Anciently the country on both sides of the Euphrates was habitable as far as the river Khabur; at the present time it is all desert from Birejik downward, the camping ground of Bedouin Arabs, the great tribe of Anazeh occupying esh-Sham, the right bank, and the Shammar the left bank, Mesopotamia of the Romans, now called elJezireh or the island.
The only riverain towns of any importance on this stretch of the river to-day are Samsat, Birejik, Deir, `Ana and Hit.
Past Khalfat (ferry) to Birejik or Bir, the ancient Birtha, where it is only 1 io m.
From Birejik the river runs sluggishly, first a little to the east, then a little to the west of south, over a sandy or pebbly bed, past Jerablus (?
Chesney was sent out at the head of an expedition with instructions to transport two steamers from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates, and, after putting them together at Birejik, to attempt the descent of the river to the sea.
Several Hittite objects sent from Birejik and Aintab to Europe probably came from Jerablus, others from Tell Bashar on the Sajur.
Such are Birejik, Jerablus, Tell Ahmar, IKa1 `at en-Najm, Balls, Karkisiya (Qargisiya, Circesium), on the Euphrates; Kuyunjik, Nimrud on the Tigris; Khorsabad on a small tributary; `Arban, Tell Khalaf, on the Khabur.
3 This is seen in the Greek names which now appear: such are Seleucia opposite Samosata, Apamea (= Birejik) opposite 'Zeugma, Hierapolis (= Membij), Europos, Nicatoris, Amphipolis (= Thapsacus, or near it), Nicephorium (er-Rakka,) Zenodotium (stormed by Crassus), all on or by the Euphrates; Edessa (q.v.) on the upper waters of the Belikh, Ichnae (perhaps Khnes, above the junction of the Qaramuch with the Belikh).
The language is in most parts Arabic; but Turkish is spoken in Birejik and Urfa, Kurdish and Armenian south of Diarbekr, and some Syriac in Tar `Abdin.
This road proceeds east to the great crossing of Euphrates at Birejik, and thus Aintab lies on the highway between N.