Dayr az Zawr (dĕr ăz zôr) [key] or Deir ez Zor –ĕz–, town (1994 est. pop. 133,000), capital of Dayr az Zawr governorate, E Syria, on the Euphrates River. It is a prosperous farming town, with cattle-breeding and an agricultural school. It is also a hub for transdesert travel and has an airport. Salt rock mines are nearby. The modern town was built by the Ottoman Empire in 1867. France occupied Dayr az Zawr in 1921 and made it the seat of a large garrison. In 1946 it became part of independent Syria. It is a cultural center and has a university. Another spelling of the town's name is Dayr al-Zur.