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Coordinates: 35°N 38°E / 35°N 38°E / 35; 38

Syrian Arab
Arab
Republic الجمهورية العربية السورية (Arabic) al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-Sūrīyah

Flag

Coat of arms

Anthem: "حماة الديار" (Arabic) Humat ad-Diyar Guardians of the Homeland

Capital and largest city Damascus 33°30′N 36°18′E / 33.500°N 36.300°E / 33.500; 36.300

Official languages Arabic

Ethnic groups

Syrian Arabs Arameans Kurds Turkomans Assyrians Circassians Armenians

Religion 87% Islam 10% Christianity 3% Druzism[1]

Government Unitary dominant-party semi-presidential republic[2]

• President

Bashar al-Assad

• Prime Minister

Imad Khamis

• Speaker of the People's Council

Hammouda Sabbagh

Legislature People's Council

Establishment

• Proclamation of Arab
Arab
Kingdom of Syria

8 March 1920

•  State of Syria
State of Syria
established under French Mandate

1 December 1924

• Syrian Republic
Republic
established by merger of States of Jabal Druze, Alawites
Alawites
and Syria

1930

• Independence (Joint UN / French Mandate ended)

24 October 1945

• Last French troops leave

17 April 1946

•  Secession
Secession
from the United Arab
Arab
Republic

28 September 1961

• Ba'ath party takes power

8 March 1963

• Current constitution

27 February 2012

Area

• Total

185,180[3] km2 (71,500 sq mi) (87th)

• Water (%)

1.1

Population

• July 2014 estimate

17,064,854[4] (54th)

• Density

118.3/km2 (306.4/sq mi) (101st)

GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate

• Total

$107.831 billion[5]

• Per capita

$5,040[5]

GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate

• Total

$59.957 billion[5]

• Per capita

$2,802[5]

Gini (2014) 55.8[6] high

HDI (2016)  0.536[7] low · 149th

Currency Syrian pound
Syrian pound
(SYP)

Time zone EET (UTC+2)

• Summer (DST)

EEST (UTC+3)

Drives on the right

Calling code +963

ISO 3166 code SY

Internet TLD .sy سوريا.

Syria
Syria
(Arabic: سوريا‎ Sūriyā), officially known as the Syrian Arab
Arab
Republic
Republic
(Arabic: الجمهورية العربية السورية‎ al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-Sūrīyah), is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon
Lebanon
and the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
Sea to the west, Turkey
Turkey
to the north, Iraq
Iraq
to the east, Jordan
Jordan
to the south, and Israel
Israel
to the southwest. The western two-thirds of Syria's Golan Heights
Golan Heights
are since 1967 occupied by Israel
Israel
and were in 1981 effectively annexed by Israel,[8][9] whereas the eastern third is controlled by Syria, with the UNDOF maintaining a buffer zone in between, to implement the ceasefire of the Purple Line. Israel's 1981 Golan annexation law is not recognised 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.[10] Syria's capital and largest city is Damascus. A country of fertile plains, high mountains, and deserts, Syria
Syria
is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including Syrian Arabs, Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians, Kurds, Circassians,[11] Mandeans[12] and Turks. Religious groups include Sunnis, Christians, Alawites, Druze, Isma'ilis, Mandeans, Shiites, Salafis, Yazidis, and Jews. Sunni
Sunni
make up the largest religious group in Syria. In English, the name "Syria" was formerly synonymous with the Levant (known in Arabic as al-Sham), while the modern state encompasses the sites of several ancient kingdoms and empires, including the Eblan civilization of the 3rd millennium BC. Its capital Damascus
Damascus
and largest city Aleppo
Aleppo
are among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.[13] In the Islamic
Islamic
era, Damascus
Damascus
was the seat of the Umayyad Caliphate
Umayyad Caliphate
and a provincial capital of the Mamluk Sultanate in Egypt. The modern Syrian state was established after the end of centuries of Ottoman control in World War I
World War I
as a French mandate, and represented the largest Arab
Arab
state to emerge from the formerly Ottoman-ruled Arab Levant. It gained independence as a parliamentary republic on 24 October 1945 when Syria
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, and a large number of military coups and coup attempts shook the country in the period 1949–71. In 1958, Syria
Syria
entered a brief union with Egypt
Egypt
called the United Arab
Arab
Republic, which was terminated by the 1961 Syrian coup d'état. The Arab
Arab
Republic
Republic
of Syria
Syria
came into being in late 1961 after December 1 constitutional referendum, and was increasingly unstable until the Ba'athist coup d'état, since which the Ba'ath Party
Ba'ath Party
has maintained its power. Syria
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,[14] who was in office from 1971 to 2000. Syria
Syria
is an unitary republic consisting of 14 governorates and is the only country that politically espouses Ba'athism. It is a member of one international organization other than the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement; it has become suspended from the Arab League
Arab League
on November 2011[15] and the Organisation of Islamic
Islamic
Cooperation,[16] and self-suspended from the Union for the Mediterranean.[17] Since March 2011, Syria
Syria
has been embroiled in an armed conflict, with a number of countries in the region and beyond being involved militarily or otherwise. As a result, a number of self-proclaimed political entities have since emerged on Syria′s territory, including the Syrian opposition, Rojava, Tahrir al-Sham
Tahrir al-Sham
and Islamic
Islamic
State of Iraq
Iraq
and the Levant. Syria
Syria
is ranked last on the Global Peace Index, making it the most violent country in the world due to the war, although life does continue on normally for most of its citizens as of December 2017. The war caused 470,000 victims (February 2016 SCPR estimate),[18] 7.6 million internally displaced people (July 2015 UNHCR
UNHCR
estimate) and over 5 million refugees (July 2017 registered by UNHCR),[19] making population assessment difficult in recent years.

