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Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-Sūrīyah), is a
country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social ...

country
in
Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion of the larger geographical region of Asia, as defined by some academics, UN bodies and other institutions. It is almost entirely a part of the Middle East, and includes Anat ...

Western Asia
, bordering
Lebanon Lebanon ( , ar, لُبْنَان, translit=lubnān, ), officially the Republic of Lebanon or the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part ...

Lebanon
to the southwest, the
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , on the south by , and on the east by the . The Sea has played a central role in the . Although the Mediterrane ...
to the west,
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia an ...

Turkey
to the north,
Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, کۆماری عێراق, translit=Komarî Êraq), is a country i ...

Iraq
to
the east ''The'' () is a grammatical Article (grammar), article in English language, English, denoting persons or things already mentioned, under discussion, implied or otherwise presumed familiar to listeners, readers or speakers. It is the definite art ...
,
Jordan Jordan ( ar, الأردن; tr. ' ), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,; tr. ') is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In ge ...

Jordan
to the south, and
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
to the southwest. Its
capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowercase (or more formally ''minusc ...
and largest city is
Damascus )), is an adjective which means "spacious". , motto = , image_flag = Flag of Damascus.svg , image_seal = Emblem of Damascus.svg , seal_type = Seal , m ...

Damascus
. A country of fertile plains, high mountains, and deserts, Syria is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including the majority Syrian Arabs,
Kurds Kurds ( ku, کورد ,Kurd, italic=yes, rtl=yes) or Kurdish people are an Iranian Iranian may refer to: * Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran ( fa, جمهوری اسلامی ...
,
Turkmens Turkmens ( tk, , , , ; historically the Turkmen), also known as Turkmen Turks ( tk, , ), are a Turkic ethnic group native to Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located primari ...
,
Assyrians Assyrian may refer to: * Assyria, a major Mesopotamian kingdom and empire * Assyrian people, an ethnic group indigenous to the Middle East * Assyrian Church (disambiguation) * Assyrian language (disambiguation) * SS Assyrian, SS ''Assyrian'', seve ...
,
Armenians Armenians ( hy, հայեր, ''Romanization of Armenian, hayer'' ) are an ethnic group native to the Armenian Highlands of Western Asia. Armenians constitute the main population of Armenia and the ''de facto'' independent Republic of Artsakh, A ...
,
Circassians The Circassians (also referred to as Cherkess or Adyghe; ; ) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certai ...
,
Mandaeans Mandaeans ( ar, ٱلصَّابِئَة ٱلْمَنْدَائِيُّون, aṣ-Ṣābiʾah al-Mandāʾiyūn) are an ethnoreligious group An ethnoreligious group (or ethno-religious group) is an ethnic group whose members are also unified by ...
, and
Greeks The Greeks or Hellenes (; el, Έλληνες, ''Éllines'' ) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has cer ...
. Religious groups include
Sunnis Sunni Islam () is by far the largest branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and ...
,
Christians Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of ...

Christians
,
Alawites The Alawis, or Alawites ( ar, علوية ''Alawīyah''), are a sect of Shia Islam Shia Islam or Shi'ism is one of the two main Islamic schools and branches, branches of Islam. It holds that the Prophets and messengers in Islam, Islamic ...
,
Druze Druze (; ar, درزي ' or ', plural ') are members of an Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Mi ...
,
Isma'ilis Ismāʿīlism ( ar, الإسماعيلية, ''al-ʾIsmāʿīlīyah''; fa, اسماعیلیان, ''Esmâ'īliyân'') is a branch or sub-sect of Shia Islam. The Ismāʿīlī () get their name from their acceptance of Imam Isma'il ibn Jafar, Ism ...
,
Mandaeans Mandaeans ( ar, ٱلصَّابِئَة ٱلْمَنْدَائِيُّون, aṣ-Ṣābiʾah al-Mandāʾiyūn) are an ethnoreligious group An ethnoreligious group (or ethno-religious group) is an ethnic group whose members are also unified by ...
,
Shiites Shia Islam or Shi'ism is the second largest branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life a ...
,
Salafi The Salafi movement, also called the Salafist movement, ''Salafiyyah'' and Salafism, is a reform Reform ( lat, reformo) means the improvement or amendment of what is wrong, corrupt, unsatisfactory, etc. The use of the word in this way emerges ...
s, and
Yazidis Yazidis, also written as Yezidis (, ku, ئێزیدی, ), are an endogamous Endogamy is the practice of marrying within a specific social group, caste Caste is a form of social stratification characterized by endogamy, hereditary tr ...
. Arabs are the largest ethnic group, and Sunnis are the largest religious group. Syria is a
unitary Unitary may refer to: * Unitary construction, in automotive design a common term for unibody (unitary body/chassis) construction * Lethal Unitary Chemical Agents and Munitions (Unitary), as chemical weapons opposite of Binary * Unitarianism, in Chr ...
republic A republic () is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a month ...

republic
consisting of 14 governorates and is the only country that politically espouses
Ba'athism Baathism ( ar, البعثية ''al-Bathīyah'' , from بعث ''bath'' , meaning "renaissance" or "resurrection") is an Arab nationalist ideology An ideology () is a set of belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Ph ...
. It is a member of one international organization other than the United Nations, the
Non-Aligned Movement The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is a forum of 120 developing world Image:Imf-advanced-un-least-developed-2008.svg, 450px, Example of Older Classifications by the International Monetary Fund, IMF and the United Nations, UN from 2008 A deve ...
; it was suspended from the
Arab League The Arab League ( ar, الجامعة العربية, '), formally the League of Arab States ( ar, جامعة الدول العربية, '), is a regional organization in the Arab world, which is located in Africa and Western Asia. The Arab L ...

Arab League
in November 2011 and the
Organisation of Islamic Cooperation The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC; ar, منظمة التعاون الإسلامي, Munaẓẓama at-Taʿāwun al-ʾIslāmiyy; french: Organisation de la coopération islamique), formerly the Organisation of the Islamic Conference ...
, and self-suspended from the
Union for the Mediterranean The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM; french: Union pour la Méditerranée, ar, الإتحاد من أجل المتوسط ''Al-Ittiḥād min ajl al-Mutawassaṭ'') is an intergovernmental organization An intergovernmental organization (IGO) o ...

Union for the Mediterranean
. The name "Syria" historically referred to a wider region, broadly synonymous with the
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
, and known in Arabic as ''al-Sham''. The modern state encompasses the sites of several ancient kingdoms and empires, including the
Ebla Ebla (Sumer Sumer ()The name is from '; ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land". means "native, local", ifrom ''The Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary''). Literally, "land of the native ...

Ebla
n civilization of the 3rd millennium BC.
Aleppo )), is an adjective which means "white-colored mixed with black". , motto = , image_map = , mapsize = , map_caption = , image_map1 ...

Aleppo
and the capital city
Damascus )), is an adjective which means "spacious". , motto = , image_flag = Flag of Damascus.svg , image_seal = Emblem of Damascus.svg , seal_type = Seal , m ...

Damascus
are among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. In the
Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or ex ...
ic era,
Damascus )), is an adjective which means "spacious". , motto = , image_flag = Flag of Damascus.svg , image_seal = Emblem of Damascus.svg , seal_type = Seal , m ...

Damascus
was the seat of the
Umayyad Caliphate The Umayyad Caliphate (661–750 CE; , ; ar, ٱلْخِلَافَة ٱلْأُمَوِيَّة, al-Khilāfah al-ʾUmawīyah) was the second of the four major caliphate A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state under ...
and a provincial capital of the Mamluk Sultanate in
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...
. The modern Syrian state was established in the mid-20th century after centuries of
Ottoman Ottoman is the Turkish spelling of the Arabic masculine given name Uthman (name), Uthman (Arabic: عُثْمان ''‘uthmān''). It may refer to: Governments and dynasties * Ottoman Caliphate, an Islamic caliphate from 1517 to 1924 * Ottoman Empi ...

Ottoman
rule, and after a brief period as a
French mandate The Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon (french: Mandat pour la Syrie et le Liban; ar, الانتداب الفرنسي على سوريا ولبنان ') (1923−1946) was a League of Nations mandate founded in the aftermath of the First World War ...
, the newly created state represented the largest Arab state to emerge from the formerly
Ottoman Ottoman is the Turkish spelling of the Arabic masculine given name Uthman (name), Uthman (Arabic: عُثْمان ''‘uthmān''). It may refer to: Governments and dynasties * Ottoman Caliphate, an Islamic caliphate from 1517 to 1924 * Ottoman Empi ...
-ruled
Syrian provinces
Syrian provinces
. It gained ''de jure'' independence as a
parliamentary republic A parliamentary republic is a republic A republic () is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and med ...
on 24 October 1945, when the Republic of Syria became a founding member of the United Nations, an act which legally ended the former French Mandate, although French troops did not leave the country until April 1946. The post-independence period was tumultuous, with many
military coup A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is typically authorized and maintained by a sovereign state, with its members identifiable by their distinct ...
s and coup attempts shaking the country from 1949 to 1971. In 1958, Syria entered a brief union with Egypt called the
United Arab Republic The United Arab Republic (UAR; ar, الجمهورية العربية المتحدة, al-Jumhūrīyah al-'Arabīyah al-Muttaḥidah) was a sovereign state in the Middle East from 1958 until 1971. It was initially a political union between Re ...

United Arab Republic
, which was terminated by the 1961 Syrian coup d'état. The republic was renamed as the Arab Republic of Syria in late 1961 after the December 1 constitutional referendum of that year, and was increasingly unstable until the 1963 Ba'athist coup d'état, since which the Ba'ath Party has maintained its power. Syria was under Emergency Law from 1963 to 2011, effectively suspending most constitutional protections for citizens.
Bashar al-Assad
Bashar al-Assad
has been president since 2000 and was preceded by his father
Hafez al-Assad Hafez al-Assad ', , (6 October 1930 – 10 June 2000) was a Syrian politician and military officer who served as President of Syria from 1971 to 2000. He was also Prime Minister of Syria from 1970 to 1971, as well as regional secretary o ...
, who was in office from 1971 to 2000. Throughout his rule, Syria and the ruling Ba'ath Party have been condemned and criticized for various
human rights abuses Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A speci ...
, including frequent executions of citizens and political prisoners, and massive censorship. Since March 2011, Syria has been embroiled in a
multi-sided civil war
multi-sided civil war
, with a number of countries in the region and beyond involved militarily or otherwise. As a result, a number of self-proclaimed political entities have emerged on Syrian territory, including the
Syrian opposition The Syrian opposition ( ar, المعارضة السورية ', ) is the political structure represented by the Syrian National Coalition and associated Syrian anti-government groups with certain territorial control as an Syrian Interim Governm ...
,
Rojava The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (NES), also known as Rojava, is a de facto autonomous region in northeastern Syria. It consists of self-governing Regions of North and East Syria, sub-regions in the areas of Afrin Region, ...

Rojava
,
Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) (, Romanization of Arabic, transliteration: ', "Organization for the Liberation of the Levant" or "Levant Liberation Committee"), commonly referred to as Tahrir al-Sham, is an active Salafist jihadist, Sunni Islamist ...
and
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant {{Infobox war faction , name = Islamic State , anthem = '' Dawlat al-Islam Qamat'' {{small, ("My Ummah ' ( ar, أمة ) is an Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are ...
. Syria was ranked last on the
Global Peace Index Global Peace Index (GPI) is a report produced by the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP) which measures the relative position of nations' and regions' peacefulness. The GPI ranks 172 independent states and territories (collectively accounti ...

Global Peace Index
from 2016 to 2018, making it the most violent country in the world due to the war. The conflict has killed more than 570,000 people, caused 7.6 million
internally displaced people An internally displaced person (IDP) is someone who is forced to leave their home but who remains within their country's borders. They are often referred to as refugee A refugee, generally speaking, is a displaced person who has been force ...
(July 2015
UNHCR The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is a UN agency mandated to aid and protect refugee A refugee, generally speaking, is a displaced person Forced displacement (also forced migration) is an involuntary or coerced ...

UNHCR
estimate) and over 5 million
refugees A refugee, generally speaking, is a forced displacement, displaced person who has crossed national boundaries and who cannot or is unwilling to return home due to well-founded fear of persecution.
(July 2017 registered by ''
UNHCR The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is a UN agency mandated to aid and protect refugee A refugee, generally speaking, is a displaced person Forced displacement (also forced migration) is an involuntary or coerced ...

UNHCR
''), making population assessment difficult in recent years.


Etymology

Several sources indicate that the name ''Syria'' is derived from the 8th century BC
Luwian The Luwians were a group of Anatolian peoples who lived in central, western, and southern Anatolia, in present-day Turkey, in the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. They spoke the Luwian language, an Indo-European language of the Anatolian languages, ...
term "Sura/i", and the derivative
ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
name: , ', or , ', both of which originally derived from Aššūrāyu (
Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of We ...

Assyria
) in northern
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in th ...

Mesopotamia
. However, from the
Seleucid Empire The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), off ...
(323–150 BC), this term was also applied to
The Levant The Levant () is an approximate An approximation is anything that is intentionally similar but not exactly equality (mathematics), equal to something else. Etymology and usage The word ''approximation'' is derived from Latin ''approximat ...
, and from this point the Greeks applied the term without distinction between the
Assyrians Assyrian may refer to: * Assyria, a major Mesopotamian kingdom and empire * Assyrian people, an ethnic group indigenous to the Middle East * Assyrian Church (disambiguation) * Assyrian language (disambiguation) * SS Assyrian, SS ''Assyrian'', seve ...
of Mesopotamia and
Arameans The Arameans (Old Aramaic Old Aramaic refers to the earliest stage of the Aramaic language Aramaic ( Classical Syriac: ''Arāmāyā''; Old Aramaic: ; Aramaic alphabet, Imperial Aramaic: ; Hebrew alphabet, square script ) is a language t ...
of the Levant. Mainstream modern academic opinion strongly favors the argument that the Greek word is related to the cognate , ', ultimately derived from the
AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages' ...

