B8648 (30 Oct 1959)


Mission B8648 began with an overflight of Aleppo and then continued south over Idlib, Hama, and Homs in western Syria.  It banked to the east to Palmyra, then crossed the Euphrates at Deir az-Zor. It flew up the Khabur River to Qamishli, then followed the road to Mosul and onward to Kirkuk. It turned south to Baghdad and then flew over towns of the southern Iraqi plain, including Diwaniya, Samawa, and Nasiriya, ultimately to Basra. The pilot banked sharply to reach Riyadh, then made the long flight back to the Baghdad area. The plane flew up the Euphrates, then deep into the jazira before returning down the border between Iraq and Syria. After a brief detour to a military facility in the steppe, it returned to the Euphrates and followed it upstream as far as Raqqa. After another detour into the steppe, the plane turned to the bend in the Euphrates and then west to Aleppo and back to Adana.

Mission B8648 provides excellent coverage of major Middle Eastern cities but also some of the most important archaeological sites of the Near East, including Hamoukar and Tell Leilan in northeastern Syria; Nineveh and Nimrud in northern Iraq; and Kish and Ur in southern Iraq.

For data see: Ur, Jason; Hammer, Emily, 2018, "Spatial Index of U2 Aerial Photography of the Middle East, 1958-1960", https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/VD74QX, Harvard Dataverse, V1.