest number of people was displaced by the building of the Atatürk Dam, which alone affected 55,300 people.[46] A survey among those who were displaced showed that the majority were unhappy with their new situation and that the compensation they had received was considered insufficient.[47] The flooding of Lake Assad
Lake Assad
led to the forced displacement of c. 4,000 families, who were resettled in other parts of northern Syria
Syria
as part of a now abandoned plan to create an "Arab belt" along the borders with Turkey
Turkey
and Iraq.[48][49][50] Apart from the changes in the discharge regime of the river, the numerous dams and irrigation projects have also had other effects on the environment. The creation of reservoirs with large surfaces in countries with high average temperatures has led to increased evaporation; thereby reducing the total amount of water that is available for human use. Annual evaporation from reservoirs has been estimated at 2 cubic kilometres (0.48 cu mi) in Turkey, 1 cubic kilometre (0.24 cu mi) in Syria
Syria
and 5 cubic kilometres (1.2 cu mi) in Iraq.[51] Water quality in the Iraqi Euphrates
Euphrates
is low because irrigation water tapped in Turkey
Turkey
and Syria flows back into the river, together with dissolved fertilizer chemicals used on the fields.[52] The salinity of Euphrates
Euphrates
water in Iraq
Iraq
has increased as a result of upstream dam construction, leading to lower suitability as drinking water.[53] The many dams and irrigation schemes, and the associated large-scale water abstraction, have also had a detrimental effect on the ecologically already fragile Mesopotamian Marshes
Mesopotamian Marshes
and on freshwater fish habitats in Iraq.[54][55] The inundation of large parts of the Euphrates
Euphrates
valley, especially in Turkey
Turkey
and Syria, has led to the flooding of many archaeological sites and other places of cultural significance.[56] Although concerted efforts have been made to record or save as much of the endangered cultural heritage as possible, many sites are probably lost forever. The combined GAP projects on the Turkish Euphrates
Euphrates
have led to major international efforts to document the archaeological and cultural heritage of the endangered parts of the valley. Especially the flooding of Zeugma with its unique Roman mosaics by the reservoir of the Birecik
Birecik
Dam has generated much controversy in both the Turkish and international press.[57][58] The construction of the Tabqa Dam
Tabqa Dam
in Syria
Syria
led to a large international campaign coordinated by UNESCO
UNESCO
to document the heritage that would disappear under the waters of Lake Assad. Archaeologists from numerous countries excavated sites ranging in date from the Natufian to the Abbasid period, and two minarets were dismantled and rebuilt outside the flood zone. Important sites that have been flooded or affected by the rising waters of Lake Assad include Mureybet, Emar
Emar
and Abu Hureyra.[59] A similar international effort was made when the Tishrin Dam
Tishrin Dam
was constructed, which led, among others, to the flooding of the important Pre-Pottery Neolithic B
Pre-Pottery Neolithic B
site of Jerf el-Ahmar.[60] An archaeological survey and rescue excavations were also carried out in the area flooded by Lake Qadisiya in Iraq.[61] Parts of the flooded area have recently become accessible again due to the drying up of the lake, resulting not only in new possibilities for archaeologists to do more research, but also providing opportunities for looting, which has been rampant elsewhere in Iraq
Iraq
in the wake of the 2003 invasion.[62] History[edit] Further information: History of Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
and History of Iraq

