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Nāşirīyah (also transliterated as Nassiriya or Nasiriya; in Arabic ناصرية, al-Nasiriyah or an-Nasiriyah) 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 Nasiriyah are Shia Muslims. The city museum has a large collection of Sumerian, Assyrian, Babylonian, and Abbasid artifacts. The ruins of the ancient cities of Ur and Larsa are located nearly.
The city was founded in 1870 by Sheikh Nasir Sadun of the Muntafiq tribal confederation, after whom it is named. During World War I the British conquered the city, controlled at the time by the Ottoman Empire, in July 1915. Some 500 British soldiers were killed in the battle for Nasiriyah, and perhaps as many Turks.
During the 1991 Gulf War, Nasiriyah marked the furthest point to which coalition forces penetrated Iraq, with the United States 101st Airborne Division reaching the main road just outside the city. In March 1991, following the American withdrawal at the war's end, the Shia population of Nasiriyah took part in the revolt against the rule of Saddam Hussein. The revolt was violently subdued by the Iraqi military with heavy loss of life and much physical damage.
In March 2003 Nasiriyah was a battle ground in the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. Phillip Mitchell of the International Institute for Strategic Studies described Nasiriyah's strategic importance to The Guardian: "Nasiriyah 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 Nasiriyah will be well defended, which will slow the Mech [invasion] down for a while."  Heavy fighting took place between Iraqi forces and the US Marine Corps between about March 23 and March 29, but the Iraqi resistance was crushed fairly rapidly thereafter. On March 23, a US convoy was ambushed near the city, killing 11 soldiers and resulting in Private Jessica Lynch becoming the only female US prisoner of war during the conflict.
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