Contents

1 Etymology 2 History

2.1 Ancient antiquity

2.1.1 Eblaites and Amorites 2.1.2 Arameans
Arameans
and Phoenicians

2.2 Classical antiquity 2.3 Middle Ages

2.3.1 During Muhammad's era 2.3.2 Islamic
Islamic
Syria
Syria
(al-Sham) 2.3.3 Crusaders, Ayubids, Mamluks and Nizaris

2.4 Ottoman Syria 2.5 French Mandate 2.6 Independent Syrian Republic 2.7 Ba'athist Syria 2.8 Syrian Civil War

3 Geography 4 Politics and government

4.1 Human rights 4.2 Military 4.3 Foreign relations

4.3.1 International disputes

4.4 Administrative divisions 4.5 Agrarian reform 4.6 Internet and telecommunications

5 Economy

5.1 Petroleum industry 5.2 Transport 5.3 Water supply and sanitation

6 Demographics

6.1 Ethnic groups 6.2 Religion 6.3 Languages 6.4 Largest cities

7 Culture

7.1 Arts 7.2 Music 7.3 Media 7.4 Sports 7.5 Cuisine

8 Education 9 Health 10 See also 11 References 12 Further reading 13 External links

Etymology Main article: Name of Syria Several sources indicate that the name Syria
Syria
is derived from the 8th century BC Luwian
Luwian
term "Sura/i", and the derivative ancient Greek name: Σύριοι, Sýrioi, or Σύροι, Sýroi, both of which originally derived from Aššūrāyu (Assyria) in northern Mesopotamia.[20][21] However, from the Seleucid Empire
Seleucid Empire
(323–150 BC), this term was also applied to The Levant, and from this point the Greeks
Greeks
applied the term without distinction between the Assyrians of Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
and Arameans
Arameans
of the Levant.[22][23] Mainstream modern academic opinion strongly favours the argument that the Greek word is related to the cognate Ἀσσυρία, Assyria, ultimately derived from the Akkadian
Akkadian
Aššur.[24] The Greek name appears to correspond to Phoenician ʾšr "Assur", ʾšrym "Assyrians", recorded in the 8th century BC Çineköy inscription.[25] The area designated by the word has changed over time. Classically, Syria
Syria
lies at the eastern end of the Mediterranean, between Arabia
Arabia
to the south and Asia Minor
Asia Minor
to the north, stretching inland to include parts of Iraq, and having an uncertain border to the northeast that Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
describes as including, from west to east, Commagene, Sophene, and Adiabene.[26] By Pliny's time, however, this larger Syria
Syria
had been divided into a number of provinces under the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
(but politically independent from each other): Judaea, later renamed Palaestina in AD 135 (the region corresponding to modern-day Israel, the Palestinian Territories, and Jordan) in the extreme southwest; Phoenice (established in 194 AD) corresponding to modern Lebanon, Damascus
Damascus
and Homs
Homs
regions; Coele-Syria
Coele-Syria
(or "Hollow Syria") south of the Eleutheris river, and Iraq.[27] History Main article: History of Syria Ancient antiquity

Female figurine, 5000 BC. Ancient Orient Museum.

God head, the kingdom of Yamhad
Yamhad
(c. 1600 BC).[28]

Since approximately 10,000 BC, Syria
Syria
was one of centers of Neolithic culture (known as Pre-Pottery Neolithic
Neolithic
A) where agriculture and cattle breeding appeared for the first time in the world. The following Neolithic
Neolithic
period (PPNB) is represented by rectangular houses of Mureybet
Mureybet
culture. At the time of the pre-pottery Neolithic, people used vessels made of stone, gyps and burnt lime (Vaisselle blanche). Finds of obsidian tools from Anatolia
Anatolia
are evidences of early trade relations. Cities of Hamoukar
Hamoukar
and Emar
Emar
played an important role during the late Neolithic
Neolithic
and Bronze Age. Archaeologists have demonstrated that civilization in Syria
Syria
was one of the most ancient on earth, perhaps preceded by only those of Mesopotamia. Eblaites and Amorites

Ebla
Ebla
royal palace c. 2400 BC

Main articles: Amorite; Ugarit; Ebla; Yamhad; Qatna; and Mari, Syria The earliest recorded indigenous civilisation in the region was the Kingdom of Ebla[29] near present-day Idlib, northern Syria. Ebla appears to have been founded around 3500 BC,[30][31][32][33][34] and gradually built its fortune through trade with the Mesopotamian
Mesopotamian
states of Sumer, Assyria, and Akkad, as well as with the Hurrian
Hurrian
and Hattian peoples to the northwest, in Asia
Asia
Minor.[35] Gifts from Pharaohs, found during excavations, confirm Ebla's contact with Egypt. One of the earliest written texts from Syria
Syria
is a trading agreement between Vizier Ibrium of Ebla
Ebla
and an ambiguous kingdom called Abarsal c. 2300 BC.[36][37] Scholars believe the language of Ebla
Ebla
to be among the oldest known written Semitic languages
Semitic languages
after Akkadian. Recent classifications of the Eblaite language
Eblaite language
have shown that it was an East Semitic language, closely related to the Akkadian
Akkadian
language.[38] Ebla
Ebla
was weakened by a long war with Mari, and the whole of Syria became part of the Mesopotamian
Mesopotamian
Akkadian
Akkadian
Empire after Sargon of Akkad and his grandson Naram-Sin's conquests ended Eblan domination over Syria
Syria
in the first half of the 23rd century BC.[39][40] By the 21st century BC, Hurrians
Hurrians
settled the northern east parts of Syria
Syria
while the rest of the region was dominated by the Amorites, Syria
Syria
was called the Land of the Amurru (Amorites) by their Assyro-Babylonian neighbors. The Northwest Semitic language of the Amorites is the earliest attested of the Canaanite languages. Mari reemerged during this period, and saw renewed prosperity until conquered by Hammurabi
Hammurabi
of Babylon. Ugarit
Ugarit
also arose during this time, circa 1800 BC, close to modern Latakia. Ugaritic was a Semitic language loosely related to the Canaanite languages, and developed the Ugaritic alphabet,[41] 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
Sea Peoples
in the 12th century BC in what was known as the Late Bronze Age Collapse which saw similar kingdoms and states witness the same destruction at the hand of the Sea Peoples. Yamhad
Yamhad
(modern Aleppo) dominated northern Syria
Syria
for two centuries,[42] although Eastern Syria
Syria
was occupied in the 19th and 18th centuries BC by the Old Assyrian Empire
Old Assyrian Empire
ruled by the Amorite
Amorite
Dynasty of Shamshi-Adad I, and by the Babylonian Empire
Babylonian Empire
which was founded by Amorites. Yamhad
Yamhad
was described in the tablets of Mari as the mightiest state in the near east and as having more vassals than Hammurabi
Hammurabi
of Babylon.[42] Yamhad
Yamhad
imposed its authority over Alalakh,[43] Qatna,[44] the Hurrians
Hurrians
states and the Euphrates
Euphrates
Valley down to the borders with Babylon.[45] The army of Yamhad
Yamhad
campaigned as far away as Dēr on the border of Elam
Elam
(modern Iran).[46] Yamhad
Yamhad
was conquered and destroyed, along with Ebla, by the Indo-European Hittites
Hittites
from Asia Minor
Asia Minor
circa 1600 BC.[47] From this time, Syria
Syria
became a battle ground for various foreign empires, these being the Hittite Empire, Mitanni
Mitanni
Empire, Egyptian Empire, Middle Assyrian Empire, and to a lesser degree Babylonia. The Egyptians initially occupied much of the south, while the Hittites, and the Mitanni, much of the north. However, Assyria
Assyria
eventually gained the upper hand, destroying the Mitanni
Mitanni
Empire and annexing huge swathes of territory previously held by the Hittites
Hittites
and Babylon. Arameans
Arameans
and Phoenicians Main articles: Arameans, Syro-Hittite
Syro-Hittite
states, and Phoenicia