A fishing boat in the Euphrates
Euphrates
Southern Iraq

Palaeolithic to Chalcolithic periods[edit] The early occupation of the Euphrates
Euphrates
basin was limited to its upper reaches; that is, the area that is popularly known as the Fertile Crescent. Acheulean
Acheulean
stone artifacts have been found in the Sajur basin and in the El Kowm oasis in the central Syrian steppe; the latter together with remains of Homo erectus
Homo erectus
that were dated to 450,000 years old.[63][64] In the Taurus Mountains
Taurus Mountains
and the upper part of the Syrian Euphrates
Euphrates
valley, early permanent villages such as Abu Hureyra
Abu Hureyra
– at first occupied by hunter-gatherers but later by some of the earliest farmers, Jerf el-Ahmar, Mureybet
Mureybet
and Nevalı Çori
Nevalı Çori
became established from the eleventh millennium BCE onward.[65] In the absence of irrigation, these early farming communities were limited to areas where rainfed agriculture was possible, that is, the upper parts of the Syrian Euphrates
Euphrates
as well as Turkey.[66] Late Neolithic villages, characterized by the introduction of pottery in the early 7th millennium BCE, are known throughout this area.[67] Occupation of lower Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
started in the 6th millennium and is generally associated with the introduction of irrigation, as rainfall in this area is insufficient for dry agriculture. Evidence for irrigation has been found at several sites dating to this period, including Tell es-Sawwan.[68] During the 5th millennium BCE, or late Ubaid period, northeastern Syria
Syria
was dotted by small villages, although some of them grew to a size of over 10 hectares (25 acres).[69] In Iraq, sites like Eridu
Eridu
and Ur were already occupied during the Ubaid period.[70] Clay boat models found at Tell Mashnaqa
Tell Mashnaqa
along the Khabur indicate that riverine transport was already practiced during this period.[71] The Uruk
Uruk
period, roughly coinciding with the 4th millennium BCE, saw the emergence of truly urban settlements across Mesopotamia. Cities like Tell Brak and Uruk
Uruk
grew to over 100 hectares (250 acres) in size and displayed monumental architecture.[72] The spread of southern Mesopotamian pottery, architecture and sealings far into Turkey
Turkey
and Iran
Iran
has generally been interpreted as the material reflection of a widespread trade system aimed at providing the Mesopotamian cities with raw materials. Habuba Kabira
Habuba Kabira
on the Syrian Euphrates
Euphrates
is a prominent example of a settlement that is interpreted as an Uruk colony.[73][74] Ancient history[edit] During the Jemdet Nasr (3600–3100 BCE) and Early Dynastic periods (3100–2350 BCE), southern Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
experienced a growth in the number and size of settlements, suggesting strong population growth. These settlements, including Sumero-Akkadian
Sumero-Akkadian
sites like Sippar, Uruk, Adab and Kish, were organized in competing city-states.[75] Many of these cities were located along canals of the Euphrates
Euphrates
and the Tigris that have since dried up, but that can still be identified from remote sensing imagery.[76] A similar development took place in Upper Mesopotamia, Subartu
Subartu
and Assyria, although only from the mid 3rd millennium and on a smaller scale than in Lower Mesopotamia. Sites like Ebla, Mari and Tell Leilan
Tell Leilan
grew to prominence for the first time during this period.[77] Large parts of the Euphrates
Euphrates
basin were for the first time united under a single ruler during the Akkadian Empire
Akkadian Empire
(2335–2154 BC) and Ur III empires, which controlled – either directly or indirectly through vassals – large parts of modern-day Iraq
Iraq
and northeastern Syria.[78] Following their collapse, the Old Assyrian Empire (1975–1750 BCE) and Mari asserted their power over northeast Syria and northern Mesopotamia, while southern Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
was controlled by city-states like Isin, Kish and Larsa
Larsa
before their territories were absorbed by the newly emerged state of Babylonia
Babylonia
under Hammurabi
Hammurabi
in the early to mid 18th century BCE.[79] In the second half of the 2nd millennium BCE, the Euphrates
Euphrates
basin was divided between Kassite Babylon in the south and Mitanni, Assyria
Assyria
and the Hittite Empire in the north, with the Middle Assyrian Empire (1365–1020 BC) eventually eclipsing the Hittites, Mitanni
Mitanni
and Kassite Babylonians.[80] Following the end of the Middle Assyrian Empire in the late 11th century BCE, struggles broke out between Babylonia
Babylonia
and Assyria
Assyria
over the control of the Iraqi Euphrates
Euphrates
basin. The Neo-Assyrian Empire
Neo-Assyrian Empire
(935–605 BC) eventually emerged victorious out of this conflict and also succeeded in gaining control of the northern Euphrates
Euphrates
basin in the first half of the 1st millennium BCE.[81] In the centuries to come, control of the wider Euphrates
Euphrates
basin shifted from the Neo-Assyrian Empire
Neo-Assyrian Empire
(which collapsed between 612 and 599 BC) to the short lived Median Empire
Median Empire
(612–546 BC) and equally brief Neo-Babylonian Empire
Neo-Babylonian Empire
(612–539 BC) in the last years of the 7th century BC, and eventually to the Achaemenid Empire
Achaemenid Empire
(539–333 BC).[82] The Achaemenid Empire
Achaemenid Empire
was in turn overrun by Alexander the Great, who defeated the last king Darius III and died in Babylon in 323 BCE.[83] Subsequent to this, the region came under the control of the Seleucid Empire (312–150 BC), Parthian Empire
Parthian Empire
(150–226 AD) (during which several Neo-Assyrian
Neo-Assyrian
states such as Adiabene
Adiabene
came to rule certain regions of the Euphrates), and was fought over by the Roman Empire, its succeeding Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
and the Sassanid Empire
Sassanid Empire
(226–638 AD), until the Islamic conquest
Islamic conquest
of the mid 7th century AD. Modern era[edit] See also: Water politics in the Middle East

Wooden bridge carrying the Baghdad
Baghdad
Railway over the Euphrates, ca. 1900–1910