Akkadian
'. The Greek name appears to correspond to
Phoenician Phoenician may refer to: * Phoenicia, an ancient civilization * Phoenician alphabet * Phoenician language * List of Phoenician cities * Phoenix, Arizona See also

* Phoenix (mythology) * Phoenicia (disambiguation) {{disambiguation Language an ...
' "Assur", ' "Assyrians", recorded in the 8th century BC Çineköy inscription.Rollinger, Robert (2006). "The terms "Assyria" and "Syria" again" (PDF). Journal of Near Eastern Studies 65 (4): 284–287. doi:10.1086/511103. The area designated by the word has changed over time. Classically, Syria lies at the eastern end of the Mediterranean, between
Arabia The Arabian Peninsula (; ar, شِبْهُ الْجَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِيَّة, , "Arabian Peninsula" or , , "Island of the Arabs") is a peninsula of Western Asia, situated northeast of Africa on the Arabian Plate. At , the ...

Arabia
to the south and
Asia Minor Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of ...

Asia Minor
to the north, stretching inland to include parts of Iraq, and having an uncertain border to the northeast that
Pliny the Elder #REDIRECT Pliny the Elder #REDIRECT Pliny the Elder#REDIRECT Pliny the Elder Gaius Plinius Secundus (AD 23/2479), called Pliny the Elder (), was a Roman author, a naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organisms, includi ...

Pliny the Elder
describes as including, from west to east,
Commagene The Kingdom of Commagene ( grc, Βασίλειον τῆς Kομμαγηνῆς) was an ancient Greco-Iranian kingdom ruled by a Hellenized Hellenization (other British spelling Hellenisation) or Hellenism is the historical spread of ancient ...

Commagene
,
Sophene under Tigranes the Great. File:Map of Roman dependency of Sophene, Corduene, Commagene, and Osrhoene as of 31 BC.png, 300px, Roman dependency of Sophene (as of 31 BC) Sophene ( hy, wikt:Ծոփք, Ծոփք Dzopkh, grc, wikt:Σωφηνή, Σωφ ...

Sophene
, and
Adiabene Adiabene (from the Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ...
. By Pliny's time, however, this larger Syria had been divided into a number of provinces under the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
(but politically independent from each other):
Judaea Judea or Judaea ( or ; from he, יהודה, Standard Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of flag used for personal identification Norm, convention or requirement * Standard (metrolog ...
, later renamed Palaestina in AD 135 (the region corresponding to modern-day Israel, the Palestinian Territories, and Jordan) in the extreme southwest;
Phoenice Phoenice or Phoenike ( el, Φοινίκη) was an ancient Greek city in Epirus and capital of the Chaonians.: "To the north the Chaonians had expelled the Corcyraeans from their holdings on the mainland and built fortifications at Buthrotum, Ka ...
(established in AD 194) corresponding to modern Lebanon, Damascus and Homs regions;
Coele-Syria Coele-Syria (, also spelt Coele Syria, Coelesyria, Celesyria) alternatively Coelo-Syria or Coelosyria (; grc-gre, Κοίλη Συρία, ''Koílē Syría'', 'Hollow Syria'; lat, Cœlē Syria or ), was a region of Syria Syria ( ar, ...
(or "Hollow Syria") south of the Eleutheris river, and Iraq.


History


Ancient antiquity

Since approximately 10,000 BC, Syria was one of the centers of
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is t ...
culture (known as
Pre-Pottery Neolithic A Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) denotes the first stage of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic, in early Levantine and Anatolian Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to ...
) where agriculture and cattle breeding appeared for the first time in the world. The following Neolithic period (
PPNB Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) is part of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic The Pre-Pottery Neolithic (PPN) represents the early Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that ...
) is represented by rectangular houses of
Mureybet Mureybet ( ar, مريبط, muribit, lit=covered) is a tell, or ancient settlement mound, located on the west bank of the Euphrates The Euphrates () is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Tigris–Eu ...
culture. At the time of the pre-pottery Neolithic, people used vessels made of stone, gyps and burnt lime ( Vaisselle blanche). Finds of
obsidian Obsidian (; ) is a naturally occurring volcanic glass formed when lava extrusive rock, extruded from a volcano cools rapidly with minimal crystal growth. It is an igneous rock. Obsidian is produced from felsic lava, rich in the lighter element ...

obsidian
tools from
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
are evidences of early trade relations. Cities of
Hamoukar Hamoukar ( ar, حموكار) is a large archaeological site An archaeological site is a place (or group of physical sites) in which evidence of past activity is preserved (either prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history ...
and
Emar ) , image = View_from_the_Byzantine_Tower_at_Meskene,_ancient_Barbalissos.jpg , alt = , caption = View from the Byzantine Tower at Meskene, ancient Barbalissos , map_type = Syria , map_alt = , map_size = 200 ...
played an important role during the late Neolithic and Bronze Age.
Archaeologist Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often considered a branch of socio-cultural anthropology, but archaeologists also draw from biological, geological, ...

Archaeologist
s have demonstrated that
civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a complex society A complex society is a concept that is shared by a range of disciplines including anthropology, archaeology, history and sociology to describe a stage of social formation. The concep ...

civilization
in Syria was one of the most ancient on earth, perhaps preceded by only those of
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in th ...

Mesopotamia
. The earliest recorded indigenous civilization in the region was the Kingdom of
Ebla Ebla (Sumer Sumer ()The name is from '; ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land". means "native, local", ifrom ''The Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary''). Literally, "land of the native ...

Ebla
near present-day
Idlib Idlib ( ar, إِدْلِب, ʾIdlib, also spelt Edlib or Idleb) is a city in northwestern Syria, and is the capital of the Idlib Governorate. It has an elevation of nearly above sea level, and is southwest of Aleppo. The city was taken over by ...
, northern Syria. Ebla appears to have been founded around 3500 BC, and gradually built its fortune through trade with the
Mesopotamian Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a of situated within the , in the northern part of the . Mesopotamia occupies most of presen ...

Mesopotamian
states of
Sumer Sumer ()The name is from Akkadian language, Akkadian '; Sumerian language, Sumerian ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land". means "native, local", iĝir NATIVE (7x: Old Babylonian)from ''The ...

Sumer
,
Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of We ...

Assyria
, and Akkad, as well as with the
Hurrian The Hurrians (; Cuneiform script, cuneiform: ; transliteration: ''Ḫu-ur-ri''; also called Hari, Khurrites, Hourri, Churri, Hurri or Hurriter) were a people of the Bronze Age Ancient Near East, Near East. They spoke a Hurro-Urartian language cal ...
and Hattian peoples to the northwest, in
Asia Minor Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of ...

Asia Minor
. Gifts from
Pharaoh Pharaoh ( , ; cop, , Pǝrro) is the common title now used for the monarch A monarch is a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the conte ...

Pharaoh
s, found during excavations, confirm Ebla's contact with
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
. One of the earliest written texts from Syria is a trading agreement between Vizier
Ibrium Ibrium (24th century BC), also spelt Ebrium, was the vizier of Ebla for king Irkab-Damu Irkab-Damu (reigned c. 2340 BC), was the king ( Malikum) of the first Eblaite kingdom, whose era saw Ebla's turning into the dominant power in the Levant. D ...
of Ebla and an ambiguous kingdom called
AbarsalAbarsal was a city-state A city-state is an independent sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French ''souverain'', which is ultimately derived from the L ...
c. 2300 BC. Scholars believe the language of Ebla to be among the oldest known written
Semitic languages The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as Afrasian or Hamito-Semitic or Semito-Hamitic, is a large language family A language is a structured system of communication u ...

Semitic languages
after
AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages' ...

Akkadian
. Recent classifications of the Eblaite language have shown that it was an East Semitic language, closely related to the
Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages''. Ed. Roger D. Woodard (2004, Cambridge) Pages 218-280 ...

Akkadian language
. Ebla was weakened by a long war with
Mari Mari may refer to: Places *Mari, Paraíba, Brazil, a city *Mari, Cyprus, a village *Mari, Greece, a village, site of ancient town of Marius (Laconia), Marius *Mari, Iran (disambiguation), places in Iran *Mari, Punjab, a village and a union counci ...
, and the whole of Syria became part of the Mesopotamian
Akkadian Empire The Akkadian Empire () was the first ancient empire of Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of ...
after
Sargon of Akkad Sargon of Akkad (; akk, 𒊬𒊒𒄀 ''Šar-ru-gi''), also known as Sargon the Great, was the first ruler of the Akkadian Empire The Akkadian Empire () was the first ancient empire of Mesopotamia after the long-lived civilization of Sumer ...

Sargon of Akkad
and his grandson Naram-Sin's conquests ended Eblan domination over Syria in the first half of the 23rd century BC. By the 21st century BC,
Hurrians The Hurrians (; cuneiform: ; transliteration: ''Ḫu-ur-ri''; also called Hari, Khurrites, Hourri, Churri, Hurri or Hurriter) were a people of the Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by th ...
settled the northern east parts of Syria while the rest of the region was dominated by the
Amorite The Amorites (; Sumerian language, Sumerian 𒈥𒌅 ''MAR.TU''; Akkadian language, Akkadian ''Amurrūm'' or ''Tidnum''; Egyptian language, Egyptian ''Amar''; he, אמורי ''ʼĔmōrī''; grc, Ἀμορραῖοι) were an ancient Semitic lan ...
s. Syria was called the Land of the Amurru (Amorites) by their Assyro-Babylonian neighbors. The
Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have emerged from Common Semitic in the Early Bronze Age. It is first attested ...
language of the
Amorites The Amorites (; Sumerian 𒈥𒌅 ''MAR.TU''; AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''Th ...
is the earliest attested of the
Canaanite language The Canaanite languages, or Canaanite dialects, are one of the three subgroups of the Northwest Semitic languages, the others being Aramaic Aramaic ( Classical Syriac: ''Arāmāyā''; Old Aramaic: ; Imperial Aramaic: ; square script ) ...
s.
Mari Mari may refer to: Places *Mari, Paraíba, Brazil, a city *Mari, Cyprus, a village *Mari, Greece, a village, site of ancient town of Marius (Laconia), Marius *Mari, Iran (disambiguation), places in Iran *Mari, Punjab, a village and a union counci ...
reemerged during this period, and saw renewed prosperity until conquered by
Hammurabi Hammurabi () was the sixth king of the First Babylonian dynasty The First Babylonian Empire, or Old Babylonian Empire, is dated to BC – BC, and comes after the end of Sumerian power with the destruction of the Third Dynasty of Ur The ...

Hammurabi
of Babylon.
Ugarit Ugarit (; uga, 𐎜𐎂𐎗𐎚, ''ʼUgart''; ar, أُوغَارِيت ''Ūġārīt'' or ''Ūǧārīt''; he, אוּגָרִית ''Ugarit'') was an ancient port city in northern Syria, in the outskirts of modern Latakia, discovered by accident ...

Ugarit
also arose during this time, circa 1800 BC, close to modern
Latakia Latakia ( ar, ٱللَّاذْقِيَّة \ ٱللَّاذِقِيَّة, '; Syrian Syrians ( ar, سُورِيُّون, ''Sūriyyūn''), also known as the Syrian people ( ar, الشَّعْب السُّورِيّ, : eş''-Şa‘b es-Sūrī'' ...
.
Ugaritic Ugaritic () is an extinct Northwest Semitic language Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have emerged from Proto ...
was a Semitic language loosely related to the Canaanite languages, and developed the
Ugaritic alphabet The Ugaritic writing system is a cuneiform abjad (consonantal alphabet) used from around either the fifteenth century BCE or 1300 BCE for Ugaritic, an extinct Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language, and discovered in Ugarit ...

Ugaritic alphabet
, considered to be the world's earliest known alphabet. The Ugaritic kingdom survived until its destruction at the hands of the marauding Indo-European
Sea Peoples The Sea Peoples are a purported seafaring confederation A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign groups or states united for purposes of common action. Usually created by a treaty, confederations of ...
in the 12th century BC in what was known as the Late
Bronze Age Collapse The Late Bronze Age collapse was a transition period in a large area covering much of Southeast Europe, West Asia and North Africa North Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly ac ...
which saw similar kingdoms and states witness the same destruction at the hand of the Sea Peoples.
Yamhad Yamhad was an ancient Semitic people, Semitic kingdom centered on Aleppo, Ḥalab (Aleppo), Syria. The kingdom emerged at the end of the 19th century BC, and was ruled by the Yamhad dynasty, Yamhadite dynasty kings, who counted on both military ...
(modern
Aleppo )), is an adjective which means "white-colored mixed with black". , motto = , image_map = , mapsize = , map_caption = , image_map1 ...

Aleppo
) dominated northern Syria for two centuries, although Eastern Syria was occupied in the 19th and 18th centuries BC by the
Old Assyrian Empire The Old Assyrian Empire was the second stage of Assyrian history, covering the history of the city of Assur Aššur (; Sumerian language, Sumerian: AN.ŠAR2KI, Assyrian cuneiform: ''Aš-šurKI'', "City of God Ashur (god), Aššur"; syr, ܐܫ ...
ruled by the Amorite Dynasty of
Shamshi-Adad I Shamshi-Adad ( akk, Šamši-Adad; Amorite language, Amorite: ''Shamshi-Addu'' ), ruled 1808–1776 BC, was an Amorite conqueror who had conquered lands across much of Syria, Anatolia, and Upper Mesopotamia.Some of the Mari letters addressed to Sha ...

Shamshi-Adad I
, and by the
Babylonian Empire Babylonia () was an ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past events From c. 3500 BC until the rise of the Akkadian Empire in the 24th century BCE, Mesopotamia had been dominated by largely Sumerian cities and city states, su ...
which was founded by Amorites. Yamhad was described in the tablets of Mari as the mightiest state in the near east and as having more vassals than Hammurabi of Babylon. Yamhad imposed its authority over
Alalakh Alalakh (Hittite Hittite may refer to: * Hittites, ancient Anatolian people ** Hittite language, the earliest-attested Indo-European language ** Hittite grammar ** Hittite phonology ** Hittite cuneiform ** Hittite inscriptions ** Hittite laws ** H ...
,
Qatna Qatna (modern: ar, تل المشرفة, Tell al-Mishrifeh) was an ancient city located in Homs Governorate Homs Governorate ( ar, مُحافظة حمص / ALA-LC ALA-LC ( American Library Association - Library of Congress) is a set of standa ...
, the
Hurrians The Hurrians (; cuneiform: ; transliteration: ''Ḫu-ur-ri''; also called Hari, Khurrites, Hourri, Churri, Hurri or Hurriter) were a people of the Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by th ...
states and the Euphrates Valley down to the borders with Babylon. The army of Yamhad campaigned as far away as Dēr on the border of
Elam Elam (; Linear Elamite Linear Elamite is a Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Br ...