Amrit
Amrit
Phoenician Temple

Reliefs from Tel Halaf
Tel Halaf
dating to the Aramean
Aramean
kingdom of Bit Bahiani

Around the 14th century BC, various Semitic peoples appeared in the area, such as the semi-nomadic Suteans who came into an unsuccessful conflict with Babylonia
Babylonia
to the east, and the West Semitic speaking Arameans
Arameans
who subsumed the earlier Amorites. They too were subjugated by Assyria
Assyria
and the Hittites
Hittites
for centuries. The Egyptians fought the Hittites
Hittites
for control over western Syria; the fighting reached its zenith in 1274 BC with the Battle of Kadesh.[48][49] The west remained part of the Hittite empire until its destruction c. 1200 BC,[50] while eastern Syria
Syria
largely became part of the Middle Assyrian Empire,[51] who also annexed much of the west during the reign of Tiglath-Pileser I 1114–1076 BC. With the destruction of the Hittites
Hittites
and the decline of Assyria
Assyria
in the late 11th century BC, the Aramean
Aramean
tribes gained control of much of the interior, founding states such as Bit Bahiani, Aram-Damascus, Hamath, Aram-Rehob, Aram-Naharaim, and Luhuti. From this point, the region became known as Aramea
Aramea
or Aram. There was also a synthesis between the Semitic Arameans
Arameans
and the remnants of the Indo-European Hittites, with the founding of a number of Syro-Hittite states
Syro-Hittite states
centered in north central Aram (Syria) and south central Asia Minor
Asia Minor
(modern Turkey), including Palistin, Carchemish
Carchemish
and Sam'al. A Canaanite group known as the Phoenicians
Phoenicians
came to dominate the coasts of Syria, (and also Lebanon
Lebanon
and northern Palestine) from the 13th century BC, founding city states such as Amrit, Simyra, Arwad, Paltos, Ramitha and Shuksi. From these coastal regions they eventually spread their influence throughout the Mediterranean, including building colonies in Malta, Sicily, the Iberian peninsula
Iberian peninsula
(modern Spain
Spain
and Portugal), the coasts of North Africa, and most significantly, founding the major city state of Carthage
Carthage
(in modern Tunisia) in the 9th century BC which was much later to become the center of a major empire, rivaling the Roman Empire. Syria
Syria
and the entire Near East
Near East
and beyond then fell to the vast Neo Assyrian Empire (911 BC – 605 BC). The Assyrians introduced Imperial Aramaic
Aramaic
as the lingua franca of their empire. This language was to remain dominant in Syria
Syria
and the entire Near East
Near East
until after the Arab Islamic
Islamic
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
Syria
and Lebanon
Lebanon
Eber-Nari. Assyrian domination ended after the Assyrians greatly weakened themselves in a series of brutal internal civil wars, followed by an attacking coalition of their former subject peoples; the Medes, Babylonians, Chaldeans, Persians, Scythians
Scythians
and Cimmerians. During the fall of Assyria, the Scythians ravaged and plundered much of Syria. The last stand of the Assyrian army was at Carchemish
Carchemish
in northern Syria
Syria
in 605 BC. The Assyrian Empire was followed by the Neo- Babylonian Empire
Babylonian Empire
(605 BC – 539 BC). During this period, Syria
Syria
became a battle ground between Babylonia
Babylonia
and another former Assyrian colony, that of Egypt. The Babylonians, like their Assyrian relations, were victorious over Egypt. Classical antiquity Main articles: Eber-Nari, Coele-Syria, Syria
Syria
(Roman province), and Syria-Palaestina

Ancient city of Palmyra

Zenobia, queen of Palmyra

The Achaemenid Empire, founded by Cyrus the Great, took Syria
Syria
from Babylonia
Babylonia
as part of its hegemony of Southwest Asia
Asia
in 539 BC. The Persians, having spent four centuries under Assyrian rule, retained Imperial Aramaic
Imperial Aramaic
as diplomatic language in the Achaemenid Empire
Achaemenid Empire
(539 BC- 330 BC), and also the Assyrian name of the satrapy of Aram/Syria Eber-Nari. Syria
Syria
was conquered by the Greek Macedonian Empire, ruled by Alexander the Great circa 330 BC, and consequently became Coele-Syria
Coele-Syria
province of the Greek Seleucid Empire
Seleucid Empire
(323 BC – 64 BC), with the Seleucid kings styling themselves 'King of Syria' and the city of Antioch
Antioch
being its capital starting from 240. Thus, it was the Greeks
Greeks
who introduced the name "Syria" to the region. Originally an Indo-European corruption of "Assyria" in northern Mesopotamia, the Greeks
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.[52] Thus in the Greco-Roman
Greco-Roman
world both the Arameans
Arameans
of Syria
Syria
and the Assyrians of Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
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
Syria
were taken by Judean
Judean
Hasmoneans
Hasmoneans
upon the slow disintegration of the Hellenistic Empire. Syria
Syria
briefly came under Armenian control from 83 BC, with the conquests of the Armenian king Tigranes the Great, who was welcomed as a savior from the Seleucids and Romans by the Syrian people. However, Pompey the Great, a general of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
rode to Syria, captured Antioch, its capital, and turned Syria
Syria
into a Roman province in 64 BC, thus ending the Armenian control over the region which had lasted two decades. Syria
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.

