Al-Gharraf River

  (Redirected from Shatt al-Hayy)

Coordinates: 32°25′30″N 45°51′00″E / 32.425°N 45.85°E / 32.425; 45.85

Bridge over the Gharraf Canal at Qalat Sukkar

The Gharraf Canal, Shaṭṭ al-Ḥayy (Arabic: شط الحي), also known as Shaṭṭ al-Gharrāf (Arabic: شط الغرّاف) or the Hai river, is an ancient canal in Iraq that connects the Tigris at Kut al Amara with the Euphrates east of Nasiryah. As an Ottoman position lay along the canal, it was one of the objectives of intense military action during the First World War during the siege of Kut (December 1915 to April 1916). The Turks surrounded and besieged General Townsend's British Empire forces which occupied Kut. The Shatt al-Hayy was picked by the Ottoman Army as an advantage point as part of that siege. The Turks attacked a British force commanded by General Booking at Al-Gharraf River (Shatt al-Hai) on 7 February 1916[1] The Battle of Hanna, took place nearby in January 1916 when the Turks repelled a British attack. The Battle of Dujaila, also took place east of the Al-Gharraf in March 1916 with a similar result. These battles were between the forces of the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) and those of the British Empire (including many Indian troops.) In both of these battles the Anglo-Indian relief force were trying to relieve the British forces in the city of Kut. One of the reasons the British had decided to defend Kut was that the canal was considered as a possible route for the Turks or the Anglo-Indian Force to transport troops between the Tigris and Euphrates and vice versa.[2] By 20 May 1916 the British occupied the right (south) bank of the Tigris as far west as the Al-Gharraf, clearing it of Turkish forces, but had not yet recaptured Kut.[3] They were able to cross to the other side on 13 December 1916.[4] The Turks evacuated Kut on 24 February 1917.[5]

The book of the Fall of the Ottomans [6] is all about the different battles the Ottoman Empire took part in until defeat.

Between 1934 and 1939, the Kut Barrage was constructed in the Tigris to control the water level of the river and to provide a constant inflow of water to the Shatt al-Hayy.


  1. ^ Editor, Digital. "7 February 1916 Arab forces on Shatt-el-Hai attacked General Booking". Retrieved 2016-02-08.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  2. ^ Hart, Liddell (1934). History of the World War 1914-1918. London: faber and faber. p. 208.
  3. ^ "On this day: 20 May 1916". Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  4. ^ " On this day 13 December 1916". Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  5. ^ "On This Day - 24 February 1917". Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  6. ^ Fall of the Ottomans