Elam
(modern Iran). Yamhad was conquered and destroyed, along with Ebla, by the
Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation ...
Hittites The Hittites () were an Anatolian people who played an important role in establishing first a kingdom in Kussara before 1750 BC, then the Kanesh or Nesha kingdom (c. 1750–1650 BC), and next an empire centered on Hattusa Hattusa (also ...

Hittites
from
Asia Minor Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of ...

Asia Minor
circa 1600 BC. From this time, Syria became a battle ground for various foreign empires, these being the
Hittite Empire The Hittites () were an Anatolian people who played an important role in establishing first a kingdom in Kussara before 1750 BC, then the Kanesh or Nesha kingdom (c. 1750–1650 BC), and next an empire centered on Hattusa Hattusa (also ...

Hittite Empire
,
Mitanni Mitanni (; Hittite cuneiform Hittite cuneiform is the implementation of cuneiform script Cuneiform is a logo- syllabic script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the ear ...

Mitanni
Empire,
Egyptian Empire Egyptian describes something of, from, or related to Egypt Egypt ( ; ar, مِصر ), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country spanning the North Africa, northeast corner of Africa and Western Asia, southwest cor ...
,
Middle Assyrian Empire The Middle Assyrian Empire is the period in the history of Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَ ...
, and to a lesser degree
Babylonia Babylonia () was an and based in central-southern which was part of Ancient Persia (present-day and ). A small -ruled state emerged in 1894 BCE, which contained the minor administrative town of . It was merely a small provincial town dur ...
. The Egyptians initially occupied much of the south, while the Hittites, and the Mitanni, much of the north. However, Assyria eventually gained the upper hand, destroying the Mitanni Empire and annexing huge swathes of territory previously held by the Hittites and Babylon. Around the 14th century BC, various Semitic peoples appeared in the area, such as the semi-nomadic
Suteans The Suteans (AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Worl ...
who came into an unsuccessful conflict with
Babylonia Babylonia () was an and based in central-southern which was part of Ancient Persia (present-day and ). A small -ruled state emerged in 1894 BCE, which contained the minor administrative town of . It was merely a small provincial town dur ...
to the east, and the West Semitic speaking
Arameans The Arameans (Old Aramaic Old Aramaic refers to the earliest stage of the Aramaic language Aramaic ( Classical Syriac: ''Arāmāyā''; Old Aramaic: ; Aramaic alphabet, Imperial Aramaic: ; Hebrew alphabet, square script ) is a language t ...
who subsumed the earlier Amorites. They too were subjugated by Assyria and the Hittites for centuries. The Egyptians fought the Hittites for control over western Syria; the fighting reached its zenith in 1274 BC with the
Battle of Kadesh The Battle of Kadesh or Battle of Qadesh took place between the forces of the under and the under at the city of on the , just upstream of near the modern . The battle is generally dated to 1274 BC from the , and is the earliest battle i ...
. The west remained part of the Hittite empire until its destruction c. 1200 BC, while eastern Syria largely became part of the Middle Assyrian Empire, who also annexed much of the west during the reign of
Tiglath-Pileser I Tiglath-Pileser I (; from the Hebrew language, Hebraic form of akk, , Tukultī-apil-Ešarra, "my trust is in the Ashur (god), son of Ešarra") was a Kings of Assyria, king of Assyria during the Middle Assyrian period (1114–1076 BC). According t ...
1114–1076 BC. With the destruction of the Hittites and the decline of Assyria in the late 11th century BC, the Aramean tribes gained control of much of the interior, founding states such as
Bit Bahiani Bit Baḫiani was an independent Aramean city-state kingdom (c. 1200 – 808 BC) with its capital at ''Guzana'' (modern day Tell Halaf Tell Halaf ( ar, تل حلف) is an archaeological site in the Al Hasakah governorate of northeastern Syria ...
,
Aram-Damascus Aram-Damascus ( or ) was an Aramean The Arameans (Old Aramaic language, Old Aramaic: 𐤀𐤓𐤌𐤉𐤀; Greek language, Greek: Ἀραμαῖοι; Syriac language, Syriac: ܐܪ̈ܡܝܐ / Ārāmāyē) were an ancient Semitic languages, Semiti ...
,
Hamath , timezone = Eastern European Time, EET , utc_offset = +2 , timezone_DST = Eastern European Summer Time, EEST , utc_offset_DST = +3 , postal_code_type ...
, Aram-Rehob,
Aram-Naharaim Aram-Naharaim is the ancient land of the Arameans The Arameans (Old Aramaic language, Old Aramaic: 𐤀𐤓𐤌𐤉𐤀; Greek language, Greek: Ἀραμαῖοι; Syriac language, Syriac: ܐܪ̈ܡܝܐ / Ārāmāyē) were an ancient Semitic lang ...
, and
Luhuti Luhuti, Lukhuti or Lu'ash, was an Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, or world histo ...
. From this point, the region became known as Aramea or Aram. There was also a synthesis between the Semitic Arameans and the remnants of the Indo-European
Hittites The Hittites () were an Anatolian people who played an important role in establishing first a kingdom in Kussara before 1750 BC, then the Kanesh or Nesha kingdom (c. 1750–1650 BC), and next an empire centered on Hattusa Hattusa (also ...

Hittites
, with the founding of a number of
Syro-Hittite and Aramean states ( 800 BCE) The states that are called Syro-Hittite (in older literature), or Luwian-Aramean (in modern scholarly works), were Luwians, Luwian and Aramean regional polities of the Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of ...
states centered in north central Aram (Syria) and south central Asia Minor (modern Turkey), including
Palistin Palistin (or Walistin), was an early Syro-Hittite and Aramean states ( 800 BCE) The states that are called Syro-Hittite (in older literature), or Luwian-Aramean (in modern scholarly works), were Luwians, Luwian and Aramean regional polities of ...
,
Carchemish Carchemish ( or ), also spelled Karkemish (Hittite language, Hittite: ''Karkamiš''; Turkish language, Turkish: ''Karkamış''; he, כַּרְכְּמְישׂ; Ancient Greek, Greek: Εὔρωπος, ''Europos''; Latin: ''Europus'') was an imp ...

Carchemish
and Sam'al. A
CanaaniteCanaanite may refer to: *Canaan and Canaanite people, Semitic-speaking region and civilization in the Ancient Near East *Canaanite languages *Canaanite religion *Canaanites (movement), an early Israelite non-Zionist movement. {{disambig Language an ...
group known as the
Phoenicians Phoenicia () was an ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search – 3.0 ...

Phoenicians
came to dominate the coasts of Syria, (and also Lebanon and northern
Palestine Palestine ( or ) most often refers to: * State of Palestine, a ''de jure'' sovereign state in the Middle East * Palestine (region), a geographical and historical region in the Middle East Palestine may also refer to: * Palestinian National Aut ...
) from the 13th century BC, founding city states such as
Amrit Amrit ( ar, عمريت), the classical Classical may refer to: European antiquity *Classical antiquity, a period of history from roughly the 7th or 8th century B.C.E. to the 5th century C.E. centered on the Mediterranean Sea *Classical archit ...
,
Simyra Tell Kazel is an oval-shaped tell that measures at its base, narrowing to at its top. It is located in the Safita district of the Tartus Governorate Tartus Governorate, also transliterated as Tartous Governorate, ( ar, مُحافظة طرطو ...
,
Arwad Arwad, the classical antiquity, classical Aradus ( ar, أرواد), is a town in Syria on an eponymous List of islands of Syria, island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is the administrative center of the Arwad nahiyah, Subdistrict (''nahiyah''), of ...

Arwad
, Paltos,
Ramitha , timezone = , utc_offset = , timezone_DST = , utc_offset_DST = , coordinates = , elevation_footnotes = , elevation_m = 11 , elevation_ft = , postal_code_type ...
and Shuksi. From these coastal regions, they eventually spread their influence throughout the
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...

Mediterranean
, including building colonies in
Malta Malta ( , , ), officially known as the Republic of Malta ( mt, Repubblika ta' Malta ) and formerly Melita, is a Southern European island country consisting of an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies south of Italy, east of Tunisi ...

Malta
, Sicily, the
Iberian peninsula The Iberian Peninsula , ** * Aragonese Aragonese or Aragones may refer to: * Something related to Aragon, an autonomous community and former kingdom in Spain * the Aragonese people, those originating from or living in the historical region ...

Iberian peninsula
(modern Spain and
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who ...

Portugal
), and the coasts of North Africa and most significantly, founding the major city state of
Carthage Carthage was the capital city of the ancient , on the eastern side of the in what is now . Carthage was the most important trading hub of the Ancient Mediterranean and one of the most affluent cities of the . The city developed from a n colony ...

Carthage
(in modern
Tunisia ) , image_map = Tunisia location (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = Location of Tunisia in northern Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous , after in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11. ...

Tunisia
) in the 9th century BC, which was much later to become the center of a major empire, rivaling the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
. Syria and the Western half of
Near East The Near East ( ar, الشرق الأدنى, al-Sharq al-'Adnā, he, המזרח הקרוב, arc, ܕܢܚܐ ܩܪܒ, fa, خاور نزدیک, Xāvar-e nazdik, tr, Yakın Doğu) is a geographical term which roughly encompasses a transcontinental ...
then fell to the vast
Neo Assyrian Empire The Neo-Assyrian Empire (Assyrian cuneiform: ''mat Aš-šur KI'', "Country of the Assur, city of Ashur (god), god Aššur"; also phonetically ''mat Aš-šur'') was an Iron Age Mesopotamian empire, in existence between 911 and 609 BC, and became ...
(911 BC – 605 BC). The Assyrians introduced
Imperial Aramaic Imperial Aramaic is a linguistic term, coined by modern Aramaic studies, scholars in order to designate a specific historical Variety (linguistics), variety of Aramaic language. The term is polysemic, with two distinctive meanings, wider (sociolin ...
as the
lingua franca A lingua franca (; ; for plurals see ), also known as a bridge language, common language, trade language, auxiliary language, vehicular language, or link language, is a language or dialect The term dialect (from , , from the word , 'disco ...
of their empire. This language was to remain dominant in Syria and the entire
Near East The Near East ( ar, الشرق الأدنى, al-Sharq al-'Adnā, he, המזרח הקרוב, arc, ܕܢܚܐ ܩܪܒ, fa, خاور نزدیک, Xāvar-e nazdik, tr, Yakın Doğu) is a geographical term which roughly encompasses a transcontinental ...
until after the
Arab The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, : , Arabic pronunciation: , plural ar, عَرَبٌ, : , Arabic pronunciation: ) are an mainly inhabiting the . In modern usage the term refers to those who originate from an Arab co ...

Arab
Islamic Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission
o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or expression that occurs as an utterance on its own and expresses a spontaneous feeling ...
) is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic monotheistic religion teaching that Muhammad is a Muhammad in Islam, messenger of God.Peters, F. E. 2009. "Allāh." In , ed ...
conquest in the 7th and 8th centuries AD, and was to be a vehicle for the spread of Christianity. The Assyrians named their colonies of Syria and Lebanon
Eber-Nari Eber-Nari (AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Worl ...
. Assyrian domination ended after the Assyrians greatly weakened themselves in a series of brutal internal civil wars, followed by attacks from: the
Medes The Medes ( peo, 𐎶𐎠𐎭 ; akk, , ; grc, Μῆδοι ) were an Iranian peoples, ancient Iranian people who spoke the Median language and who inhabited an area known as Media (region), Media between western Iran, western and nor ...
,
Babylonians Babylonia () was an ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search – ...
,
Chaldea Chaldea () was a small country that existed between the late 10th or early 9th and mid-6th centuries BCE, after which the country and its people were absorbed and assimilated into the indigenous population Babylonia. Semitic language, Semitic-s ...
ns,
Persians The Persians are an Iranian ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups such as a common set of traditions, ancestr ...

Persians
,
Scythians The Scythians (from grc, Σκύθης , ) or Scyths, also known as Saka and Sakae ( ; egy, 𓋴𓎝𓎡𓈉 The ancient Egyptian Hill-country or "Foreign land" hieroglyph (𓈉) is a member of the sky, earth, and water hieroglyphs. A ...
and
Cimmerians The Cimmerians (also Kimmerians; Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...
. During the fall of Assyria, the
Scythians The Scythians (from grc, Σκύθης , ) or Scyths, also known as Saka and Sakae ( ; egy, 𓋴𓎝𓎡𓈉 The ancient Egyptian Hill-country or "Foreign land" hieroglyph (𓈉) is a member of the sky, earth, and water hieroglyphs. A ...
ravaged and plundered much of Syria. The last stand of the Assyrian army was at
Carchemish Carchemish ( or ), also spelled Karkemish (Hittite language, Hittite: ''Karkamiš''; Turkish language, Turkish: ''Karkamış''; he, כַּרְכְּמְישׂ; Ancient Greek, Greek: Εὔρωπος, ''Europos''; Latin: ''Europus'') was an imp ...

Carchemish
in northern Syria in 605 BC. The Assyrian Empire was followed by the
Neo-Babylonian Empire The Neo-Babylonian Empire, also known as the Second Babylonian Empire and historically known as the Chaldean Empire, was the last of the Mesopotamian empires to be ruled by monarchs native to Mesopotamia. Beginning with Nabopolassar's coronation as ...

Neo-Babylonian Empire
(605 BC – 539 BC). During this period, Syria became a battle ground between Babylonia and another former Assyrian colony, that of
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
. The Babylonians, like their Assyrian relations, were victorious over Egypt.


Classical antiquity

The
Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iranian Iranian may refer to: * Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and offi ...

Achaemenid Empire
, founded by
Cyrus the Great Cyrus II of Persia (; peo, wikt:𐎤𐎢𐎽𐎢𐏁, 𐎤𐎢𐎽𐎢𐏁, translit=Kūruš), commonly known as Cyrus the Great and also called Cyrus the Elder by the Ancient Greece, Greeks, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire, the Histo ...

Cyrus the Great
, annexed
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...
along with Babylonia to its empire in 539 BC. The
Persians The Persians are an Iranian ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups such as a common set of traditions, ancestr ...