Roman Theatre at Bosra
Roman Theatre at Bosra
in the province of Arabia, present-day Syria

Temple of Jupiter, Damascus

Palmyra, a rich and sometimes powerful native Aramaic-speaking kingdom arose in northern Syria
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
Odaenathus
defeated the Persian emperor Shapur I
Shapur I
and controlled the entirety of the Roman East while his successor and widow Zenobia established the Palmyrene Empire, which briefly conquered Egypt, Syria, Palestine, much of Asia
Asia
Minor, Judah and Lebanon, before being finally brought under Roman control in 273 AD. The northern Mesopotamian
Mesopotamian
Assyrian kingdom of Adiabene
Adiabene
controlled areas of north east Syria
Syria
between 10 AD and 117 AD, before it was conquered by Rome.[53] The Aramaic
Aramaic
language has been found as far afield as Hadrians Wall
Hadrians Wall
in Ancient Britain, with inscriptions written by Assyrian and Aramean soldiers of the Roman Empire.[54]

The ancient city of Apamea, an important commercial centre and one of Syria's most prosperous cities in classical antiquity

Control of Syria
Syria
eventually passed from the Romans to the Byzantines, with the split in the Roman Empire.[35] The largely Aramaic-speaking population of Syria
Syria
during the heyday of the Byzantine empire was probably not exceeded again until the 19th century. Prior to the Arab
Arab
Islamic
Islamic
Conquest in the 7th century AD, the bulk of the population were Arameans, but Syria
Syria
was also home to Greek and Roman ruling classes, Assyrians still dwelt in the north east, Phoenicians
Phoenicians
along the coasts, and Jewish
Jewish
and Armenian communities was also extant in major cities, with Nabateans
Nabateans
and pre- Islamic
Islamic
Arabs
Arabs
such as the Lakhmids
Lakhmids
and Ghassanids
Ghassanids
dwelling in the deserts of southern Syria. Syriac Christianity
Syriac Christianity
had taken hold as the major religion, although others still followed Judaism, Mithraism, Manicheanism, Greco-Roman
Greco-Roman
Religion, Canaanite Religion
Canaanite Religion
and Mesopotamian
Mesopotamian
Religion. Syria's large and prosperous population made Syria
Syria
one of the most important of the Roman and Byzantine provinces, particularly during the 2nd and 3rd centuries (AD).[55]

Julia Domna, Syrian Roman empress of the Severan dynasty

Syrians
Syrians
held considerable amounts of power during the Severan dynasty. The matriarch of the family and Empress of Rome as wife of emperor Septimius Severus
Septimius Severus
was Julia Domna, a Syrian from the city of Emesa (modern day Homs), whose family held hereditary rights to the priesthood of the god El-Gabal. Her great nephews, also Arameans
Arameans
from Syria, would also become Roman Emperors, the first being Elagabalus and the second, his cousin Alexander Severus. Another Roman emperor who was a Syrian was Philip the Arab
Arab
(Marcus Julius Philippus), who was born in Roman Arabia. He was emperor from 244 to 249,[55] and ruled briefly during the Crisis of the Third Century. During his reign, he focused on his home town of Philippopolis (modern day Shahba) and began many construction projects to improve the city, most of which were halted after his death. Syria
Syria
is significant in the history of Christianity; Saulus of Tarsus, better known as the Apostle Paul, was converted on the Road to Damascus
Damascus
and emerged as a significant figure in the Christian Church at Antioch
Antioch
in ancient Syria, from which he left on many of his missionary journeys. (Acts 9:1–43) Middle Ages During Muhammad's era Main article: List of battles of Muhammad Muhammad's first interaction with the people and tribes of Syria
Syria
was during the Invasion of Dumatul Jandal in July 626 [56] where he ordered his followers to invade Duma, because Muhammad
Muhammad
received intelligence that some tribes there were involved in highway robbery and preparing to attack Medina itself.[57] William Montgomery Watt
William Montgomery Watt
claims that this was the most significant expedition Muhammad
Muhammad
ordered at the time, even though it received little notice in the primary sources. Dumat Al-Jandal
Dumat Al-Jandal
was 800 kilometres (500 mi) from Medina, and Watt says that there was no immediate threat to Muhammad, other than the possibility that his communications to Syria
Syria
and supplies to Medina being interrupted. Watt says "It is tempting to suppose that Muhammad
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".[58] William Muir
William Muir
also believes that the expedition was important as Muhammad
Muhammad
followed by 1000 men reached the confines of Syria, where distant tribes had now learnt his name, while the political horizon of Muhammad
Muhammad
was extended.[56] Islamic
Islamic
Syria
Syria
(al-Sham) Main article: Bilad al-Sham

Umayyad fresco from Qasr al-Hayr al-Gharbî, built in the early 7th century

By AD 640, Syria
Syria
was conquered by the Arab
Arab
Rashidun army
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
Umayyad dynasty
was then overthrown in 750 by the Abbasid dynasty, which moved the capital of empire to Baghdad. Arabic – made official under Umayyad rule – became the dominant language, replacing Greek and Aramaic
Aramaic
of the Byzantine era. In 887, the Egypt-based Tulunids
Tulunids
annexed Syria
Syria
from the Abbasids, and were later replaced by once the Egypt-based Ikhshidids and still later by the Hamdanids originating in Aleppo
Aleppo
founded by Sayf al-Dawla.[59] Crusaders, Ayubids, Mamluks and Nizaris

The 1299 Battle of Wadi al-Khazandar. The Mongols
Mongols
under Ghazan defeated the Mamluks.

