Aleppo was a principal city of northern Syria, located at the crossroads of great commerical routes. It lies about 60 miles east of the Mediterranean and 60 miles east of the Euphrates river.
Its Arabic name, Halab, is of ancient Semitic origin and was first mentioned in texts at the end of the 3rd millennium BC. In the 18th century BC (Middle Kingdom), it was the capital of the Amorite kingdom of Yamkhad, and subsequently was ruled by the Hittites, the Egyptians, the Mitanni, and again the Hittites in the 17th through the 14th centuries BC . It later gained some independence as a Hittite principality.