The Syrian Desert, or Southeastern Desert, is a vast and sparsely populated region in southeastern Syria. It is the basin of the river Euphrates. It consists of the districts Ar-Raqqa (Arabic: الرقة), Al-Hassakeh (Arabic:الحسكة; Syrian Aramaic: ܓܨܪܛܐ; Kurdish: Hesiça), Deir az-Zur (Arabic: دير الزور) and parts of the provinces of Muḥafaẓat Ḥimṣ (Arabic: مُحافظة حمص), Muḥāfaẓat Ḥamāh (Arabic: محافظة حماة) and Rif Dimashq (Arabic: ریف دمشق).
Large and sparsely populated, the Syrian Desert is home to numerous ruins of former civilizations. Cities are clustered along the Euphrates River with Deir-az-Zur being the largest.
- 1 Deir-az-Zur — a desert town on the Euphrates River bank
- 2 Raqqa — Midsized city along the Euphrates, best known for serving as the headquarters of ISIS between 2014 and 2017.
In the province of Al-Hassakeh there are a lot of ancient sites that show up unexpected in the desert.
- 1 Palmyra — magnificent ruins of a Roman city, in the middle of the desert. It can be considered the main attraction in Syria. Large parts this irreplaceable heritage were deliberately blown up by ISIS during armed conflict in 2015.
- 2 Dura-Europos — Ruins of a Hellenistic, Parthian and Roman border city built on an escarpment 90 metres (300 feet) above the right bank of the Euphrates River.
- 3 Mari — Remains of an ancient Semitic city.
- 4 Resafa — Archaeological site of the Byzantine city of Sergiopolis
- 5 Qasr al-Hayr al-Sharqi — A castle (qasr) in the middle of the Syrian Desert, built by the Umayyad caliph Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik in 728-29 CE.
- 6 Citadel of al-Rahba — Ruins of a medieval Arab–Islamic fortress
- 7 Halabiye — Ruins of ancient city known as Zenobia
See the warning in Syria.