Persians
retained Imperial Aramaic as one of the diplomatic languages of the Achaemenid Empire (539 BC – 330 BC), as well as the Assyrian name for the new
satrapy Satraps () were the governors of the provinces of the ancient Medes, Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as in the Sasanian Empire and the Hellenistic period, Hellenistic empires. The satrap served as viceroy to ...
of Aram/Syria
Eber-Nari Eber-Nari (AkkadianAkkadian or Accadian may refer to: * The Akkadian language Akkadian ( ''akkadû'', ''ak-ka-du-u2''; logogram: ''URIKI'')John Huehnergard & Christopher Woods, "Akkadian and Eblaite", ''The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Worl ...
. Syria was conquered by the
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
Macedonian Empire Macedonia (; grc-gre, Μακεδονία), also called Macedon (), was an ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsAlexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (''basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, βασιλεύς) is a Greek term and title A title ...

Alexander the Great
circa 330 BC, and consequently became
Coele-Syria Coele-Syria (, also spelt Coele Syria, Coelesyria, Celesyria) alternatively Coelo-Syria or Coelosyria (; grc-gre, Κοίλη Συρία, ''Koílē Syría'', 'Hollow Syria'; lat, Cœlē Syria or ), was a region of Syria Syria ( ar, ...
province of the
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...

Greek
Seleucid Empire The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), off ...
(323 BC – 64 BC), with the Seleucid kings styling themselves 'King of Syria' and the city of Antioch being its capital starting from 240. Thus, it was the Greeks who introduced the name "Syria" to the region. Originally an Indo-European corruption of "Assyria" in northern Mesopotamia, the Greeks used this term to describe not only Assyria itself but also the lands to the west which had for centuries been under Assyrian dominion. Thus in the
Greco-Roman The term "Greco-Roman world" (also "Greco-Roman culture" or ; spelled Graeco-Roman in the Commonwealth), as understood by modern scholars and writers, refers to geographical regions and countries that culturally—and so historically—were ...
world both the
Arameans The Arameans (Old Aramaic Old Aramaic refers to the earliest stage of the Aramaic language Aramaic ( Classical Syriac: ''Arāmāyā''; Old Aramaic: ; Aramaic alphabet, Imperial Aramaic: ; Hebrew alphabet, square script ) is a language t ...
of Syria and the
Assyrians Assyrian may refer to: * Assyria, a major Mesopotamian kingdom and empire * Assyrian people, an ethnic group indigenous to the Middle East * Assyrian Church (disambiguation) * Assyrian language (disambiguation) * SS Assyrian, SS ''Assyrian'', seve ...
of Mesopotamia (modern day
Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, کۆماری عێراق, translit=Komarî Êraq), is a country i ...

Iraq
) to the east were referred to as "Syrians" or "Syriacs", despite these being distinct peoples in their own right, a confusion which would continue into the modern world. Eventually parts of southern Seleucid Syria were taken by
Judean Judea or Judaea ( or ; from he, יהודה, Standard Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of flag used for personal identification Norm, convention or requirement * Standard (metrolog ...
Hasmoneans upon the slow disintegration of the Hellenistic Empire. Syria briefly came under
Armenian Armenian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Armenia, a country in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia * Armenians, the national people of Armenia, or people of Armenian descent ** Armenian language, the Indo-European language spoken ...
control from 83 BC, with the conquests of the Armenian king
Tigranes the Great Tigranes II, more commonly known as Tigranes the Great ( hy, Տիգրան Մեծ, ''Tigran Mets''; grc, Τιγράνης ὁ Μέγας ''Tigránes ho Mégas''; la, Tigranes Magnus) (140 – 55 BC) was King of Kingdom of Armenia (ant ...
, who was welcomed as a savior from the
Seleucids The Seleucid Empire (; grc, Βασιλεία τῶν Σελευκιδῶν, ''Basileía tōn Seleukidōn'') was a Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), off ...
and Romans by the Syrian people. However,
Pompey the Great Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (; 29 September 106 BC – 28 September 48 BC), known in English as Pompey or Pompey the Great, was a leading Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization f ...

Pompey the Great
, a general of the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
, rode to Syria and captured
Antioch Antioch on the Orontes (; grc, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου, ''Antiókheia hē epì Oróntou''; also Syrian Antioch) grc-koi, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου; or Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Δάφνῃ ...
, its capital, and turned Syria into a
Roman province The Roman provinces (Latin: ''provincia'', pl. ''provinciae'') were the administrative regions of Ancient Rome outside Roman Italy that were controlled by the Romans under the Roman Republic and later the Roman Empire. Each province was ruled ...
in 64 BC, thus ending Armenian control over the region which had lasted two decades. Syria prospered under Roman rule, being strategically located on the silk road, which gave it massive wealth and importance, making it the battleground for the rivaling Romans and Persians.
Palmyra Palmyra (; Palmyrene dialect, Palmyrene: 𐡶𐡣𐡬𐡥𐡴 () ''Tadmor''; ar, تَدْمُر ''Tadmur'') is an ancient Semitic people, Semitic city in present-day Homs Governorate, Syria. Archaeological finds date back to the Neolithic pe ...

Palmyra
, a rich and sometimes powerful native
Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac The Syriac language (; syc, / '), also known as Syriac Aramaic (''Syrian Aramaic'', ''Syro-Aramaic'') and Classical Syriac (in its literary and liturgical form), is an Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac ...
-speaking kingdom arose in northern Syria in the 2nd century; the Palmyrene established a trade network that made the city one of the richest in the Roman empire. Eventually, in the late 3rd century AD, the Palmyrene king
Odaenathus Septimius Odaenathus ( Palmyrene: ; ar, أذينة ; 220 – 267) was the founder king ( ''Mlk'') of the Palmyrene Kingdom who ruled from Palmyra Palmyra (; Palmyrene dialect, Palmyrene: ''Tadmor''; ar, تَدْمُر ''Tadmur'') is a ...
defeated the Persian emperor
Shapur I Shapur I (also spelled Shabuhr I; pal, 𐭱𐭧𐭯𐭥𐭧𐭥𐭩, Šābuhr ) was the second of . The dating of his reign is disputed, but it is generally agreed that he ruled from 240 to 270, with his father as co-regent until the death ...
and controlled the entirety of the Roman East while his successor and widow
Zenobia Septimia Zenobia (Palmyrene dialect, Palmyrene: 𐡡𐡶𐡦𐡡𐡩 () ''Btzby''/''Bat-Zabbai''; 240 – c. 274 AD) was a third-century queen of the Palmyrene Empire in Syria (region), Syria. Many legends surround her ancestry; she was probab ...

Zenobia
established the
Palmyrene Empire The Palmyrene Empire was a short-lived breakaway state from the Roman Empire resulting from the Crisis of the Third Century. Named after its capital city, Palmyra, it encompassed the Roman provinces of Syria Palaestina, Arabia Petraea, and Egypt ...

Palmyrene Empire
, which briefly conquered Egypt, Syria, Palestine, much of Asia Minor, Judah and Lebanon, before being finally brought under Roman control in 273 AD. The northern Mesopotamian Assyrian kingdom of
Adiabene Adiabene (from the Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ...
controlled areas of north east Syria between 10 AD and 117 AD, before it was conquered by Rome. The Aramaic language has been found as far afield as Hadrian's Wall in Ancient Britain, with an inscription written by a Palmyrene emigrant at the site of Fort
Arbeia Arbeia was a large Ancient Rome, Roman castra, fort in South Shields, Tyne and Wear, Tyne & Wear, England, now ruined, and which has been partially reconstructed. It was first excavated in the 1870s and all modern buildings on the site were cleared ...

Arbeia
. Control of Syria eventually passed from the
Romans Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, ...
to the , with the split in the Roman Empire. The largely
Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac The Syriac language (; syc, / '), also known as Syriac Aramaic (''Syrian Aramaic'', ''Syro-Aramaic'') and Classical Syriac (in its literary and liturgical form), is an Aramaic Aramaic (Classical Syriac ...
-speaking population of Syria during the heyday of the Byzantine Empire was probably not exceeded again until the 19th century. Prior to the ''Arab Islamic Conquest'' in the 7th century AD, the bulk of the population were
Arameans The Arameans (Old Aramaic Old Aramaic refers to the earliest stage of the Aramaic language Aramaic ( Classical Syriac: ''Arāmāyā''; Old Aramaic: ; Aramaic alphabet, Imperial Aramaic: ; Hebrew alphabet, square script ) is a language t ...
, but Syria was also home to
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...

Greek
and
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Laz ...
ruling classes,
Assyrians Assyrian may refer to: * Assyria, a major Mesopotamian kingdom and empire * Assyrian people, an ethnic group indigenous to the Middle East * Assyrian Church (disambiguation) * Assyrian language (disambiguation) * SS Assyrian, SS ''Assyrian'', seve ...
still dwelt in the north east,
Phoenicians Phoenicia () was an ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search – 3.0 ...

Phoenicians
along the coasts, and
Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in the long drama of Jewish history is ...

Jewish
and
Armenian Armenian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Armenia, a country in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia * Armenians, the national people of Armenia, or people of Armenian descent ** Armenian language, the Indo-European language spoken ...
communities were also extant in major cities, with
Nabateans The Nabataeans, also Nabateans (; Nabataean Aramaic: 𐢕𐢃𐢋𐢈 ''nbṭw''; ar, ٱلْأَنْبَاط '; compare akk, ; grc, Ναβαταῖος; la, Nabataeus), were an ancient Arab people who inhabited northern Arabian Peninsula, ...
and ''pre-Islamic''
Arabs The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technica ...

Arabs
such as the
Lakhmids The Lakhmids ( ar, اللخميون) referred to in Arabic as al-Manādhirah () or Banu Lakhm () was an Arab The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, ISO 233 The international standard are technical standards developed b ...

Lakhmids
and
Ghassanids The Ghassanids ( ar, الغساسنة, al-Ghasāsinah, also ''Banū Ghassān'' "Sons of Ghassān"), also called the Jafnids, were an Arab The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, : , Arabic pronunciation: , plural ar, ...
dwelling in the deserts of southern Syria.
Syriac Christianity Syriac Christianity ( syr, ܡܫܝܚܝܘܬܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܬܐ / ''Mšiḥāyuṯā Suryāyṯā''; ar, مسيحية سريانية, ''masīḥiyyat suryāniyya'') represents a distinctive branch of Eastern Christianity Eastern Christianity compris ...

Syriac Christianity
had taken hold as the major religion, although others still followed
Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots as an organized religion ...
,
Mithraism Mithraism, also known as the Mithraic mysteries, was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Ro ...
,
Manicheanism Manichaeism (; in New Persian ''Āyīn Mānī''; ) was a major religion founded in the 3rd century AD by the Persian or Parthian prophet Mani () in the Sasanian Empire The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire ...
, Greco-Roman Religion,
Canaanite Religion Canaanite religion refers to the group of ancient Semitic religions practiced by the Canaanites living in the ancient Levant The Levant () is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterra ...
and
Mesopotamian Religion Mesopotamia ( ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن '; grc, Μεσοποταμία; Classical Syriac: ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ Ārām''-Nahrīn'' or ܒܝܬ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ ''Bēṯ Nahrīn'') is a historical region of Western Asia Western ...
. Syria's large and prosperous population made Syria one of the most important of the Roman and Byzantine provinces, particularly during the 2nd and 3rd centuries (AD). Syrians held considerable amounts of power during the
Severan dynasty The Severan dynasty was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in the New Tes ...
. The matriarch of the family and Empress of Rome as wife of emperor
Septimius Severus Lucius Septimius Severus (; 11 April 145 – 4 February 211) was Roman emperor from 193 to 211. He was born in Leptis Magna (present day Al-Khums, Libya) in the Roman province of Africa (Roman province), Africa. As a young man he advanced thro ...
was
Julia Domna Julia Domna (; – 217 AD) was Roman empress This is a list of Roman and Byzantine empresses. A Roman empress was a woman who was the wife of a Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial per ...

Julia Domna
, a Syrian from the city of
Emesa ar, حمصي, HimsiHimsi or Homsi is an Arabic locational surname, which means a person from Homs, Syria.Abu Assali, Sarah. (2012)"The Eye of the Beholder" ''Syria Today Magazine'', October 10. Retrieved on 25 January 2016. The name may refer to ...
(modern day
Homs ar, حمصي, HimsiHimsi or Homsi is an Arabic locational surname, which means a person from Homs, Syria.Abu Assali, Sarah. (2012)"The Eye of the Beholder" ''Syria Today Magazine'', October 10. Retrieved on 25 January 2016. The name may refer to ...

Homs
), whose
family In human society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same spatial or social territory, typically subject to the same Politic ...
held hereditary rights to the priesthood of the god
El-Gabal Elagabalus , Aelagabalus, Heliogabalus, or simply Elagabal was an Arab The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, ISO 233: , Arabic pronunciation: , plural ar, عَرَبٌ, ISO 233: , Arabic pronunciation: ) are an ethnic ...
. Her great nephews, also Arabs from Syria, would also become Roman Emperors, the first being
Elagabalus Elagabalus ( 204 – 11 March 222), also called Heliogabalus and officially known as Antoninus, was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial period (starting in 27 ...
and the second, his cousin
Alexander Severus Marcus Aurelius Severus Alexander (1 October 208 – 19/22 March 235) was a Roman emperor, who reigned from 222 until 235. He was the last emperor from the Severan dynasty. He succeeded his slain cousin Elagabalus in 222. Alexander himself was ev ...