Sections of Syria
Syria
were held by French, English, Italian and German overlords between 1098 and 1189 AD during the Crusades
Crusades
and were known collectively as the Crusader states
Crusader states
among which the primary one in Syria
Syria
was the Principality of Antioch. The coastal mountainous region was also occupied in part by the Nizari Ismailis, the so-called Assassins, who had intermittent confrontations and truces with the Crusader States. Later in history when "the Nizaris
Nizaris
faced renewed Frankish hostilities, they received timely assistance from the Ayyubids."[60] After a century of Seljuk rule, Syria
Syria
was largely conquered (1175–1185) by the Kurdish warlord Saladin, founder of the Ayyubid dynasty of Egypt. Aleppo
Aleppo
fell to the Mongols
Mongols
of Hulegu
Hulegu
in January 1260, and Damascus
Damascus
in March, but then Hulegu
Hulegu
was forced to break off his attack to return to China
China
to deal with a succession dispute. A few months later, the Mamluks arrived with an army from Egypt
Egypt
and defeated the Mongols
Mongols
in the Battle of Ain Jalut
Battle of Ain Jalut
in Galilee. The Mamluk leader, Baibars, made Damascus
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
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
Mongols
of the Ilkhanate
Ilkhanate
took the city, 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.[61] In 1400, the Muslim
Muslim
Turco-Mongol
Turco-Mongol
conqueror Timur Lenk
Timur Lenk
(Tamurlane) invaded Syria, sacked Aleppo
Aleppo
and captured Damascus
Damascus
after defeating the Mamluk army. The city's inhabitants were massacred, except for the artisans, who were deported to Samarkand. Timur-Lenk also conducted specific massacres of the Aramean
Aramean
and Assyrian Christian populations, greatly reducing their numbers.[62][63] By the end of the 15th century, the discovery of a sea route from Europe to the Far East ended the need for an overland trade route through Syria. Ottoman Syria

1803 Cedid Atlas, showing Ottoman Syria
Ottoman Syria
labelled as "Al Sham" in yellow

Main article: Ottoman Syria

Syrian women, 1683

In 1516, the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
invaded the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt, conquering Syria, and incorporating it into its empire. The Ottoman system was not burdensome to Syrians
Syrians
because the Turks respected Arabic as the language of the Quran, and accepted the mantle of defenders of the faith. Damascus
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.[64] Ottoman administration followed a system that led to peaceful coexistence. Each ethno-religious minority – Arab
Arab
Shia Muslim, Arab Sunni
Sunni
Muslim, Aramean-Syriac Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Maronite Christians, Assyrian Christians, Armenians, Kurds
Kurds
and Jews
Jews
– constituted a millet.[65] The religious heads of each community administered all personal status laws and performed certain civil functions as well.[64] In 1831, Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt
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
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
Tanzimat
reforms were applied on Ottoman Syria, carving out the provinces (vilayets) of Aleppo, Zor, Beirut and Damascus
Damascus
Vilayet; Mutasarrifate of Mount Lebanon
Lebanon
was created, as well, and soon after the Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem
Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem
was given a separate status.

Deportees of the Armenian Genocide
Armenian Genocide
of 1915

During World War I, the Ottoman Empire
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
Near East
to the British Empire
British Empire
and 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
Armenian Genocide
and Assyrian Genocide, of which Deir ez-Zor, in Ottoman Syria, was the final destination of these death marches.[66] In the midst of World War I, two Allied diplomats (Frenchman François Georges-Picot
François Georges-Picot
and 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
Jordan
to Iran. However, the discovery of oil in the region of Mosul
Mosul
just before the end of the war led to yet another negotiation with France
France
in 1918 to cede this region to 'Zone B', or the British zone of influence. This border was later recognized internationally when Syria
Syria
became a League of Nations mandate in 1920[67] and has not changed to date. French Mandate Main article: French Mandate for Syria
Syria
and Lebanon

The inauguration of President Hashim al-Atassi
Hashim al-Atassi
in 1936

In 1920, a short-lived independent Kingdom of Syria
Kingdom of Syria
was established under Faisal I
Faisal I
of the Hashemite
Hashemite
family. However, his rule over Syria ended after only a few months, following the Battle of Maysalun. French troops occupied Syria
Syria
later that year after the San Remo conference proposed that the League of Nations
League of Nations
put Syria
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 abitration that these divisions give". De Caix added "I must say only the second option interests me". This is what Gouraud did.[68][69]

Syrian rebels in Ghouta during the Great Syrian Revolt
Great Syrian Revolt
against French colonial rule in the 1920s

In 1925, Sultan al-Atrash
Sultan al-Atrash
led a revolt that broke out in the Druze Mountain and spread to engulf the whole of Syria
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
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
Morocco
and Senegal, leading the French to regain many cities, although resistance lasted until the spring of 1927. The French sentenced Sultan al-Atrash
Sultan al-Atrash
to death, but he had escaped with the rebels to Transjordan and was eventually pardoned. He returned to Syria
Syria
in 1937 after the signing of the Syrian-French Treaty. Syria
Syria
and France
France
negotiated a treaty of independence in September 1936, and Hashim al-Atassi
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
France
in 1940 during World War II, Syria came under the control of Vichy France
Vichy France
until the British and Free French occupied the country in the Syria- Lebanon
Lebanon
campaign in July 1941. Continuing pressure from Syrian nationalists and the British 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.[70] Independent Syrian Republic Main articles: Syrian Republic
Republic
(1930–58), United Arab
Arab
Republic, and 1963 Syrian coup d'état

Aleppo
Aleppo
in 1961

Upheaval dominated Syrian politics from independence through the late 1960s. In May 1948, Syrian forces invaded Palestine, together with other Arab
Arab
states, and immediately attacked Jewish
Jewish
settlements.[71] Their president Shukri al-Quwwatli
Shukri al-Quwwatli
instructed his troops in the front, “to destroy the Zionists".[72][73] The Invasion purpose was prevention of the establishment of the State of Israel.[74] 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
Arab
World[74] 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.[74] Shishakli eventually abolished multipartyism altogether, but was himself overthrown in a 1954 coup and the parliamentary system was restored.[74] However, by this time, power was increasingly concentrated in the military and security establishment.[74] The weakness of Parliamentary institutions and the mismanagement of the economy led to unrest and the influence of Nasserism
Nasserism
and other ideologies. There was fertile ground for various Arab
Arab
nationalist, Syrian nationalist, and socialist movements, which represented disaffected elements of society. Notably included were religious minorities, who demanded radical reform.[74] In November 1956, as a direct result of the Suez Crisis,[75] Syria signed a pact with the Soviet Union. This gave a foothold for Communist influence within the government in exchange for military equipment.[74] Turkey
Turkey
then became worried about this increase in the strength of Syrian military technology, as it seemed feasible that Syria
Syria
might attempt to retake İskenderun. Only heated debates in the United Nations
United Nations
lessened the threat of war.[76] On 1 February 1958, Syrian President Shukri al-Quwatli
Shukri al-Quwatli
and Egypt's Nasser announced the merging of Egypt
Egypt
and Syria, creating the United Arab
Arab
Republic, and all Syrian political parties, as well as the communists therein, ceased overt activities.[70] 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
Muhammad
Umran, Major Salah Jadid
Salah Jadid
and Captain Hafez al-Assad. Syria seceded from the union with Egypt
Egypt
on 28 September 1961, after a coup. Ba'athist Syria