After World War I, the borders in Southwest Asia were redrawn in the Treaty of Lausanne, when the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
was partitioned. Clause 109 of the treaty stipulated that the three riparian states of the Euphrates
Euphrates
(at that time Turkey, France
France
for its Syrian mandate and the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
for its mandate of Iraq) had to reach a mutual agreement on the use of its water and on the construction of any hydraulic installation.[84] An agreement between Turkey
Turkey
and Iraq signed in 1946 required Turkey
Turkey
to report to Iraq
Iraq
on any hydraulic changes it made on the Tigris– Euphrates
Euphrates
river system, and allowed Iraq
Iraq
to construct dams on Turkish territory to manage the flow of the Euphrates.[85]

Coat of arms of the Kingdom of Iraq
Iraq
1932-1959 depicting the two rivers, the confluence Shatt al-Arab
Shatt al-Arab
and the date palm forest, which used to be the largest in the world

The river featured on the coat of arms of Iraq
Iraq
from 1932-1959.

Euphrates
Euphrates
near Kahta.

Turkey
Turkey
and Syria
Syria
completed their first dams on the Euphrates
Euphrates
– the Keban Dam
Keban Dam
and the Tabqa Dam, respectively – within one year of each other and filling of the reservoirs commenced in 1975. At the same time, the area was hit by severe drought and river flow toward Iraq was reduced from 15.3 cubic kilometres (3.7 cu mi) in 1973 to 9.4 cubic kilometres (2.3 cu mi) in 1975. This led to an international crisis during which Iraq
Iraq
threatened to bomb the Tabqa Dam. An agreement was eventually reached between Syria
Syria
and Iraq
Iraq
after intervention by Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
and the Soviet Union.[86][87] A similar crisis, although not escalating to the point of military threats, occurred in 1981 when the Keban Dam
Keban Dam
reservoir had to be refilled after it had been almost emptied to temporarily increase Turkey's hydroelectricity production.[88] In 1984, Turkey
Turkey
unilaterally declared that it would ensure a flow of at least 500 cubic metres (18,000 cu ft) per second, or 16 cubic kilometres (3.8 cu mi) per year, into Syria, and in 1987 a bilateral treaty to that effect was signed between the two countries.[89] Another bilateral agreement from 1989 between Syria
Syria
and Iraq
Iraq
settles the amount of water flowing into Iraq
Iraq
at 60 percent of the amount that Syria
Syria
receives from Turkey.[85][87][90] In 2008, Turkey, Syria
Syria
and Iraq
Iraq
instigated the Joint Trilateral Committee (JTC) on the management of the water in the Tigris– Euphrates
Euphrates
basin and on 3 September 2009 a further agreement was signed to this effect.[91] On April 15, 2014, Turkey
Turkey
began to reduce the flow of the Euphrates
Euphrates
into Syria
Syria
and Iraq. The flow was cut off completely on May 16, 2014. The Euphrates
Euphrates
now terminates at the Turkish–Syrian border.[92] This is in violation of an agreement reached in 1987 in which Turkey
Turkey
committed to releasing a minimum of 500 cubic metres (18,000 cu ft) of water per second at the Turkish–Syrian border.[93] Economy[edit]

Euphrates
Euphrates
in Iraq

Throughout history, the Euphrates
Euphrates
has been of vital importance to those living along its course. With the construction of large hydropower stations, irrigation schemes, and pipelines capable of transporting water over large distances, many more people now depend on the river for basic amenities such as electricity and drinking water than in the past. Syria's Lake Assad
Lake Assad
is the most important source of drinking water for the city of Aleppo, 75 kilometres (47 mi) to the west of the river valley.[94] The lake also supports a modest state-operated fishing industry.[95] Through a newly restored power line, the Haditha
Haditha
Dam in Iraq
Iraq
provides electricity to Baghdad.[96] See also[edit]

List of cities and towns on the Euphrates
Euphrates
River Water resources management in Syria Wildlife of Iraq Wildlife of Syria Euphrates
Euphrates
Tunnel

Notes[edit]