Alexander Severus
. Another Roman emperor who was a Syrian was
Philip the Arab Philip the Arab ( la, Marcus Julius Philippus Arabs; 204 – September 249) was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors us ...
(Marcus Julius Philippus), who was born in . He was emperor from 244 to 249, and ruled briefly during the
Crisis of the Third Century The Crisis of the Third Century, also known as Military Anarchy or the Imperial Crisis (235–284 AD), was a period in which the Roman Empire nearly collapsed. It ended due to the military victories of Aurelian and with the ascension of Dioclet ...
. During his reign, he focused on his home town of Philippopolis (modern day
Shahba Shahba ( ar, شَهْبَا / ALA-LC ALA-LC (American Library Association The American Library Association (ALA) is a nonprofit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organizatio ...
) and began many construction projects to improve the city, most of which were halted after his death. Syria is significant in the
history of Christianity The history of Christianity concerns the Christian religion Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religio ...
; Saulus of Tarsus, better known as the Apostle Paul, was converted on the Road to Damascus and emerged as a significant figure in the Christian Church at
Antioch Antioch on the Orontes (; grc, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου, ''Antiókheia hē epì Oróntou''; also Syrian Antioch) grc-koi, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου; or Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Δάφνῃ ...
in ancient Syria, from which he left on many of his missionary journeys. ()


Middle Ages

Muhammad's first interaction with the people and tribes of Syria was during the Invasion of Dumatul Jandal in July 626 where he ordered his followers to invade Duma, because Muhammad received intelligence that some tribes there were involved in highway robbery and preparing to attack Medina itself.Mubarakpuri
The Sealed Nectar
pp. 193–194.
William Montgomery Watt claims that this was the most significant expedition Muhammad ordered at the time, even though it received little notice in the primary sources. Dumat Al-Jandal was from Medina, and Watt says that there was no immediate threat to Muhammad, other than the possibility that his communications to Syria and supplies to Medina being interrupted. Watt says "It is tempting to suppose that Muhammad was already envisaging something of the expansion which took place after his death", and that the rapid march of his troops must have "impressed all those who heard of it".
free online
William Muir also believes that the expedition was important as Muhammad followed by 1000 men reached the confines of Syria, where distant tribes had now learnt his name, while the political horizon of Muhammad was extended. By AD 640, Syria Muslim conquest of the Levant, was conquered by the Arab people, Arab Rashidun army led by Khalid ibn al-Walid. In the mid-7th century, the Umayyad dynasty, then rulers of the empire, placed the capital of the empire in Damascus. The country's power declined during later Umayyad rule; this was mainly due to totalitarianism, corruption and the resulting revolutions. The Umayyad dynasty was then overthrown in 750 by the Abbasid dynasty, which moved the capital of empire to Baghdad. Arabic language, Arabic – made official under Umayyad rule – became the dominant language, replacing Greek language, Greek and Aramaic language, Aramaic of the Byzantine era. In 887, the Egypt-based Tulunids annexed Syria from the Abbasids, and were later replaced by once the Egypt-based Ikhshidid dynasty, Ikhshidids and still later by the Hamdanids originating in
Aleppo )), is an adjective which means "white-colored mixed with black". , motto = , image_map = , mapsize = , map_caption = , image_map1 ...

Aleppo
founded by Sayf al-Dawla. Sections of Syria were held by French, English, Italians, Italian and German overlords between 1098 and 1189 AD during the Crusades and were known collectively as the Crusader states among which the primary one in Syria was the Principality of Antioch. The coastal mountainous region was also occupied in part by the Nizaris, Nizari Ismailis, the so-called Order of Assassins, Assassins, who had intermittent confrontations and truces with the Crusader States. Later in history when "the Nizaris faced renewed Frankish hostilities, they received timely assistance from the Ayyubids." After a century of Seljuk rule, Syria was largely conquered (1175–1185) by the Kurdish people, Kurdish liberator Saladin, Salah ad-Din, founder of the Ayyubid dynasty of Egypt. Aleppo Siege of Aleppo (1260), fell to the Mongols of Hulegu in January 1260, and Damascus in March, but then Hulegu was forced to break off his attack to return to China to deal with a succession dispute. A few months later, the Mamluks arrived with an army from Egypt and defeated the Mongols in the Battle of Ain Jalut in Galilee. The Mamluk leader, Baibars, made Damascus a provincial capital. When he died, power was taken by Qalawun. In the meantime, an emir named Sunqur al-Ashqar had tried to declare himself ruler of Damascus, but he was defeated by Qalawun on 21 June 1280, and fled to northern Syria. Al-Ashqar, who had married a Mongol woman, appealed for help from the Mongols. The Mongols of the Ilkhanate took Aleppo in October 1280, but Qalawun persuaded Al-Ashqar to join him, and they fought against the Mongols on 29 October 1281, in the Second Battle of Homs, which was won by the Mamluks. In 1400, the Muslim Turco-Mongol conqueror Tamurlane invaded Syria, in which he Sack of Aleppo (1400), sacked Aleppo, and Siege of Damascus (1400), captured Damascus after defeating the Mamluk army. The city's inhabitants were massacred, except for the artisans, who were deported to Samarkand. Tamurlane also conducted specific massacres of the Aramean and Assyrian people, Assyrian Christian populations, greatly reducing their numbers. By the end of the 15th century, the discovery of a sea route from Europe to the Far East ended the need for an Silk Road, overland trade route through Syria.


Ottoman Syria

In 1516, the Ottoman Empire invaded the Mamluk Sultanate (Cairo), Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt, conquering Syria, and incorporating it into its empire. The Ottoman system was not burdensome to Syrians because the Turks respected Arabic as the language of the Quran, and accepted the mantle of defenders of the faith. Damascus was made the major entrepot for Mecca, and as such it acquired a holy character to Muslims, because of the beneficial results of the countless pilgrims who passed through on the hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca. Ottoman administration followed a system that led to peaceful coexistence. Each ethno-religious minority—
Arab The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, : , Arabic pronunciation: , plural ar, عَرَبٌ, : , Arabic pronunciation: ) are an mainly inhabiting the . In modern usage the term refers to those who originate from an Arab co ...

Arab
Shia Muslim,
Arab The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, : , Arabic pronunciation: , plural ar, عَرَبٌ, : , Arabic pronunciation: ) are an mainly inhabiting the . In modern usage the term refers to those who originate from an Arab co ...

Arab
Sunni Muslim, Aramean-Syriac Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Maronite Christians, Assyrian Christians, Armenians, Kurds and Jews—constituted a Millet (Ottoman Empire), millet. The religious heads of each community administered all personal status laws and performed certain civil functions as well. In 1831, Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt renounced his loyalty to the Empire and overran Ottoman Syria, capturing Damascus. His short-term rule over the domain attempted to change the demographics and social structure of the region: he brought thousands of Egyptian villagers to populate the plains of Southern Syria, rebuilt Jaffa and settled it with veteran Egyptian soldiers aiming to turn it into a regional capital, and he crushed peasant and Druze rebellions and deported non-loyal tribesmen. By 1840, however, he had to surrender the area back to the Ottomans. From 1864, Tanzimat reforms were applied on Ottoman Syria, carving out the provinces (vilayets) of Aleppo Vilayet, Aleppo, Sanjak of Zor, Zor, Beirut Vilayet, Beirut and Damascus Vilayet; Mutasarrifate of Mount Lebanon was created, as well, and soon after the Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem was given a separate status. During World War I, the Ottoman Empire entered the conflict on the side of Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It ultimately suffered defeat and loss of control of the entire
Near East The Near East ( ar, الشرق الأدنى, al-Sharq al-'Adnā, he, המזרח הקרוב, arc, ܕܢܚܐ ܩܪܒ, fa, خاور نزدیک, Xāvar-e nazdik, tr, Yakın Doğu) is a geographical term which roughly encompasses a transcontinental ...
to the British Empire and French colonial empire, French Empire. During the conflict, genocide against indigenous Christian peoples was carried out by the Ottomans and their allies in the form of the Armenian genocide and Assyrian genocide, of which Deir ez-Zor, in Ottoman Syria, was the final destination of these death marches. In the midst of World War I, two Allies of World War I, Allied diplomats (Frenchman François Georges-Picot and British people, Briton Mark Sykes) secretly agreed on the post-war division of the Ottoman Empire into respective zones of influence in the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916. Initially, the two territories were separated by a border that ran in an almost straight line from Jordan to Iran. However, the discovery of oil in the region of Mosul just before the end of the war led to yet 1918 Clemenceau–Lloyd George Agreement (Middle East), another negotiation with France in 1918 to cede this region to the British zone of influence, which was to become Iraq. The fate of the intermediate province of Zor was left unclear; its Occupation of Zor, occupation by Arab nationalists resulted in its attachment to Syria. This border was recognized internationally when Syria became a League of Nations mandate in 1920 and has not changed to date.


French Mandate

In 1920, a short-lived independent Kingdom of Syria was established under Faisal I of the Hashemite family. However, his rule over Syria ended after only a few months, following the Battle of Maysalun. French troops occupied Syria later that year after the San Remo conference proposed that the League of Nations put Syria under a French mandate. General Gouraud had according to his secretary de Caix two options: "Either build a Syrian nation that does not exist... by smoothing the rifts which still divide it" or "cultivate and maintain all the phenomena, which require our arbitration that these divisions give". De Caix added "I must say only the second option interests me". This is what Gouraud did. In 1925, Sultan al-Atrash led Great Syrian Revolt, a revolt that broke out in the Jabal al-Druze, Druze Mountain and spread to engulf the whole of Syria and parts of Lebanon. Al-Atrash won several battles against the French, notably the Battle of al-Kafr on 21 July 1925, the Battle of al-Mazraa on 2–3 August 1925, and the battles of Salkhad, al-Musayfirah and Suwayda. France sent thousands of troops from Morocco and Senegal, leading the French to regain many cities, although resistance lasted until the spring of 1927. The French sentenced Sultan al-Atrash to death, but he had escaped with the rebels to Transjordan and was eventually pardoned. He returned to Syria in 1937 after the signing of the Syrian-French Treaty. Syria and France negotiated a Franco-Syrian Treaty of Independence (1936), treaty of independence in September 1936, and Hashim al-Atassi was the first president to be elected under the first incarnation of the modern republic of Syria. However, the treaty never came into force because the French Legislature refused to ratify it. With the fall of France in 1940 during World War II, Syria came under the control of Vichy France until the British and Free French occupied the country in the Syria-Lebanon campaign in July 1941. Continuing pressure from Syrian nationalists and the British Levant Crisis, forced the French to evacuate their troops in April 1946, leaving the country in the hands of a republican government that had been formed during the mandate.


Independent Syrian Republic

Upheaval dominated Syrian politics from independence through the late 1960s. In May 1948, Syrian forces invaded
Palestine Palestine ( or ) most often refers to: * State of Palestine, a ''de jure'' sovereign state in the Middle East * Palestine (region), a geographical and historical region in the Middle East Palestine may also refer to: * Palestinian National Aut ...
, together with other Arab states, and immediately Battles of the Kinarot Valley, attacked Jewish settlements. Their president Shukri al-Quwwatli instructed his troops in the front, "to destroy the Zionists". The Invasion purpose was to prevent the establishment of the Israel, State of Israel. Toward this end, the Syrian government engaged in an active process of recruiting former Nazism, Nazis, including several former members of the Schutzstaffel, to build up their armed forces and military intelligence capabilities. Defeat in this war was one of several trigger factors for the March 1949 Syrian coup d'état by Col. Husni al-Za'im, described as the first military overthrow of the Arab World since the start of the Second World War. This was soon followed by another overthrow, by Col. Sami al-Hinnawi, who was himself quickly deposed by Col. Adib Shishakli, all within the same year. Shishakli eventually abolished multipartyism altogether, but was himself overthrown in a 1954 Syrian coup d'état, 1954 coup and the parliamentary system was restored. However, by this time, power was increasingly concentrated in the military and security establishment. The weakness of Parliamentary institutions and the mismanagement of the economy led to unrest and the influence of Nasserism and other ideologies. There was fertile ground for various Arab nationalist, Syrian nationalism, Syrian nationalist, and socialist movements, which represented disaffected elements of society. Notably included were religious minorities, who demanded radical reform. In November 1956, as a direct result of the Suez Crisis, Syria signed a pact with the Soviet Union. This gave a foothold for Communist influence within the government in exchange for military equipment.
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia an ...

Turkey
then became worried about this increase in the strength of Syrian military technology, as it seemed feasible that Syria might attempt to retake İskenderun. Only heated debates in the United Nations lessened the threat of war. On 1 February 1958, Syrian President Shukri al-Quwatli and Egypt's Nasser announced the merging of Egypt and Syria, creating the
United Arab Republic The United Arab Republic (UAR; ar, الجمهورية العربية المتحدة, al-Jumhūrīyah al-'Arabīyah al-Muttaḥidah) was a sovereign state in the Middle East from 1958 until 1971. It was initially a political union between Re ...

United Arab Republic
, and all Syrian political parties, as well as the communists therein, ceased overt activities. Meanwhile, a group of Syrian Ba'athist officers, alarmed by the party's poor position and the increasing fragility of the union, decided to form a secret Military Committee; its initial members were Lieutenant-Colonel Muhammad Umran, Major Salah Jadid and Captain
Hafez al-Assad Hafez al-Assad ', , (6 October 1930 – 10 June 2000) was a Syrian politician and military officer who served as President of Syria from 1971 to 2000. He was also Prime Minister of Syria from 1970 to 1971, as well as regional secretary o ...
. Syria seceded from the union with Egypt on 28 September 1961, after a 1961 Syrian coup d'état, coup.