Hafez al-Assad
Hafez al-Assad
greets Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
on his arrival at Damascus
Damascus
airport in 1974

The ensuing instability, following the 1961 coup culminated in the 8 March 1963 Ba'athist coup. The takeover was engineered by members of the Arab
Arab
Socialist Ba'ath Party, led by Michel Aflaq
Michel Aflaq
and Salah al-Din al-Bitar. The new Syrian cabinet was dominated by Ba'ath members.[70][74] On 23 February 1966, the Military Committee carried out an intra-party overthrow, imprisoned President Amin Hafiz
Amin Hafiz
and designated a regionalist, civilian Ba'ath government on 1 March.[74] Although Nureddin al-Atassi
Nureddin al-Atassi
became the formal head of state, Salah Jadid
Salah Jadid
was Syria's effective ruler from 1966 until November 1970,[77] when he was deposed by Hafez al-Assad, who at the time was Minister of Defense.[78] The coup led to a split within the original pan-Arab Ba'ath Party: one Iraqi-led ba'ath movement (ruled Iraq
Iraq
from 1968 to 2003) and one Syrian-led ba'ath movement was established. In the first half of 1967, a low-key state of war existed between Syria
Syria
and Israel. Conflict over Israeli cultivation of land in the Demilitarized Zone led to 7 April pre-war aerial clashes between Israel
Israel
and Syria.[79] When the Six-Day War
Six-Day War
broke out between Egypt
Egypt
and Israel, Syria
Syria
joined the war and attacked Israel
Israel
as well. In the final days of the war, Israel
Israel
turned its attention to Syria, capturing two-thirds of the Golan Heights
Golan Heights
in under 48 hours.[80] The defeat caused a split between Jadid and Assad over what steps to take next.[81]

Quneitra
Quneitra
village, largely destroyed before the Israeli withdrawal in June 1974.

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
PLO
during the "Black September" hostilities with Jordan
Jordan
reflected this disagreement.[82] The power struggle culminated in the November 1970 Syrian Corrective Revolution, a bloodless military overthrow that installed Hafez al-Assad
Hafez al-Assad
as the strongman of the government.[78] On 6 October 1973, Syria
Syria
and Egypt
Egypt
initiated the Yom Kippur War against Israel. The Israel
Israel
Defense Forces reversed the initial Syrian gains and pushed deeper into Syrian territory.[83] In early 1976, Syria
Syria
entered Lebanon, beginning the thirty-year Syrian military occupation. Over the following 15 years of civil war, Syria fought for control over Lebanon. Syria
Syria
then remained in Lebanon
Lebanon
until 2005.

Dmitry Medvedev
Dmitry Medvedev
arriving in Damascus
Damascus
in May 2010

In the late 1970s, an Islamist
Islamist
uprising by the Muslim
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
Hama
massacre,[84] when some 10,000 – 40,000 people were killed by regular Syrian Army
Syrian Army
troops. In a major shift in relations with both other Arab
Arab
states and the Western world, Syria
Syria
participated in the US-led Gulf War
Gulf War
against Saddam Hussein. Syria
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's meeting with then President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
in Geneva in March 2000.[85]

Military situation in the Syrian Civil War
Syrian Civil War
as of 000000002018-01-22-0000January 22, 2018.   Controlled by Syrian Arab
Arab
Republic   Controlled by North Syria
Syria
Federation (SDF)   Controlled by the Syrian opposition
Syrian opposition
and Ahrar al-Sham   Controlled by Turkey
Turkey
and TFSA   Controlled by the Islamic
Islamic
State (ISIL)   Controlled by Tahrir al-Sham
Tahrir al-Sham
(al-Nusra)

(For a more detailed, up-to-date, interactive map, see Template:Syrian Civil War detailed map.)

Hafez al-Assad
Hafez al-Assad
died on 10 June 2000. His son, Bashar al-Assad, was elected President in an election in which he ran unopposed.[70] His election saw the birth of the Damascus
Damascus
Spring and hopes of reform, but by autumn 2001, the authorities had suppressed the movement, imprisoning some of its leading intellectuals.[86] Instead, reforms have been limited to some market reforms.[14][87][88] On 5 October 2003, Israel
Israel
bombed a site near Damascus, claiming it was a terrorist training facility for members of Islamic
Islamic
Jihad.[89] In March 2004, Syrian Kurds
Kurds
and Arabs
Arabs
clashed in the northeastern city of al-Qamishli. Signs of rioting were seen in the cities of Qamishli
Qamishli
and Hasakeh.[90] In 2005, Syria
Syria
ended its occupation of Lebanon.[91] On 6 September 2007, foreign jet fighters, suspected as Israeli, reportedly carried out Operation Orchard
Operation Orchard
against a suspected nuclear reactor under construction by North Korean technicians.[92] Syrian Civil War Main article: Syrian Civil War The ongoing Syrian Civil War
Syrian Civil War
was inspired by the Arab
Arab
Spring revolutions. It began in 2011 as a chain of peaceful protests, followed by a crackdown by the Syrian Army.[93] In July 2011, Army defectors declared the formation of the Free Syrian Army
Syrian Army
and began forming fighting units. The opposition is dominated by Sunni
Sunni
Muslims, whereas the leading government figures are generally associated with Alawites.[94] According to various sources, including the United Nations, up to 100,000 people had been killed by June 2013,[95][96][97] including 11,000 children.[98] To escape the violence, 4.9 million[99] Syrian refugees have fled to neighboring countries of Jordan,[100] Iraq,[101] Lebanon, and Turkey.[102][103] An estimated 450,000 Syrian Christians have fled their homes.[104][needs update] By October 2017, an estimated 400,000 people had been killed in the war according to the UN.[105] In an effort to restore law and order, the Russian Federation army claims to have "signed agreements with some 1,571 representatives of the inhabited areas in Syria," where they have agreed to cease all hostilities against the Syrian government.[106] In addition, some 219 groups in Syria
Syria
who had formerly been suspected by the government of involvement in armed resistance have agreed to the terms of a ceasefire.[107] Geography Main article: Geography of Syria

Syria
Syria
map of Köppen climate classification.

