1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Deir

DEIR, or Deir Ez-Zor, a town of Asiatic Turkey, on the right bank of the Euphrates, 271/2 m. above its junction with the Khabor, lat. 35° 20′ N., long. 40° 12′ E. Pop. 8000 and upward, about one-tenth Christians; except in the official classes, there are no Turks. It is the capital and the only considerable town of the Zor sanjak, formed in 1857, which includes Ras el-ʽAin on the north and Palmyra on the south, with a total area of 32,820 sq. m., chiefly desert, and an estimated population of 100,000, mostly Arab nomads. Deir itself is a thrifty and rising town, having considerable traffic; it is singularly European in appearance, with macadamized streets and a public garden. The name Deir means monastery, but there is no other trace or tradition of the occupation of the site before the 14th century, and until it became the capital of the sanjak it was an insignificant village. It is an important centre for the control of the Bedouin Arabs, and has a garrison of about 1000 troops, including a special corps of mule-riders. It is also a road centre, the roads from the Mediterranean to Bagdad by way of Aleppo and Damascus respectively meeting here. A road also leads northward, by Sinjar, to Mosul, crossing the river on a stone bridge, built in 1897, the only permanent bridge over the Euphrates south of Asia Minor.  (J. P. Pe.)