Ba'athist Syria

The ensuing instability following the 1961 Syrian coup d'état, 1961 coup culminated in the 1963 Syrian coup d'état, 8 March 1963 Ba'athist coup. The takeover was engineered by members of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party – Syria Region, Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party, led by Michel Aflaq and Salah al-Din al-Bitar. The new Syrian cabinet was dominated by Ba'ath members. On 23 February 1966, the Military Committee carried out an 1966 Syrian coup d'état, intra-party overthrow, imprisoned President Amin Hafiz and designated a regionalist, civilian Ba'ath government on 1 March. Although Nureddin al-Atassi became the formal head of state, Salah Jadid was Syria's effective ruler from 1966 until November 1970, when he was deposed by
Hafez al-Assad Hafez al-Assad ', , (6 October 1930 – 10 June 2000) was a Syrian politician and military officer who served as President of Syria from 1971 to 2000. He was also Prime Minister of Syria from 1970 to 1971, as well as regional secretary o ...
, who at the time was Minister of Defense. The coup led to a split within the original Ba'ath Party, pan-Arab Ba'ath Party: one Ba'ath Party (Iraqi-led faction), Iraqi-led ba'ath movement (ruled Iraq from 1968 to 2003) and one Ba'ath Party (Syrian-led faction), Syrian-led ba'ath movement was established. In the first half of 1967, a low-key state of war existed between Syria and
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
. Conflict over Israeli cultivation of land in the Israel–Syria Mixed Armistice Commission, Demilitarized Zone led to Origins of the Six-Day War#Israel and Syria, 7 April pre-war aerial clashes between Israel and Syria. When the Six-Day War broke out between Egypt and Israel, Syria joined the war and attacked Israel as well. In the final days of the war, Israel turned its attention to Syria, capturing two-thirds of the Golan Heights in under 48 hours. The defeat caused a split between Jadid and Assad over what steps to take next. Disagreement developed between Jadid, who controlled the party apparatus, and Assad, who controlled the military. The 1970 retreat of Syrian forces sent to aid the PLO during the "Black September in Jordan, Black September" hostilities with Jordan reflected this disagreement. The power struggle culminated in the November 1970 Syrian Corrective Revolution, a bloodless military overthrow that installed Hafez al-Assad as the strongman of the government. On 6 October 1973, Syria and Egypt initiated the Yom Kippur War against Israel. The Israel Defense Forces reversed the initial Syrian gains and pushed deeper into Syrian territory. In the late 1970s, an Islamist uprising in Syria, Islamist uprising by the Muslim Brotherhood of Syria, Muslim Brotherhood was aimed against the government. Islamists attacked civilians and off-duty military personnel, leading security forces to also kill civilians in retaliatory strikes. The uprising had reached its climax in the 1982 Hama massacre, when some 10,000 – 40,000 people were killed by regular Syrian Army troops. In a major shift in relations with both other Arab states and the Western world, Syria participated in the US-led Gulf War against Saddam Hussein. Syria participated in the multilateral Madrid Conference of 1991, and during the 1990s engaged in negotiations with Israel. These negotiations failed, and there have been no further direct Syrian-Israeli talks since President
Hafez al-Assad Hafez al-Assad ', , (6 October 1930 – 10 June 2000) was a Syrian politician and military officer who served as President of Syria from 1971 to 2000. He was also Prime Minister of Syria from 1970 to 1971, as well as regional secretary o ...
's meeting with then President Bill Clinton in Geneva in March 2000. Hafez al-Assad died on 10 June 2000. His son, , was elected president in Syrian presidential election, 2000, an election in which he ran unopposed. His election saw the birth of the Damascus Spring and hopes of reform, but by autumn 2001, the authorities had suppressed the movement, imprisoning some of its leading intellectuals. Instead, reforms have been limited to some market reforms. On 5 October 2003, Israel Ain es Saheb airstrike, bombed a site near Damascus, claiming it was a terrorist training facility for members of Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine, Islamic Jihad. In March 2004, Syrian Kurds and Arabs 2004 Al-Qamishli riots, clashed in the northeastern city of al-Qamishli. Signs of rioting were seen in the cities of Qamishli and Hasakeh. In 2005, Syria ended its military presence in Lebanon. On 6 September 2007, foreign jet fighters, suspected as Israeli, reportedly carried out Operation Orchard against a suspected nuclear reactor under construction by North Korean technicians.


Syrian Civil War

The ongoing Syrian Civil War was inspired by the Arab Spring revolutions. It began in 2011 as a chain of peaceful protests, followed by an alleged crackdown by the Syrian Army. In July 2011, Army defectors declared the formation of the Free Syrian Army and began forming fighting units. The opposition is dominated by Sunni Muslims, whereas the leading government figures are generally associated with
Alawites The Alawis, or Alawites ( ar, علوية ''Alawīyah''), are a sect of Shia Islam Shia Islam or Shi'ism is one of the two main Islamic schools and branches, branches of Islam. It holds that the Prophets and messengers in Islam, Islamic ...
. The war also involves rebel groups (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, IS and al-Nusra) and various Foreign involvement in the Syrian Civil War, foreign countries, leading to claims of a proxy war in Syria. According to various sources, including the United Nations, up to 100,000 people had been killed by June 2013, including 11,000 children. To escape the violence, 4.9 million Refugees of the Syrian civil war, Syrian refugees have fled to neighboring countries of Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Turkey. An estimated 450,000 Christianity in Syria, Syrian Christians have fled their homes.Syrian Civil War Causes One-Third of Country's Christians to Flee Their Homes
. ''The Algemeiner Journal''. 18 October 2013.
By October 2017, an estimated 400,000 people had been killed in the war according to the UN.


Major economic crisis

On 10 June 2020, hundreds of protesters returned to the streets of Sweida for the fourth consecutive day, rallying against the collapse of the Economy of Syria, country's economy, as the Syrian pound plummeted to 3,000 to the dollar within the past week. On 11 June, Prime Minister Imad Khamis was dismissed by President Bashar al-Assad, amid anti-government protests over deteriorating economic conditions. The new lows for the Syrian currency, and the dramatic increase in sanctions, began to appear to raise new concerns about the survival of the Assad government. Analysts noted that a resolution to the current Lebanese liquidity crisis, banking crisis in Lebanon might be crucial to restoring stability in Syria. Some analysts began to raise concerns that Assad might be on the verge of losing power; but that any such collapse in the regime might cause conditions to worsen, as the result might be mass chaos, rather than an improvement in political or economic conditions. Russia continued to expand its influence and military role in the areas of Syria where the main military conflict was occurring. Analysts noted that the upcoming implementation of new heavy sanctions under the US Caesar Act could devastate the Syrian economy, ruin any chances of recovery, destroy regional stability, and do nothing but destabilize the entire region. The first new sanctions took effect on 17 June. There will be additional sanctions implemented in August, in three different groups. There are increasing reports that food is becoming difficult to find, the country's economy is under severe pressure, and the whole regime could collapse due to the sanctions.


Geography

Syria lies between latitudes 32nd parallel north, 32° and 38th parallel north, 38° N, and longitudes 35th meridian east, 35° and 43rd meridian east, 43° E. The climate varies from the humid Mediterranean coast, through a semiarid steppe zone, to arid desert in the east. The country consists mostly of arid plateau, although the northwest part bordering the Mediterranean is fairly green. Upper Mesopotamia, Al-Jazira in the northeast and Hauran, Hawran in the south are important agricultural areas. The Euphrates, Syria's most important river, crosses the country in the east. Syria is one of the fifteen states that comprise the so-called "cradle of civilization". Its land straddles the "northwest of the Arabian plate". Petroleum in commercial quantities was first discovered in the northeast in 1956. The most important oil fields are those of Suwaydiyah, Qaratshui, Rumayian, and Tayyem, near Deir ez-Zor, Dayr az–Zawr. The fields are a natural extension of the Iraqi fields of Mosul and Kirkuk. Petroleum became Syria's leading natural resource and chief export after 1974. Natural gas was discovered at the field of Jbessa in 1940.


Biodiversity

Syria contains four terrestrial ecoregions: Syrian xeric grasslands and shrublands, Eastern Mediterranean conifer-sclerophyllous-broadleaf forests, Southern Anatolian montane conifer and deciduous forests, and Mesopotamian shrub desert. The country had a 2019 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 3.64/10, ranking it 144th globally out of 172 countries.


Politics and government

Syria is formally a
unitary Unitary may refer to: * Unitary construction, in automotive design a common term for unibody (unitary body/chassis) construction * Lethal Unitary Chemical Agents and Munitions (Unitary), as chemical weapons opposite of Binary * Unitarianism, in Chr ...
republic. The current constitution of Syria, adopted in 2012, effectively transformed the country into a semi-presidential republic due to the constitutional right for the election of individuals who do not form part of the National Progressive Front (Syria), National Progressive Front. The President of Syria, President is Head of State and the Prime Minister of Syria, Prime Minister is Head of Government. The legislature, the Peoples Council, is the body responsible for passing laws, approving government appropriation (law), appropriations and debating policy. In the event of a vote of no confidence by a simple majority, the Prime Minister is required to tender the resignation of their government to the President. Two alternative governments formed during the Syrian Civil War, the Syrian Interim Government (formed in 2013) and the Syrian Salvation Government (formed in 2017), control portions of the north-west of the country and operate in opposition to the Syrian Arab Republic. The executive branch consists of the president, two Vice President of Syria, vice presidents, the prime minister, and the Council of Ministers of Syria, Council of Ministers (cabinet). The constitution requires the president to be a Muslim but does not make Islam the state religion. On 31 January 1973,
Hafez al-Assad Hafez al-Assad ', , (6 October 1930 – 10 June 2000) was a Syrian politician and military officer who served as President of Syria from 1971 to 2000. He was also Prime Minister of Syria from 1970 to 1971, as well as regional secretary o ...
implemented a new constitution, which led to a national crisis. Unlike previous constitutions, this one did not require that the President of Syria be a Muslim, leading to fierce demonstrations in Hama,
Homs ar, حمصي, HimsiHimsi or Homsi is an Arabic locational surname, which means a person from Homs, Syria.Abu Assali, Sarah. (2012)"The Eye of the Beholder" ''Syria Today Magazine'', October 10. Retrieved on 25 January 2016. The name may refer to ...

Homs
and Aleppo organized by the Muslim Brotherhood and the ''ulama''. They labelled Assad the "enemy of Allah" and called for a ''jihad'' against his rule. The government survived a series of Islamist uprising in Syria, armed revolts by Islamists, mainly members of the Muslim Brotherhood, from 1976 until 1982. The constitution gives the president the right to appoint ministers, to declare war and state of emergency, to issue laws (which, except in the case of emergency, require ratification by the People's Council), to declare amnesty, to amend the constitution, and to appoint civil servants and military personnel. According to the 2012 constitution, the president is elected by Syrian citizens in a direct election. Syria's legislative branch is the unicameral People's Council of Syria, People's Council. Under the previous constitution, Syria did not hold multi-party elections for the legislature, with two-thirds of the seats automatically allocated to the ruling coalition. On 7 May 2012, Syria held its first elections in which parties outside the ruling coalition could take part. Seven new political parties took part in the elections, of which Popular Front for Change and Liberation was the largest opposition party. The armed anti-government rebels, however, chose not to field candidates and called on their supporters to boycott the elections. As of 2008 the President is the Regional Secretary of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party – Syria Region, Ba'ath party in Syria and leader of the National Progressive Front (Syria), National Progressive Front governing coalition. Outside of the coalition are 14 illegal Kurds of Syria, Kurdish political parties. Syria's judicial branches include the Supreme Constitutional Court of Syria, Supreme Constitutional Court, the High Judicial Council, the Court of Cassation, and the Security agency, State Security Courts.
Islamic Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission
o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or expression that occurs as an utterance on its own and expresses a spontaneous feeling ...
) is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic monotheistic religion teaching that Muhammad is a Muhammad in Islam, messenger of God.Peters, F. E. 2009. "Allāh." In , ed ...
jurisprudence is a main source of legislation and Syria's judicial system has elements of Mecelle, Ottoman, French law, French, and Sharia, Islamic laws. Syria has three levels of courts: courts of first instance, courts of appeals, and the constitutional court, the highest tribunal. Religious courts handle questions of personal and family law. The Supreme State Security Court (SSSC) was abolished by President Bashar al-Assad by legislative decree No. 53 on 21 April 2011. The Personal Status Law 59 of 1953 (amended by Law 34 of 1975) is essentially a codified sharia. Article 3(2) of the 1973 Constitution of Syria, constitution declares Islamic jurisprudence a main source of legislation. The Code of Personal Status is applied to Muslims by sharia courts. As a result of the ongoing civil war, various alternative governments were formed, including the Syrian Interim Government, the Democratic Union Party (Syria), Democratic Union Party and localized regions governed by sharia law. Representatives of the Syrian Interim government were invited to take up Syria's seat at the
Arab League The Arab League ( ar, الجامعة العربية, '), formally the League of Arab States ( ar, جامعة الدول العربية, '), is a regional organization in the Arab world, which is located in Africa and Western Asia. The Arab L ...

Arab League
on 28 March 2013 and was recognised as the "sole representative of the Syrian people" by several nations including the United States, United Kingdom and France. Parliamentary elections were held on 13 April 2016 in the government-controlled areas of Syria, for all 250 seats of Syria's unicameral legislature, the Majlis al-Sha'ab, or the People's Council of Syria. Even before results had been announced, several nations, including Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom, have declared their refusal to accept the results, largely citing it "not representing the will of the Syrian people." However, representatives of the Russian Federation have voiced their support of this election's results. Syria's system of government is considered to be non-democratic by the North American NGO Freedom House.


Military

The President of Syria is commander in chief of the Syrian armed forces, comprising some 400,000 troops upon mobilization. The military is a conscripted force; males serve in the military upon reaching the age of 18. The obligatory military service period is being decreased over time, in 2005 from two and a half years to two years, in 2008 to 21 months and in 2011 to year and a half. About 20,000 Syrian soldiers were deployed in Lebanon until 27 April 2005, when the last of Syria's troops left the country after three decades. The breakup of the Soviet Union—long the principal source of training, material, and credit for the Syrian forces—may have slowed Syria's ability to acquire modern military equipment. It has an arsenal of surface-to-surface missiles. In the early 1990s, Scud-C missiles with a range were procured from North Korea, and Scud-D, with a range of up to , is allegedly being developed by Syria with the help of North Korea and Iran, according to Zisser. Syria received significant financial aid from Arab states of the Persian Gulf as a result of its participation in the Gulf War, Persian Gulf War, with a sizable portion of these funds earmarked for military spending.


Foreign relations

Ensuring national security, increasing influence among its
Arab The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, : , Arabic pronunciation: , plural ar, عَرَبٌ, : , Arabic pronunciation: ) are an mainly inhabiting the . In modern usage the term refers to those who originate from an Arab co ...

Arab
neighbors, and securing the return of the Golan Heights, have been the primary goals of Syria's foreign policy. At many points in its history, Syria has seen virulent tension with its geographically cultural neighbors, such as Turkey, Israel, Iraq, and Lebanon. Syria enjoyed an improvement in relations with several of the states in its region in the 21st century, prior to the Arab Spring and the Syrian Civil War. Since the ongoing civil war of 2011, and associated killings and human rights abuses, Syria has been increasingly isolated from the countries in the region, and the wider international community. Diplomatic relations have been severed with several countries including: Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, the United States, Belgium, Spain, and the Arab states of the Persian Gulf. From the Arab league, Syria continues to maintain diplomatic relations with Algeria,
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan and Yemen. Syria's violence against civilians has also seen it suspended from the
Arab League The Arab League ( ar, الجامعة العربية, '), formally the League of Arab States ( ar, جامعة الدول العربية, '), is a regional organization in the Arab world, which is located in Africa and Western Asia. The Arab L ...

