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Nassiriya

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Nassiriya (also spelled Nasiriya; In Arabic Al-Nassiriya) is a city in Iraq. It is on the Euphrates River about 225 miles southeast of Baghdad, near the ruins of the ancient city of Ur. It is the capital of the province of Dhi Qar. According to the 1987 census the city had a population of 265,937 people; the estimated population in 2003 was 560,200.

The majority of the population of Nassiriya are Shia Muslims. The city museum has a large collection of Sumerian, Assyrian, Babylonian, and Abbasid artifacts.

The city was founded in the 19th century by Sheikh Nasir Sadun. During World War I the British conquered the city, formerly controled by the Ottoman Empire, in July of 1915. Some 500 British soldiers were killed in the battle for Nassiriya, and perhaps as many Turks.

The Shia population of Nassiriya took part in the revolt against the rule of Saddam Hussain following the Gulf War in 1991. The revolt was violently subdued by the Iraqi military.

As of March 2003 Nassiriya is a battle ground in the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. Phillip Mitchell of the International Institute for Strategic Studies described Nassiriya's strategic importance to The Guardian: "Nassiriya is a major administrative headquarters and is also [Iraqi General] Majid's military district headquarters. It is a major strategic crossing point of the Euphrates. For all those reasons Nassiriya will be well defended, which will slow the Mech [invasion] down for a while." [1] (http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,919692,00)



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