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In the novel Absent in the Spring, Tell Abu Hamid is a small town somewhere between Aleppo and Mosul. It is the terminus of the Turkish railway. The town has a small rest house. Joan Scudamore spent several days in the town waiting for the train to Istanbul.

Tell Abu Hamid corresponds to the actual Tel Kotchek which is on the Syrian-Iraqi border and which in the 1930s was the terminus of the railway line from Istanbul. Rabia is the town on the Iraqi side of Tel Kotchek.

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