^ a b Hartmann 2010 ^ Negev & Gibson 2001, p. 169 ^ Woods 2005 ^ Witzel, Michael. "Early Loan Words in Western Central Asia: Substrates, Migrations and Trade Contact and Exchange in the Ancient World, ed. Victor H. Mair (Univ. of Hawaii, 2006), 5;" (PDF).  ^ Gamkrelidze, Thomas; V. Ivanov, Vjaceslav (1995), Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans: A Reconstruction and Historical Analysis of a Proto-Language and Proto-Culture, Walter de Gruyter, p. 616  ^ Zarins 1997, p. 287 ^ a b c d Iraqi Ministries of Environment, Water Resources and Municipalities and Public Works 2006a, p. 71 ^ a b c d Daoudy 2005, p. 63 ^ a b c Frenken 2009, p. 65 ^ a b c d e Isaev & Mikhailova 2009, p. 384 ^ Isaev & Mikhailova 2009, p. 388 ^ Mutin 2003, p. 2 ^ Bilen 1994, p. 100 ^ Iraqi Ministries of Environment, Water Resources and Municipalities and Public Works 2006a, p. 91 ^ Isaev & Mikhailova 2009, p. 385 ^ Kolars 1994, p. 47 ^ Isaev & Mikhailova 2009, p. 386 ^ Iraqi Ministries of Environment, Water Resources and Municipalities and Public Works 2006a, p. 94 ^ Hillel 1994, p. 95 ^ Hole & Zaitchik 2007 ^ Shahin 2007, p. 251 ^ Partow 2001, p. 4 ^ Frenken 2009, p. 63 ^ Moore, Hillman & Legge 2000, pp. 52–58 ^ Moore, Hillman & Legge 2000, pp. 63–65 ^ Moore, Hillman & Legge 2000, pp. 69–71 ^ Coad 1996 ^ Gray 1864, pp. 81–82 ^ Naval Intelligence Division 1944, pp. 203–205 ^ Thomason 2001 ^ Moore, Hillman & Legge 2000, pp. 85–91 ^ Kliot 1994, p. 117 ^ Iraqi Ministries of Environment, Water Resources and Municipalities and Public Works 2006b, pp. 20–21 ^ Jamous 2009 ^ Elhadj 2008 ^ Mutin 2003, p. 4 ^ Mutin 2003, p. 5 ^ Kolars & Mitchell 1991, p. 17 ^ Jongerden 2010, p. 138 ^ Frenken 2009, p. 62 ^ Isaev & Mikhailova 2009, pp. 383–384 ^ Jongerden 2010, p. 139 ^ Kolars 1994, p. 53 ^ Daoudy 2005, p. 127 ^ Hillel 1994, p. 100 ^ Sahan et al. 2001, p. 10 ^ Sahan et al. 2001, p. 11 ^ Anonymous 2009, p. 11 ^ McDowall 2004, p. 475 ^ Hillel 1994, p. 107 ^ Hillel 1994, p. 103 ^ Frenken 2009, p. 212 ^ Rahi & Halihan 2009 ^ Jawad 2003 ^ Muir 2009 ^ McClellan 1997 ^ Tanaka 2007 ^ Steele 2005, pp. 52–53 ^ Bounni 1979 ^ del Olmo Lete & Montero Fenollós 1999 ^ Abdul-Amir 1988 ^ Garcia-Navarro 2009 ^ Muhesen 2002, p. 102 ^ Schmid et al. 1997 ^ Sagona & Zimansky 2009, pp. 49–54 ^ Akkermans & Schwartz 2003, p. 74 ^ Akkermans & Schwartz 2003, p. 110 ^ Helbaek 1972 ^ Akkermans & Schwartz 2003, pp. 163–166 ^ Oates 1960 ^ Akkermans & Schwartz 2003, pp. 167–168 ^ Ur, Karsgaard & Oates 2007 ^ Akkermans & Schwartz 2003, p. 203 ^ van de Mieroop 2007, pp. 38–39 ^ Adams 1981 ^ Hritz & Wilkinson 2006 ^ Akkermans & Schwartz 2003, p. 233 ^ van de Mieroop 2007, p. 63 ^ van de Mieroop 2007, p. 111 ^ van de Mieroop 2007, p. 132 ^ van de Mieroop 2007, p. 241 ^ van de Mieroop 2007, p. 270 ^ van de Mieroop 2007, p. 287 ^ Treaty of peace with Turkey
Turkey
signed at Lausanne, World War I
World War I
Document Archive, retrieved 19 December 2010  ^ a b Geopolicity 2010, pp. 11–12 ^ Shapland 1997, pp. 117–118 ^ a b Kaya 1998 ^ Kolars 1994, p. 49 ^ Daoudy 2005, pp. 169–170 ^ Daoudy 2005, pp. 172 ^ Geopolicity 2010, p. 16 ^ Anjarini, Suhaib (30 May 2014). "A new Turkish aggression against Syria: Ankara suspends pumping Euphrates' water". Al Akhbar. Retrieved 20 June 2014.  ^ Eupherates of Syria
Syria
Cut Off by Turkey. YouTube. 30 May 2014.  ^ Shapland 1997, p. 110 ^ Krouma 2006 ^ O´Hara 2004, p. 3

References[edit]

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