The Mediterranean
Mediterranean
Sea, as viewed from the coastal city of Latakia

Syria
Syria
lies between latitudes 32° and 38° N, and longitudes 35° and 43° E. It consists mostly of arid plateau, although the northwest part of the country bordering the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
is fairly green. The Northeast of the country "al-Jazira" and the South "Hawran" are important agricultural areas.[108] The Euphrates, Syria's most important river, crosses the country in the east. It is considered to be one of the fifteen states that comprise the so-called "Cradle of civilization".[109] Its land straddles the "northwest of the Arabian plate".[110] The climate in Syria
Syria
is dry and hot, and winters are mild. Because of the country's elevation, snowfall does occasionally occur during winter.[108] 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 Dayr az–Zawr. The fields are a natural extension of the Iraqi fields of Mosul
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.[70]

Panoramic view of Ayn al-Bayda, Latakia, a village in Northern Syria.

Politics and government Main article: Politics of Syria See also: Syrian Civil War

The Syrian Parliament in the mid-20th century

Syria
Syria
is formally a unitary republic. The constitution adopted in 2012 effectively transformed Syria
Syria
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.[111] The President is Head of State
Head of State
and the Prime Minister is Head of Government.[112] The legislature, the Peoples Council, is the body responsible for passing laws, approving government appropriations and debating policy.[113] 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.[114] The executive branch consists of the president, two vice presidents, the prime minister, and the Council of Ministers (cabinet). The constitution requires the president to be a Muslim[115] but does not make Islam
Islam
the state religion. On 31 January 1973, Hafez al-Assad implemented a new constitution, which led to a national crisis. Unlike previous constitutions, this one did not require that the President of Syria
Syria
be a Muslim, leading to fierce demonstrations in Hama, Homs
Homs
and Aleppo
Aleppo
organized by the Muslim
Muslim
Brotherhood and the ulama. They labelled Assad the "enemy of Allah" and called for a jihad against his rule.[116] The government survived a series of armed revolts by Islamists, mainly members of the Muslim
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.[117] 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. Under the previous constitution, Syria
Syria
did not hold multi-party elections for the legislature,[117] with two-thirds of the seats automatically allocated to the ruling coalition.[118] On 7 May 2012, Syria
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
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. The President is currently the Regional Secretary of the Ba'ath party in Syria
Syria
and leader of the National Progressive Front governing coalition. Outside of the coalition are 14 illegal Kurdish political parties.[119]

Syria's current president, Bashar al-Assad
Bashar al-Assad
and first lady Asma al-Assad in Moscow, 2005

Current speaker of the People's Council of Syria, the Syrian Orthodox Hammouda Sabbagh
Hammouda Sabbagh
meeting with his Iranian counterpart

Syria's judicial branches include the Supreme Constitutional Court, the High Judicial Council, the Court of Cassation, and the State Security Courts. Islamic
Islamic
jurisprudence is a main source of legislation and Syria's judicial system has elements of Ottoman, French, and Islamic
Islamic
laws. Syria
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.[117] The Supreme State Security Court (SSSC) was abolished by President Bashar al-Assad
Bashar al-Assad
by legislative decree No. 53 on 21 April 2011.[120] The Personal Status Law 59 of 1953 (amended by Law 34 of 1975) is essentially a codified sharia.[121] Article 3(2) of the 1973 constitution declares Islamic
Islamic
jurisprudence a main source of legislation. The Code of Personal Status is applied to Muslims by sharia courts.[122] As a result of the ongoing civil war, various alternative governments were formed, including the Syrian Interim Government, the Democratic Union Party and localised regions governed by sharia law. Representatives of the Syrian Interim government were invited to take up Syria's seat at the Arab League
Arab League
on 28 March 2013 and[123] was recognised as the "sole representative of the Syrian people" by several nations including the United States, United Kingdom
United Kingdom
and France.[124][125][126] 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.[127] 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.[128] 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.[129] Human rights Main article: Human rights in Syria

Wounded civilians arrive at a hospital in Aleppo, October 2012

The situation for human rights in Syria
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."[130] The US State Department funded Freedom House[131] ranked Syria
Syria
"Not Free" in its annual Freedom in the World survey.[132] The authorities are accused of arresting democracy and human rights activists, censoring websites, detaining bloggers, and imposing travel bans. Arbitrary detention, torture, and disappearances are widespread.[133] 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'.[133] 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 2 years old, and that boys as young as 11 years old have been gang raped by security services officers.[134][135] People opposing President Assad's rule claim that more than 200, mostly civilians, were massacred and about 300 injured in Hama
Hama
in shelling by the Government forces on 12 July 2012.[136] In August 2013, the government was suspected of using chemical weapons against its civilians. US Secretary of State John Kerry
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".[137] The Emergency Law, effectively suspending most constitutional protections, was in effect from 1963 until 21 April 2011.[120] It was justified by the government in the light of the continuing war with Israel
Israel
over the Golan Heights. In August 2014, UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay
Navi Pillay
criticized the international community over its "paralysis" in dealing with the more than 3-year-old 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
Alawites
and Christians are being increasingly targeted by Islamists and other groups fighting in the Syrian civil war.[138][139] In April 2017, the U.S. Navy carried out a missile attack against a Syrian air base[140] which had allegedly been used to conduct a chemical weapons attack on Syrian civilians, according to the US government.[141] Military Main article: Syrian Armed Forces

Syrian soldier wearing a Soviet-made Model ShMS nuclear-biological-chemical warfare mask aiming a Chinese Type-56 automatic assault rifle

