Abu Kamal or Abukamal is a city in eastern Syria in the Euphrates River near the border with Iraq. It is part of Al-Jazira - the Arabic name for the region of northeastern modern-day Syria and northwestern modern-day Iraq. It is characterized as a plain, quite district from the Syrian Desert and lower-lying central Mesopotamia. The Euphrates divides Abu Kamal into two areas: Shamiyya (belongs to the Levant) and Jazira (belongs to Mesopotamia). Abu Kamal is an economically prosperous region and farming area with cattle-breeding, cereals and cotton crops. It is also home to the historical site Dura-Europos and the ancient kingdom of Mari.
During the Ottoman time, Abu Kamal was called qashla which is a Turkish word for ‘military base’. Abu kamal , the name, is a tribal name for the region. Abu Kamal means the father of Kamal but, it means the family of Kamal – which is the tribe that lives there.
During Roman times Abu Kamal was, as part of Mesopotamia, an important trading post between the Roman Empire and India. Conquered by Zenobia, it became part of the kingdom of Palmyra. During the early Islamic Empire, the administration of Jazira was often shared with that of Armenia. At the time of Mu‘awiyah (governor of Syria and the later founder of the Umayyad Caliphate), the administration of al-Jazira was included in the administration of Syria.
In the 17th century, Abu Kamal or Ebukemal was the seat of an Ottoman sanjak in the vilayet of Ar Ruha, modern Sanliurfa.
France occupied Abu Kamal together with Dair Azzour (or Deir Ez-Zor) in 1921 and made it the seat of a large garrison. In 1946 it became part of independent Syria. The region’s position at the border of Syria and Iraq has made it an important commercial as well as political center.