Arab League
and the
Organisation of Islamic Cooperation The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC; ar, منظمة التعاون الإسلامي, Munaẓẓama at-Taʿāwun al-ʾIslāmiyy; french: Organisation de la coopération islamique), formerly the Organisation of the Islamic Conference ...
in 2012. Syria continues to foster good relations with its traditional allies, Iran and Russia, who are among the few countries which have supported the Syrian government in its conflict with the
Syrian opposition The Syrian opposition ( ar, المعارضة السورية ', ) is the political structure represented by the Syrian National Coalition and associated Syrian anti-government groups with certain territorial control as an Syrian Interim Governm ...
. Syria is included in the European Union's European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) which aims at bringing the EU and its neighbors closer.


International disputes

In 1939, while Syria was still a French mandate the French ceded the Sanjak of Alexandretta to
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia an ...

Turkey
as part of a treaty of friendship in World War II. In order to facilitate this, a faulty election was done in which ethnic Turkish people, Turks who were originally from the Sanjak but lived in Adana and other areas near the border in Turkey came to vote in the elections, shifting the election in favor of secession. Through this, the Hatay Province of Turkey was formed. The move by the French was very controversial in Syria, and only five years later Syria became independent. The western two-thirds of Syria's Golan Heights region are since 1967 Israeli-occupied territories, occupied by Israel and were in 1981 Golan Heights Law, effectively annexed by
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
,* "The international community maintains that the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan is null and void and without international legal effect." . * "...occupied Syrian Golan Heights..."
The Arab Peace Initiative, 2002
, ''www.al-bab.com''. Retrieved 1 August 2010.) * In 2008, a plenary session of the United Nations General Assembly voted by 161–1 in favor of a motion on the "occupied Syrian Golan" that reaffirmed support for UN Resolution 497.

United Nations, 5 December 2008.) *"the Syrian Golan Heights territory, which Israel has occupied since 1967". Also, "the Golan Heights, a 450-square mile portion of southwestern Syria that Israel occupied during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war."
CRS Issue Brief for Congress: Syria: U.S. Relations and Bilateral Issues
Congressional Research Service. 19 January 2006)
Occupied territory: * "Israeli-occupied Golan Heights" (Central Intelligence Agency
CIA World Factbook 2010
Skyhorse Publishing Inc., 2009. p. 339. .) * "...the United States considers the Golan Heights to be occupied territory subject to negotiation and Israeli withdrawal..."
"CRS Issue Brief for Congress: Israeli-United States Relations"
Congressional Research Service, 5 April 2002. pg. 5. Retrieved 1 August 2010.) * "Occupied Golan Heights"
Travel advice: Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories
, UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Retrieved 1 August 2010.) * "In the ICRC's view, the Golan is an occupied territory."
ICRC activities in the occupied Golan during 2007
International Committee of the Red Cross, 24 April 2008.)
whereas the eastern third is controlled by Syria, with the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force, UNDOF maintaining a buffer zone in between, to implement the ceasefire of the Purple Line (ceasefire line), Purple Line. Israel's 1981 Golan annexation law is not recognized in international law. The UN Security Council condemned it in Resolution 497 (1981) as "null and void and without international legal effect." Since then, General Assembly resolutions on "The Occupied Syrian Golan" reaffirm the illegality of Israeli occupation and annexation. The Syrian government continues to demand the return of this territory. The only remaining land Syria has in the Golan is a strip of territory which contains the abandoned city of Quneitra, the governorate's de facto capital Madinat al-Baath and many small villages, mostly populated by Circassians such as Beer Ajam and Hader, Quneitra Governorate, Hader. In March 2019, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the United States will recognize Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights. In early 1976, Syria entered Lebanon, beginning their twenty-nine-year military presence. Syria entered on the invitation of Suleiman Franjieh, the Maronite Christian president at the time to help aid the Lebanese Christian militias against the Palestinian militias. Over the following 15 years of Lebanese Civil War, civil war, Syria fought for control over Lebanon. The Syrian military remained in Lebanon until 26 April 2005 in response to domestic and international pressure after the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri. Another disputed territory is the Shebaa farms, located in the intersection of the Lebanese-Syrian border and the Israeli occupied Golan Heights. The farms, which are 11 km long and about 3 kilometers wide were occupied by Israel in 1981, along with rest of the Golan Heights. Yet following Syrian army advances the Israeli occupation ended and Syria became the de facto ruling power over the farms. Yet after Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, Hezbollah claimed that the withdrawal was not complete because Shebaa was on Lebanese – not Syrian – territory. After studying 81 different maps, the United Nations concluded that there is no evidence of the abandoned farmlands being Lebanese. Nevertheless, Lebanon has continued to claim ownership of the territory.


Human rights

The situation for human rights in Syria has long been a significant concern among independent organizations such as Human Rights Watch, who in 2010 referred to the country's record as "among the worst in the world." The US State Department funded Freedom House ranked Syria "Not Free" in its annual Freedom in the World survey. The authorities are accused of arresting democracy and human rights activists, censorship, censoring websites, detaining bloggers, and imposing travel bans. Arbitrary detention, torture, and disappearances are widespread. Although Syria's constitution guarantees gender equality, critics say that personal statutes laws and the penal code discriminate against women and girls. Moreover, it also grants leniency for so-called 'Honour killing'. As of 9 November 2011 during the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, the United Nations reported that of the over 3500 total deaths, over 250 deaths were children as young as two years old, and that boys as young as 11 years old have been gang-raped by security services officers. Free Syrian Army, People opposing President Assad's rule claim that more than 200, mostly civilians, were massacred and about 300 injured in Hama in shelling by the Government forces on 12 July 2012. In August 2013, the government was suspected of using chemical weapons against its civilians. US Secretary of State John Kerry said it was "undeniable" that chemical weapons had been used in the country and that President Bashar al-Assad's forces had committed a "moral obscenity" against his own people. "Make no mistake," Kerry said. "President Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world's most heinous weapon against the world's most vulnerable people. Nothing today is more serious, and nothing is receiving more serious scrutiny". The Emergency Law, effectively suspending most constitutional protections, was in effect from 1963 until 21 April 2011. It was justified by the government in the light of the continuing war with Israel over the Golan Heights. In August 2014, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay criticized the international community over its "paralysis" in dealing with the more than 3-year-old Syrian Civil War, civil war gripping the country, which by 30 April 2014, had resulted in 191,369 deaths with war crimes, according to Pillay, being committed with total impunity on all sides in the conflict. Minority Alawites and
Christians Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of ...

Christians
are being increasingly targeted by Islamists and other groups fighting in the Syrian civil war. In April 2017, the U.S. Navy carried out a 2017 Shayrat missile strike, missile attack against a Syrian air base which had allegedly been used to conduct a Khan Shaykhun chemical attack, chemical weapons attack on Syrian civilians, according to the US government.


Administrative divisions

Syria is divided into 14 Governorates of Syria, governorates, which are sub-divided into 61 Districts of Syria, districts, which are further divided into sub-districts. The Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, while de facto autonomous, is not recognized by the country as such.


Agrarian reform

Agrarian reform measures were introduced into Syria which consisted of three interrelated programs: Legislation regulation the relationship between agriculture laborers and landowners: legislation governing the ownership and use of private and state domain land and directing the economic organization of peasants; and measures reorganizing agricultural production under state control. Despite high levels of inequality in land ownership these reforms allowed for progress in redistribution of land from 1958 to 1961 than any other reforms in Syria's history, since independence. The first law passed (Law 134; passed 4 September 1958) in response to concern about peasant mobilization and expanding peasants' rights.Heydemann, Steven. Authoritarianism in Syria. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1999. Print. This was designed to strengthen the position of sharecroppers and agricultural laborers in relation to land owners. This law led to the creation of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, which announced the implementation of new laws that would allow the regulation of working condition especially for women and adolescents, set hours of work, and introduce the principle of minimum wage for paid laborers and an equitable division of harvest for sharecroppers. Furthermore, it obligated landlords to honor both written and oral contracts, established collective bargaining, contained provisions for workers' compensation, health, housing, and employment services. Law 134 was not designed strictly to protect workers. It also acknowledged the rights of landlords to form their own syndicates.


Internet and telecommunications

Telecommunications in Syria are overseen by the Ministry of Communications and Technology (Syria), Ministry of Communications and Technology. In addition, Syrian Telecom plays an integral role in the distribution of government internet access. The Syrian Electronic Army serves as a pro-government military faction in cyberspace and has been long considered an enemy of the Hacktivism, hacktivist group Anonymous (group), Anonymous. Because of internet censorship laws, 13,000 internet Activism, activists were arrested between March 2011 and August 2012.


Economy

, the Syrian economy relies upon inherently unreliable revenue sources such as dwindling customs and income taxes which are heavily bolstered by lines of credit from Iran. Iran is believed to spend between $6 billion and US$20 billion a year on Syria during the Syrian Civil War. The Syrian economy has contracted 60% and the Syrian pound has lost 80% of its value, with the economy becoming part State-owned enterprise, state-owned and part war economy. At the outset of the ongoing Syrian Civil War, Syria was classified by the World Bank as a "lower middle income country." In 2010, Syria remained dependent on the oil and agriculture sectors. The oil sector provided about 40% of export earnings. Proven Offshore drilling, offshore expeditions have indicated that large sums of oil exist on the Mediterranean Sea floor between Syria and Cyprus. The agriculture sector contributes to about 20% of GDP and 20% of employment. Oil reserves are expected to decrease in the coming years and Syria has already become a net oil importer. Since the civil war began, the economy shrank by 35%, and the Syrian pound has fallen to one-sixth of its prewar value. The government increasingly relies on credit from Iran, Russia and China. The economy is highly regulated by the government, which has increased subsidies and tightened trade controls to assuage protesters and protect foreign currency reserves. Long-run economic constraints include foreign trade barriers, declining oil production, high unemployment, rising budget deficits, and increasing pressure on water supplies caused by heavy use in agriculture, rapid population growth, industrial expansion, and water pollution. The UNDP announced in 2005 that 30% of the Syrian population lives in poverty and 11.4% live below the subsistence level. Syria's share in global exports has eroded gradually since 2001. The real per capita GDP growth was just 2.5% per year in the 2000–2008 period. Unemployment is high at above 10%. Poverty rates have increased from 11% in 2004 to 12.3% in 2007. In 2007, Syria's main exports include crude oil, refined products, raw cotton, clothing, fruits, and grains. The bulk of Syrian imports are raw materials essential for industry, vehicles, agricultural equipment, and heavy machinery. Earnings from oil exports as well as remittances from Syrian workers are the government's most important sources of foreign exchange. Political instability poses a significant threat to future economic development. Foreign investment is constrained by violence, government restrictions, economic sanctions, and international isolation. Syria's economy also remains hobbled by state bureaucracy, falling oil production, rising budget deficits, and inflation. Prior to the civil war in 2011, the government hoped to attract new investment in the tourism, natural gas, and service sectors to diversify its economy and reduce its dependence on oil and agriculture. The government began to institute economic reforms aimed at liberalizing most markets, but those reforms were slow and ad hoc, and have been completely reversed since the outbreak of conflict in 2011. , because of the ongoing Syrian civil war, the value of Syria's overall exports has been slashed by two-thirds, from the figure of US$12 billion in 2010 to only US$4 billion in 2012. Syria's GDP declined by over 3% in 2011, and is expected to further decline by 20% in 2012. , Syria's oil and tourism industries in particular have been devastated, with US$5 billion lost to the ongoing conflict of the civil war. Reconstruction needed because of the ongoing civil war will cost as much as US$10 billion. Sanctions have sapped the government's finance. US and European Union bans on oil imports, which went into effect in 2012, are estimated to cost Syria about $400 million a month. Revenues from tourism have dropped dramatically, with hotel occupancy rates falling from 90% before the war to less than 15% in May 2012. Around 40% of all employees in the tourism sector have lost their jobs since the beginning of the war. In May 2015, ISIS captured Syria's phosphate mines, one of the Syrian governments last chief sources of income. The following month, ISIS blew up a gas pipeline to Damascus that was used to generate heating and electricity in Damascus and Homs; "the name of its game for now is denial of key resources to the regime" an analyst stated. In addition, ISIS was closing in on Shaer gas field and three other facilities in the area—Hayan, Jihar and Ebla—with the loss of these western gas fields having the potential to cause Iran to further subsidize the Syrian government. Syria is home to a burgeoning Prohibition of drugs, illegal drugs industry run by associates and relatives of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assar. It mainly produces captagon, an addictive amphetamine popular in the Arab world. As of 2021, the export of illegal drugs eclipsed the country's legal exports, leading the ''New York Times'' to call Syria "the world’s newest Narco-state, narcostate". The drug exports allow the Syrian government to generate hard currency and to bypass Western sanctions.


Petroleum industry

Syria's petroleum industry has been subject to sharp decline. In September 2014, ISIS was producing more oil than the government at compared to the government's with the Syrian Oil Ministry stating that by the end of 2014, oil production had plunged further to ; ISIS has since captured a further oil field, leading to a projected oil production of . In the third year of the Syrian Civil War, the deputy economy minister Salman Hayan stated that Syria's two main oil refineries were operating at less than 10% capacity. Historically, the country produced heavy-grade oil from fields located in the northeast since the late 1960s. In the early 1980s, light-grade, low-sulphur oil was discovered near Deir ez-Zor in eastern Syria. Syria's rate of oil production has decreased dramatically from a peak close to (bpd) in 1995 down to less than in 2012. Since 2012 the production has decreased even more, reaching in 2014 (bpd). Official figures quantity the production in 2015 at , but those figures have to be taken with precaution because it is difficult to estimate the oil that is currently produced in the rebel held areas. Prior to the uprising, more than 90% of Syrian oil exports were to EU countries, with the remainder going to Turkey. Oil and gas revenues constituted in 2012 around 20% of total GDP and 25% of total government revenue.


Transport

Syria has four international airports (Damascus, Aleppo, Lattakia and Kamishly), which serve as hubs for Syrian Air and are also served by a variety of foreign carriers. The majority of Syrian cargo is carried by Syrian Railways (the Syrian railway company), which links up with Turkish State Railways (the Turkish counterpart). For a relatively underdeveloped country, Syria's railway infrastructure is well maintained with many express services and modern trains. The road network in Syria is long, including of expressways. The country also has of navigable but not economically significant waterways.


