BIREJIK (Arab. Bir; classical, Apamea-Zeugma), a town of North-West Mesopotamia, in the Aleppo vilayet, altitude 1170 ft., built on a limestone cliff 400 ft. high on the left bank of the Euphrates. Pop. about 10,000, three-quarters Moslem. It is situated at one of the most important crossings of the Euphrates, where there was, in ancient times, a bridge of boats, and is now a ferry on the road from Aleppo to Urfa, Diarbekr and Mosul. Birejik corresponds actually to Apamea, which lay opposite Zeugma, and commanded the bridge with its strong castle (Kala Beda) now much ruined. The place seems to have had a pre-Seleucid existence as Birtha, a name which revived under Roman rule (we hear of the emperor Julian resting there on his march into Mesopotamia, A.D. 363), and is preserved to this day. The ferry over an unusually deep and narrow part of the Euphrates has been used from time immemorial in the passage from North Syria to Haran (Charrae), Edessa and North Mesopotamia, and was second in importance only to that at Thapsacus, by which crossed the route to Babylon and South Mesopotamia. Birejik was the scene of an unusually cruel massacre and persecution of Armenians in 1895.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)