Location in Syria
|Coordinates: 35°1′6″N 40°27′12″E / 35.01833°N 40.45333°E|
|Occupation||Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant|
|Elevation||195 m (640 ft)|
Al-Mayadin (Arabic: الميادين/ALA-LC: al-Miyādīn) is a city in eastern Syria. It is the capital of the Mayadin District, part of the Deir ez-Zor Governorate. Al-Mayadin is located about 44 kilometers southeast of Deir ez-Zor. The Euphrates River flows through the town. In the 2004 census, the population was 44,028, making it the second most populous city in the governorate.
Al-Mayadin is the successor of the medieval town and fortress of Rahbat Malik ibn Tawk, founded by the Abbasid lord and the original town's namesake, Malik ibn Tawk. Strategically located at a crossroads on the western bank of the Euphrates and considered the key to Syria from Iraq, control of the town was highly contested by the Muslim powers and Bedouin tribes of the region. It grew to become one of the major Muslim towns of the Euphrates valley and was an administrative center.
An earthquake destroyed Rahbat Malik ibn Tawk in 1157, after which it was granted by the Zengid ruler Nur ad-Din to Asad ad-Din Shirkuh, the paternal uncle of future Ayyubid sultan, Saladin. Shirkuh relocated the fortress about four kilometers southwest of the original site. The new settlement, known as "al-Rahba al-Jadida", remained the significant center of the Euphrates region through much of the Ayyubid–Mamluk era (12th–15th centuries), and today is a ruined fortress known as "Qal'at al-Rahba". The original settlement eventually became known as "Mashhad Rahba". The latter was located at the present site of al-Mayadin.
In the early 20th century, al-Mayadin was the administrative seat of the Asharah kaza (subdistrict) of the Sanjak of Zor district and contained the residence of its qaimmaqam (governor). In a British military intelligence report from the 1900s, the town had a population of 2,000 mostly Sunni Muslims and a small minority of Christians. There was a bazaar, several shops and a mosque with a leaning minaret. According to Czech explorer Alois Musil, who visited in 1912, al-Mayadin had a garrison of twelve gendarmes, ten policemen and ten mule riders. There was a boys' primary school in the town. The population was about 2,500, consisting of roughly four hundred Muslim families, fifteen Syriac Orthodox families (mostly refugees from Mardin), and three Jewish families, living in a total of 380 houses.
Syrian Civil War
During the Syrian civil war, in late August 2012, after fights in the city, FSA took it over. The only part still in regime hands is an artillery position on a hill overlooking the city, which is being shelled from a distance. On 22 November, rebels captured the Mayadin military base. This gave the rebels control of a large amount of territory east of the base, to the Iraqi border. On 3 Jule, SOHR said that city Mayadeen, the biggest town in Deir Ezzor province, "is now under ISIL control, after Al-Nusra Front evacuated its headquarters there, and ISIL raised its banner." However, a local underground resistance movement has since developed, with attacks against ISIL checkpoints and gunmen, by moderate Sunni Muslim fighters becoming commonplace, as former rebel soldiers try to dislodge ISIL from the city. This has forced ISIL to dig a 15 km (9 mi) defensive positions around the city, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
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