The district of Derik, also known as al-Malikiyah, an administratively related to Qamishli, al-Jazira region in northeastern Syria, has many villages and towns, it is located in the Syrian-Turkish-Iraqi bordering triangle. The town of Derik enjoys an important strategic location in terms of its location in the bordering triangle, at a distance of 190km from the city of Hasakah, 90km from Qamishli, and about 900 km from Damascus, the capital of Syria.
The history of the derik is relatively modern, it dates back to the first decade of the 20th century. It began as a small village named (Derik) due to an ancient monastery from the early Christian centuries, which clearly shows that, its first inhabitants were Christians. While there is another story regarding the name of the town, which says that, Derik is a Kurdish name composed of two syllables, du: which means two, and rek: which means road, i.e., two-way, in reference to the trade route which was branching in Derik into two roads, one is "Kaniya al-Askari", and the other is "Carpet Factory" road.
Derik had several historical periods, which were seen within the territory of the Ottoman State until the beginning of the 20th century. In the events of Seferberlik and the massacres committed by the Ottoman Sultanate by al-Hamidiya Brigades, most Christians in Azakh and the rest of the villages from the north were displaced to the area as it was built by the Azakhs.
Derik was predominantly Christian Azakh, where the Kurds were found in small numbers at first, but today they make up the bulk of its population.
Derik was located within the Ottoman State and belonged to the region of Ein Diwar (center of the region), after the collapse of the Ottoman State and the application of the French Mandate on Syria, the French turned it into the center of the region in 1938.
In 1957 the town was named as al-Malikiyah, due to the Syrian Colonel Adnan al-Maliki, after that a modern urban plan was put and the seize of the town was greatly expanded.
Derik has a mixed population, where it is now inhabited by Kurds, Syriacs, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Arabs and Armenians, where a field survey estimated the proportion of Kurds in the city of more than 75% of the population, and in the area of Derik as a whole about 72.4% of the population, which is equivalent to 80,000 people according to the official 2004 census.
It should be noted that, the number of the Syriac families in the city before the Syrian crisis, was about 1,200 families, but now it is only about 500 families, because of immigration.
While the Chaldeans number is about 163 families, the Armenians used to be about 150 families, but now they are only 70 families, in addition to a very small number of Assyrians, Romans and Protestants, according to Christian sources from Derik.
Churches There are many churches in Derik and its countryside as follows:
- Virgin Archaeological Church: An ancient church which was a hill of dust until the early fifties of this century, later the rubble was removed and it was restored with the preservation of its foundations and its stone tiles, its renovation was completed in 1958. - Mar Shamouni Church: The Church of St. Mar Shamouni, where the Syriacs built the first church in Derik under the name of St. Mar Shamouni in 1932 as church in Azakh. It was first constructed with timber-covered earthen stone, then it was rebuilt by cement and black stone, which was sanctified in 1945, in July 2006 it was rebuilt after being expanded in a modern style because of its old building. - St. Dodo Church: Dates back to the early seventies of the last century, the western suburb of Derik witnessed an urban activity and due to the increase of this suburb, especially since the first church (Mar Shamouni) no longer accommodates all worshipers, especially on religious days and holidays. Because of the lofty status of St. Mar Dodo in the hearts of the sons of Bazbdi in general, and of the sons of Asfas in particular, it was decided to build a church in the name of this saint in the new suburb. In 1982, the foundation stone was laid and when it was completed, it was sanctified in 1990 by the Archdiocese Archbishop Augustus Matthew. - St. Jacob's Church: The shrine of St. Mar Jacob al-Nusaibini, this shrine was built of earthy stone in 1935, above the rubble of the buildings of an unidentified village where neither its news nor its name haven't been known yet. Later, the building of the shrine was renovated of brick and cement, it was sanctified in 1970 after the completion of the renovations. - St. George Church: a Chaldean Church, where the Chaldean presence in Derik dates back to the start of the displacement of the Christian families from Turkey during World War I in 1917, escaping the massacres they were subjected to by the Ottoman Turks, from villages and cities near the northeastern borders of Syria, especially from al-Mansoriya and Jazira Botan. The present church of St. Mar Qiwarkis in Derik was built in 1961 during the reign of Archbishop Estefan Bleu, and the service of Father Zakka the monk, while the first building of the church dates back to the 1930s. - The Virgin Church of the Syriacs: An archaeological church, which is one of the oldest and most famous churches of the diocese, it was likely built in the 4th or 5th century AD, after the removal of dust and finding the foundation and the base, later the building was renovated with the preservation of its ancient archaeological form. - The Evangelical Church: When the inhabitants of Azakh and the surrounding villages began to move to Syria, as a result of the increasing persecution, the Evangelicals also moved with them. With their own efforts and limited possibilities, they built a small clay church, which was inaugurated in 1968. - Mar Shoshan Church: The Church of St. Mar Shoshan was erected in the village of al-Hakamiya, about 10km north-east of Derik. - The Virgin Church for the Armenians: Armenian Orthodox Church, where the Armenians came to the region around 1936, where they inhabited the village of Ein Diwar and then the town of Derik, where they built a small church called St. Mar Jacob al-Nusaibini, they built a new church called "Virgin Church". These churches are divided among the religious sects as follows: 6 for the Syriacs, 2 for the Chaldeans and one for the Armenians.