Water supply and sanitation

Syria is a semiarid country with scarce water resources. The largest water consuming sector in Syria is agriculture. Domestic water use stands at only about 9% of total water use.M. Salman & W. Mulla. The Utilization of Water Resources for Agriculture in Syria: Analysis of Current Situation and Future Challenge

/ref> A big challenge for Syria before the civilwar was its high population growth (in 2006 the growth rate was 2.7%), leading to rapidly increasing demand for urban and industrial water.World Bank (2001). Syrian Arab Republic Irrigation Sector Report. Rural Development, Water and Environment Group, Middle East and North Africa Region, Report No. 22602-SY

/ref>


Demographics

Most people live in the Euphrates River valley and along the coastal plain, a fertile strip between the coastal mountains and the desert. Overall population density in Syria before the Civil War was about 99 per square kilometre (258 per square mile). According to the ''World Refugee Survey 2008'', published by the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Syria hosted a population of refugees and asylum seekers numbering approximately 1,852,300. The vast majority of this population was from Iraq (1,300,000), but sizeable populations from
Palestine Palestine ( or ) most often refers to: * State of Palestine, a ''de jure'' sovereign state in the Middle East * Palestine (region), a geographical and historical region in the Middle East Palestine may also refer to: * Palestinian National Aut ...
(543,400) and Somalia (5,200) also lived in the country. In what the UN has described as "the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era", by 2014 about 9.5 million Syrians, half the population, had been displaced since the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War in March 2011; 4 million were outside the country as Refugees of the Syrian civil war, refugees. By 2020, the UN estimated that over 5.5 million Syrians were living as refugees in the region, and 6.1 million others were internally displaced.


Ethnic groups

Syrians are an overall indigenous
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
ine people, closely related to their immediate neighbors, such as Lebanese people, Lebanese, Palestinians, Demographics of Jordan, Jordanians and Jews. Syria has a population of approximately 18,500,000 (2019 estimate). Syrian people, Syrian Arabs, together with some 600,000 Palestinians in Syria, Palestinian not including the 6 million refugees outside the country. Arabs make up roughly 74% of the population. The indigenous
Assyrians Assyrian may refer to: * Assyria, a major Mesopotamian kingdom and empire * Assyrian people, an ethnic group indigenous to the Middle East * Assyrian Church (disambiguation) * Assyrian language (disambiguation) * SS Assyrian, SS ''Assyrian'', seve ...
and Western Neo-Aramaic, Western Aramaic-speakers number around 400,000 people, with the Western Aramaic-speakers living mainly in the villages of Ma'loula, Jubb'adin and Al-Sarkha (Bakhah), Bakh'a, while the Assyrians mainly reside in the north and northeast (Homs, Aleppo, Qamishli, Hasakah). Many (particularly the Assyrian group) still retain several Neo-Aramaic dialects as spoken and written languages. The second-largest ethnic group in Syria are the
Kurds Kurds ( ku, کورد ,Kurd, italic=yes, rtl=yes) or Kurdish people are an Iranian Iranian may refer to: * Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran ( fa, جمهوری اسلامی ...
. They constitute about 9% to 10% of the population, or approximately 1.6 million people (including 40,000 Yazidis in Syria, Yazidis). Most Kurds reside in the northeastern corner of Syria and most speak the Kurmanji variant of the Kurdish language. The third largest ethnic group are the Turkish language, Turkish-speaking Syrian Turkmen/Turkoman. There are no reliable estimates of their total population, with estimates ranging from several hundred thousand to 3.5 million. The fourth largest ethnic group are the Syrian-Assyrians, Assyrians (3–4%), followed by the
Circassians The Circassians (also referred to as Cherkess or Adyghe; ; ) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certai ...
(1.5%) and the
Armenians Armenians ( hy, հայեր, ''Romanization of Armenian, hayer'' ) are an ethnic group native to the Armenian Highlands of Western Asia. Armenians constitute the main population of Armenia and the ''de facto'' independent Republic of Artsakh, A ...
(1%), most of which are the descendants of refugees who arrived in Syria during the Armenian genocide. Syria holds the Armenian diaspora, 7th largest Armenian population in the world. They are mainly gathered in Aleppo, Qamishli, Damascus and Kesab. There are also smaller ethnic minority groups, such as the Albanians, Bosnians, Georgians,
Greeks The Greeks or Hellenes (; el, Έλληνες, ''Éllines'' ) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has cer ...
, Persians, Pashtuns and Russians. However, most of these ethnic minorities have become Arabized to some degree, particularly those who practice the Muslim faith. The largest concentration of the Syrian diaspora outside the Arab world is in Brazil, which has millions of people of Arab and other Near Eastern ancestries. Brazil is the first country in the Americas to offer humanitarian visas to Syrian refugees. The majority of Arab Argentines are from either Lebanese or Syrian background.


Religion

Sunni Muslims make up between 69 and 74% of Syria's population and Sunni Arabs account for 59–60% of the population. Most Kurds (8.5%) and most Turkoman (3%) are Sunni and account for the difference between Sunnis and Sunni Arabs, while 13% of Syrians are Shia Muslims (particularly Alawite, Twelvers, and Ismailis but there are also Arabs, Kurds and Turkoman), 10% Christian (the majority are Antiochian Greek Orthodox, the rest are Syrian Orthodox, Greek Catholic and other Catholic Rites, Assyrian Church of the East, Armenian Orthodox, Protestants and other denominations), and 3% Druze. Druze number around 500,000, and concentrate mainly in the southern area of Jabal al-Druze. President Bashar al-Assad's family is Alawite and Alawites dominate the government of Syria and hold key military positions. In May 2013, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, SOHR stated that out of 94,000 killed during the Syrian Civil War, at least 41,000 were Alawites. Christians (1.2 million), a sizable number of whom are found among Syria's population of Palestinians, Palestinian refugees, are divided into several sects: Council of Chalcedon, Chalcedonian Antiochian Orthodox Church, Antiochian Orthodox make up 45.7% of the Christian population; the Catholics (Melkite Greek Catholic Church, Melkite, Armenian Catholic Church, Armenian Catholic, Syriac Catholic Church, Syriac Catholic, Maronite Church, Maronite, Chaldean Catholic Church, Chaldean Catholic and Latin liturgical rites, Latin) make up 16.2%; the Armenian Apostolic Church 10.9%, the Syriac Orthodox Church, Syriac Orthodox make up 22.4%; Assyrian Church of the East and several smaller Christian denominations account for the remainder. Many Christian List of Monasteries in Syria, monasteries also exist. Many Christian Syrians belong to a high socio-economic class. Syria was once home to a substantial population of History of the Jews in Syria, Jews, with large communities in Damascus, Aleppo, and Qamishii. Due to a combination of persecution in Syria and opportunities elsewhere, the Jews began to emigrate in the second half of the 19th century to Great Britain, the United States, and Israel. The process was completed with the establishment of the Israel, State of Israel in 1948. Today only a few Jews remain in Syria.


Languages

Modern Standard Arabic, Arabic is the official language of the country. Several modern Varieties of Arabic, Arabic dialects are used in everyday life, most notably Levantine Arabic, Levantine in the west and Mesopotamian Arabic, Mesopotamian in the northeast. According to ''The Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics'', in addition to Arabic, the following languages are spoken in the country, in order of the number of speakers: Kurdish language, Kurdish, Turkish language, Turkish, Neo-Aramaic (four dialects), Circassian language, Circassian, Chechen language, Chechen, Armenian language, Armenian, and finally Greek language, Greek. However, none of these minority languages have official status. Aramaic language, Aramaic was the
lingua franca A lingua franca (; ; for plurals see ), also known as a bridge language, common language, trade language, auxiliary language, vehicular language, or link language, is a language or dialect The term dialect (from , , from the word , 'disco ...
of the region before the advent of Classical Arabic, Arabic, and is still spoken among
Assyrians Assyrian may refer to: * Assyria, a major Mesopotamian kingdom and empire * Assyrian people, an ethnic group indigenous to the Middle East * Assyrian Church (disambiguation) * Assyrian language (disambiguation) * SS Assyrian, SS ''Assyrian'', seve ...
, and Syriac language, Classical Syriac is still used as the liturgical language of Syriac Christianity, various Syriac Christian denominations. Most remarkably, Western Neo-Aramaic is still spoken in the village of Ma'loula as well as two neighboring villages, northeast of Damascus. English and French are widely spoken as second languages, but English is more often used.


Largest cities


Culture

Syria is a traditional society with a long cultural history. Importance is placed on family, religion, education, self-discipline and respect. Syrians' taste for the traditional arts is expressed in dances such as the al-Samah, the Dabkeh in all their variations, and the sword dance. Marriage ceremonies and the births of children are occasions for the lively demonstration of folk customs.


Literature

The literature of Syria has contributed to Arabic literature and has a proud tradition of oral and written poetry. Syrian writers, many of whom migrated to Egypt, played a crucial role in the nahda or Arab literary and cultural revival of the 19th century. Prominent contemporary Syrian writers include, among others, Ali Ahmad Said, Adonis, Muhammad al-Maghut, Muhammad Maghout, Haidar Haidar, Ghada al-Samman, Nizar Qabbani and Zakariyya Tamer. Ba'ath Party rule, since the 1966 Syrian coup d'état, 1966 coup, has brought about renewed censorship. In this context, the genre of the historical novel, spearheaded by Nabil Sulayman, Fawwaz Haddad, Khyri al-Dhahabi and Nihad Siris, is sometimes used as a means of expressing dissent, critiquing the present through a depiction of the past. Syrian List of folklores, folk narrative, as a subgenre of historical fiction, is imbued with magical realism, and is also used as a means of veiled criticism of the present. Salim Barakat, a Syrian émigré living in Sweden, is one of the leading figures of the genre. Contemporary Syrian literature also encompasses science fiction and futuristic utopiae (Nuhad Sharif, Talib Umran), which may also serve as media of dissent.


Music

The Syrian music scene, in particular that of Damascus, has long been among the Arab world's most important, especially in the field of classical Arab music. Syria has produced several pan-Arab stars, including Asmahan, Farid al-Atrash and singer Lena Chamamyan. The city of Aleppo is known for its muwashshah, a form of Andalous sung poetry popularized by Sabri Moudallal, as well as for popular stars like Sabah Fakhri.


Media

Television in Syria, Television was introduced to Syria and Egypt in 1960, when both were part of the
United Arab Republic The United Arab Republic (UAR; ar, الجمهورية العربية المتحدة, al-Jumhūrīyah al-'Arabīyah al-Muttaḥidah) was a sovereign state in the Middle East from 1958 until 1971. It was initially a political union between Re ...

United Arab Republic
. It broadcast in black and white until 1976. Syrian soap operas have considerable market penetration throughout the eastern Arab world. Nearly all of Media of Syria, Syria's media outlets are state-owned, and the Ba'ath Party controls nearly all newspapers. The authorities operate several intelligence agencies, among them Military Intelligence (Syria), Shu'bat al-Mukhabarat al-'Askariyya, employing many operatives. During the Syrian Civil War many of Syria's artists, poets, writers and activists have been incarcerated, and some have been killed, including famed cartoonist Akram Raslam.


Sports

The most popular sports in Syria are Association football, football, basketball, swimming, and tennis. Damascus was home to the fifth and seventh Pan Arab Games.


Cuisine

Syrian cuisine is rich and varied in its ingredients, linked to the regions of Syria where a specific dish has originated. Syrian food mostly consists of Southern Mediterranean, Greek, and Southwest Asian dishes. Some Syrian dishes also evolved from Turkish and French cooking: dishes like Kebab, shish kebab, stuffed zucchini/courgette, and ''dolma, yabraʾ'' (stuffed grape leaves, the word ''yabraʾ'' deriving from the Turkish language, Turkish word ''yaprak'', meaning leaf). The main dishes that form Syrian cuisine are kibbeh, hummus, tabbouleh, fattoush, strained yogurt, labneh, shawarma, mujaddara, shanklish, pastırma, sujuk and baklava. Baklava is made of filo pastry filled with chopped nuts and soaked in honey. Syrians often serve selections of appetizers, known as meze, before the main course. Za'atar, minced beef, and cheese manakish are popular hors d'œuvres. The Arabic flatbread khubz is always eaten together with meze. Drinks in Syria vary, depending on the time of day and the occasion. Arabic coffee is the most well-known hot drink, usually prepared in the morning at breakfast or in the evening. It is usually served for guests or after food. Arak (distilled beverage), Arak, an alcoholic drink, is a well-known beverage, served mostly on special occasions. Other Syrian beverages include ayran, jallab, white coffee, and a locally manufactured beer called Al Shark.


Education

Education is free and compulsory from ages 6 to 12. Schooling consists of 6 years of primary education followed by a 3-year general or vocational training period and a 3-year academic or vocational program. The second 3-year period of academic training is required for university University and college admissions, admission. Total enrollment at post-secondary schools is over 150,000. The literacy rate of Syrians aged 15 and older is 90.7% for males and 82.2% for females. Since 1967, all schools, colleges, and universities have been under close government supervision by the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party – Syria Region, Ba'ath Party. There are 6 state universities in Syria and 15 private universities. The top two state universities are Damascus University (210,000 students as of 2014) and University of Aleppo. The top private universities in Syria are: Syrian Private University, Arab International University, University of Kalamoon and International University for Science and Technology. There are also many higher institutes in Syria, like the Higher Institute of Business Administration, which offer undergraduate and graduate programs in business. According to the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, the top-ranking universities in the country are Damascus University (3540th worldwide), the University of Aleppo (7176th) and Tishreen University (7968th).


Health

In 2010, spending on healthcare accounted for 3.4% of the country's GDP. In 2008, there were 14.9 physicians and 18.5 nurses per 10,000 inhabitants. The life expectancy at birth was 75.7 years in 2010, or 74.2 years for males and 77.3 years for females.


See also

* Index of Syria-related articles * International recognition of the Syrian National Council


References


Notes


Citations


General references

*Boczek, Boleslaw Adam (2006). ''International Law: A Dictionary''. Scarecrow Press. * * . *Karoubi, Mohammad Taghi (2004). ''Just or Unjust War?'' Ashgate Publishing * .
Orsam Suriye Türkleri Raporu-Orsam Syria Turks


Further reading

* . * * . * * * * . *


External links


Syria
''The World Factbook''. Central Intelligence Agency. * *
Syria profile
from the BBC News * * {{Authority control Syria, Arabic-speaking countries and territories Kurdish-speaking countries and territories Eastern Mediterranean Levant Member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Member states of the Union for the Mediterranean Member states of the United Nations Middle Eastern countries Near Eastern countries Places in the deuterocanonical books States and territories established in 1946 Western Asian countries 1946 establishments in Asia Countries in Asia