Al-Hirak (Arabic: الحراك, Turkish: El Hirak, also spelled al-Hrak or Herak) is a small city in southern Syria, administratively belonging to the Izra' District of the Daraa Governorate. It is situated about 40 kilometers northeast of Daraa, and is surrounded by the towns of Maliha al-Gharbiyah to the east and Izra' to the northeast. In the 2004 census by the Central Bureau of Statistics, al-Hirak had a population of 20,760. Its inhabitants are predominantly Muslims.
|Coordinates: 32°45′4″N 36°18′19″E|
|Grid position||273/239; 271/239 PAL|
|Elevation||620 m (2,030 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (EET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+3 (EEST)|
In 1596 Al-Hirak appeared in the Ottoman tax registers under the name of Harak as Sarqi, being in the nahiya of Bani Malik al-Asraf in the Qada Hawran. It had an entirely Muslim population consisting of 61 households and 31 bachelors. They paid a fixed tax-rate of 40% on agricultural products, including wheat, barley, summer crops, goats and bee-hives, in addition to occasional revenues; a total of 16,000 akçe. Just to the west was al Harak al-Garbi; with a population of 17 households and 3 bachelors, also all Muslim. They also had a 40% tax-rate on agricultural products, and produced the same products. Their total tax was 3,600 akçe, and part of the income went to a waqf.
In 1838, it was noted as a place south of Al-Shaykh Maskin, and with a Muslim population. The nearby Harak al-Garbi, which was later called Deir es Sult, was noted as deserted.
Syrian civil war
During the Syrian civil war, al-Hirak has served as a base for the opposition forces of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). On March 6, 2012 the town was severely damaged during clashes between the Syrian Army and the FSA, a fighting that was described by the United Kingdom-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights as "very intense." Residential areas and the Abu Bakr al-Saddiq Mosque -serving as military base for the rebels- were reportedly hit by Syrian Army shells. During the battle, the FSA ambushed a Syrian Army armored carrier, killing five soldiers. A 15-year-old boy was reported to be killed after being allegedly shot by a government sniper. "Mosque al-Herak" is named on the Global Heritage Fund listing of damages to Syrian cultural heritage due to the military operations.
In July 2012, about 4,000 residents living in Southern neighborhood of Al-Hirak fled to neighboring cities in Syria or Jordan. On August 22, 2012, France 24 reported that the Syrian army began a campaign against Al-Hirak which led to a fierce battle. On August 24, 2012, the FSA withdrew from the town. On November 12 and 13, 2012, the town was reported having a rebel presence and shelled by the army. On May 3, 2013, it was reported that the base of the 52 mechanized brigade of the 9th Division was shelling the area of Khirbet Ghazala and Al-Hirak On June 9, 2015, the FSA captured the second largest military base in the Daraa Governorate located east of the town. On June 28, 2018, multiple locations were deserted by rebel forces in sequence: Battalion 49 Base, Alma, Al-Hirak, Battalion 279 Base, Al-Sourah.
- General Census of Population and Housing 2004. Syria Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). Daraa Governorate. (in Arabic)
- Günümüzde Suriye Türkmenleri. — Suriye’de Değişimin Ortaya Çıkardığı Toplum: Suriye Türkmenleri, p. 21 ORSAM Rapor № 83. ORSAM – Ortadoğu Türkmenleri Programı Rapor № 14. Ankara — November 2011, 33 pages.
- Smith; in Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 3, Second appendix, B, p. 151
- Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 213
- Smith; in Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 3, Second appendix, B, p. 112
- Syrian government forces 'shell rebel-held towns'. BBC News. 2012-03-06. Retrieved on 2012-03-06.
- Syrian troops shell village in assault on army defectors. The Guardian. 2012-03-06. Retrieved on 2012-03-06.
- Damage to the soul: Syria's cultural heritage in conflict (Archived August 12, 2012, at WebCite)
- "Safwat Al Zayat – Al Raqqa and large number of killed”, Al Jazeera, May 3, 2013.
- Syrian rebels capture army base in south: rebels, monitor
- https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/rebels-abandon-several-areas-in-east-daraa-as-syrian-troops-advance, AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز. 2018-06-28. Retrieved 2018-06-28.
- Hütteroth, Wolf-Dieter; Abdulfattah, Kamal (1977). Historical Geography of Palestine, Transjordan and Southern Syria in the Late 16th Century. Erlanger Geographische Arbeiten, Sonderband 5. Erlangen, Germany: Vorstand der Fränkischen Geographischen Gesellschaft. ISBN 3-920405-41-2.
- Robinson, E.; Smith, E. (1841). Biblical Researches in Palestine, Mount Sinai and Arabia Petraea: A Journal of Travels in the year 1838. 3. Boston: Crocker & Brewster.