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 inhabitants of this region are wild and inhospitable and utterly beyond the control of the Turkish authorities, and navigation of the river between Korna and Suk-esh-Sheiukh is unsafe owing to the attacks of armed pirates.
29 cities of former days, there is a succession of small towns along the course of the river - Ramadiya, Feluja, Mussaib, Hillah, Diwanieh, Samawa, el-Khudr (an ancient daphne or sacred grove, 3 I° 11' 58" N., 76° 6' 9" E., the only one anywhere which preserves to this day its ancient charter of the inviolability of all life within its precincts), Nasrieh and Suk-esh-Sheiukh----by means of which the Turkish government controls the river and levies taxes on a small part of the adjacent territory.
The following identifications have been suggested: Birket Isra`il, near St Stephen's gate; a large cistern, near St Anne's church; the "Twin Pools," north of the Haram (the ancient Temple area); the Hammam esh-Shifa', or pool of healing, west of the Haram; the Virgin's fountain, south of the Haram; and the "Pool of Siloam."
From Testur on the Mejerda the fossa regia can be followed by these indications for several miles along the Jebel esh-Sheid.
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