Hajin (Arabic: هجين, also spelled Hajeen) is a small city in eastern Syria, administratively part of the Deir ez-Zor Governorate, located along the Euphrates River, south of Deir ez-Zor. Nearby localities include al-Abbas to the west, al-Ramadi to the south and Gharanij to the north. According to the Syria Central Bureau of Statistics, Hajin had a population of 37,935 in the 2004 census. It is the administrative center of a nahiyah ("subdistrict") of the Abu Kamal District. The Hajin subdistrict consists of four towns which had a collective population of 97,970 in 2004.[1] The al-Shaitat tribe is the largest tribe in the area.[2] Beginning in 2017 and throughout most of 2018, Hajin served as the headquarters and de facto capital of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorist organization. The town was captured by the majority-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces on 14 December 2018 after a week and a half of heavy clashes and intense airstrikes by a United States-led Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve international Coalition.[3]


Coordinates: 34°41′22″N 40°49′51″E
Country Syria
GovernorateDeir ez-Zor Governorate
DistrictAbu Kamal District
 (2004 census)[1]
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
  Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)


In 1940 the anthropologist Henry Field identified Hajin as the location of the tribal confederation Al Bu Hardan under a chief named Manawakh al Khalil and he denoted them as charid owners.[4] A charid is described by Field as being a device used to pull water up steep banks under the labor of livestock so that it can be used for irrigation.[4]

Syrian Civil War

The city came under the occupation of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in 2014 during the Syrian Civil War. In late November 2017, Hajin became ISIL's de facto capital city after they lost their Raqqa, Mayadin, Al-Qa'im, and Abu Kamal strongholds at the hands of the Syrian government, Iraq, and Kurdish-led forces respectively.[5]

On December 28, 2017 the Syrian Democratic Forces reached the city of Hajin and began a campaign to remove ISIL.[6][7] This action was a part of the SDF's Operation Cizire Storm. In 2018, Iraqi intelligence and some experts believed that ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was hiding in Hajin, due to the concentration of ISIL forces and leadership in the city, even though there has not yet been any direct evidence that al-Baghdadi himself was present there.[5] In March 2018, the SDF paused the campaign against Hajin in order to defend Afrin from the invading Turkish Army, but the operation resumed by 24 April 2018.[8] On June 22, 2018, coalition forces led by the U.S. dropped leaflets on Hajin and in the Abu Khater area.[9] On September 10, 2018, the SDF launched an offensive to take Hajin and its surrounding area. One news report estimated that around 4,000 ISIL fighters were defending the city,[10] though other reports put the number of ISIL fighters between 1,500 and 2,500.[11] On August 22, 2018 the Islamic State attempted a counterattack to break the siege of Hajin but was repelled.[12] On September 11, 2018 the SDF advanced on Hajin with US-coalition support.[11] On October 31, 2018 the SDF suspended its operation in Deir ez-Zor, including their efforts against ISIL in Hajin, as a response to Turkish attacks against SDF-held areas in northern Syria.[13] On December 4, 2018, after resuming their offensive against Hajin the SDF entered the town and started their battle against ISIL for control of the city. On 14 December 2018, the SDF spokeswoman Lilwa al-Abdallah said that the military operations are ongoing to fully end ISIL and soon, we will celebrate the full liberation of Hajin. It said small pockets of ISIL resistance will be suppressed in the next two days.[14] Hajin was captured in December 2018.[15]


  1. General Census of Population and Housing 2004. Syria Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). Deir az-Zawr Governorate. (in Arabic)
  2. Kajjo, Sirwan (December 4, 2018). "IS Clings to Last Stronghold in Eastern Syria". Voice of America. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  3. "U.S.-backed fighters in Syria capture last town held by ISIS". 14 December 2018.
  4. Field, Henry (1940). The Anthropology of Iraq. The Upper Euphrates. Chicago Field Museum. p. 94.
  5. Bussoletti, Francesco (29 June 2018). "Syria, the Isis pockets of resistance at Deir Ezzor are reduced to two". Difesa & Sicurezza. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  6. "SDF fighters reach Hajin town in Deir ez-Zor countryside". ANF News. 28 December 2017. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  7. "SDF Advances On ISIS Positions North Of Hajin Town". SouthFront. 4 January 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  8. "Syria SDF return to Deir ez-Zor front with ISIS: coalition". Rudaw. 24 April 2018. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  9. "7 civilians killed in U.S.-led airstrikes on IS-held town in eastern Syria". xinhua.net. 23 June 2018. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  10. "Syria conflict: After series of calamitous defeats, is Isis about to lose its last town?". The Independent.
  11. Sly, Liz (September 11, 2018). "U.S.-backed forces launch what could be the last major battle against ISIS in Syria". Washington Post.
  12. "Syria, Isis tries in vain to counterattack the SDF and the SAA at Deir Ezzor". Difesa & Sicurezza. August 22, 2018. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
  13. "SDF suspends Deir ez-Zor operation due to Turkish attacks". ANF News. October 31, 2018. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  14. "Syria Daily: Kurds-Led SDF Close to Taking Last Key ISIS Town". EA Worldview. 2018-12-15. Retrieved 2018-12-15.
  15. "UK hit ISIS with 10 airstrikes during Christmas period - The National".
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