The President of Syria
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.[142] 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.[143] About 20,000 Syrian soldiers were deployed in Lebanon
Lebanon
until 27 April 2005, when the last of Syria's troops left the country after three decades.[142] 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 500-kilometre (310-mile) range were procured from North Korea, and Scud-D, with a range of up to 700 kilometres (430 miles), is allegedly being developed by Syria
Syria
with the help of North Korea and Iran, according to Zisser.[144] Syria
Syria
received significant financial aid from Arab
Arab
states of the Persian Gulf as a result of its participation in the Persian Gulf War, with a sizable portion of these funds earmarked for military spending. Foreign relations Main article: Foreign relations of Syria

Diplomatic missions of Syria

Ensuring national security, increasing influence among its 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
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
Arab
Spring and the Syrian Civil War. Since the ongoing civil war of 2011, and associated killings and human rights abuses, Syria
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
Arab
states of the Persian Gulf.[145]

Map of world and Syria
Syria
(red) with military involvement.   Countries that support the Syrian government   Countries that support the Syrian rebels

From the Arab
Arab
league, Syria
Syria
continues to maintain diplomatic relations with Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan
Sudan
and Yemen. Syria's violence against civilians has also seen it suspended from the Arab League
Arab League
and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation
Organisation of Islamic Cooperation
in 2012. Syria
Syria
continues to foster good relations with its traditional allies, Iran
Iran
and Russia, who are among the few countries which have supported the Syrian government in its conflict with the Syrian opposition. Syria
Syria
is included in the European Union's European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) which aims at bringing the EU and its neighbours closer. International disputes In 1939, while Syria
Syria
was still a French mandate the French ceded the Sanjak of Alexandretta
Sanjak of Alexandretta
to Turkey
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 Turks who were originally from the Sanjak but lived in Adana
Adana
and other areas near the border in Turkey
Turkey
came to vote in the elections, shifting the election in favor of secession. Through this, the Hatay Province
Hatay Province
of Turkey
Turkey
was formed. The move by the French was very controversial in Syria, and only 5 years later Syria
Syria
became independent.[146] Israel
Israel
unilaterally and illegally annexed the western two thirds of the Golan Heights
Golan Heights
in 1981, although the Syrian government continues to demand the return of this territory. The only remaining land Syria
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
Madinat al-Baath
and many small villages, mostly populated by Circassians
Circassians
such as Beer Ajam and Hader. The Syrian occupation of Lebanon
Lebanon
began in 1976 as a result of the civil war and ended in April 2006 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
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
Israel
in 1981, along with rest of the Golan Heights.[147] Yet following Syrian army advances the Israeli occupation ended and Syria
Syria
became the de facto ruling power over the farms. Yet after Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon
Lebanon
in 2000, Hezbollah claimed that the withdrawal was not complete because Shebaa was on Lebanese – not Syrian – territory.[148] After studying 81 different maps, the United Nations
United Nations
concluded that there is no evidence of the abandoned farmlands being Lebanese.[149] Nevertheless, Lebanon has continued to claim ownership of the territory. Administrative divisions Main articles: Governorates of Syria
Governorates of Syria
and Districts of Syria Syria
Syria
is divided into 14 governorates, which are sub-divided into 61 districts, which are further divided into sub-districts.

No. Governorate Capital

Governorates of Syria

1 Latakia Latakia

2 Idlib Idlib

3 Aleppo Aleppo

4 Raqqa Raqqa

5 Al-Hasakah Al-Hasakah

6 Tartus Tartus

7 Hama Hama

8 Deir ez-Zor Deir ez-Zor

9 Homs Homs

10 Damascus Damascus

11 Rif Dimashq –

12 Quneitra Quneitra

13 Daraa Daraa

14 Al-Suwayda Al-Suwayda

Agrarian reform Agrarian reform measures were introduced into Syria
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.[150] 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.[151] This was designed to strengthen the position of sharecroppers and agricultural laborers in relation to land owners.[151] This law lead 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.[152] Furthermore, it obligated landlords to honor both written and oral contracts, established collective barging, contained provisions for workers' compensation, health, housing, and employment services.[151] Law 134 was not designed strictly to protect workers. It also acknowledged the rights of landlords to form their own syndicates.[151] Internet and telecommunications The Telecommunications in Syria are overseen by the Ministry of Communications and Technology.[153] In addition, Syrian Telecom plays an integral role in the distribution of government internet access.[154] The Syrian Electronic Army
Syrian Electronic Army
serves as a pro-government military faction in cyberspace and has been long considered an enemy of the hacktivist group Anonymous.[155] Because of internet censorship laws, 13,000 internet activists have been arrested between March 2011 and August 2012.[156] Economy Main article: Economy of Syria See also: Tourism in Syria

Pre-civil war Syria
Syria
Export Treemap

Syria
Syria
Export Treemap by Product (2014) from Harvard Atlas of Economic Complexity

As of 2015[update], 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.[157] Iran
Iran
is believed to spend between $6 billion and $20 billion USD a year on Syria
Syria
during the Syrian Civil War.[158] The Syrian economy has contracted 60% and the Syrian pound
Syrian pound
has lost 80% of its value, with the economy becoming part state-owned and part war economy.[159] At the outset of the ongoing Syrian Civil War, Syria
Syria
was classified by the World Bank
World Bank
as a "lower middle income country."[160] In 2010, Syria remained dependent on the oil and agriculture sectors.[161] The oil sector provided about 40% of export earnings.[161] Proven offshore expeditions have indicated that large sums of oil exist on the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
floor between Syria
Syria
and Cyprus.[162] 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
Syria
has already become a net oil importer.[161] Since the civil war began, the economy shrank by 35%, and the Syrian pound
Syrian pound
has fallen to one-sixth of its prewar value.[163] The government increasingly relies on credit from Iran, Russia
Russia
and China.[163]

Olive groves in Western-Syria, Homs
Homs
Governorate.

Aleppo
Aleppo
soap

The economy is highly regulated by the government, which has increased subsidies and tightened trade controls to assuage protesters and protect foreign currency reserves.[164] 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.[164] The UNDP
UNDP
announced in 2005 that 30% of the Syrian population lives in poverty and 11.4% live below the subsistence level.[70] Syria's share in global exports has eroded gradually since 2001.[165] The real per capita GDP growth was just 2.5% per year in the 2000–2008 period.[165] Unemployment is high at above 10%. Poverty rates have increased from 11% in 2004 to 12.3% in 2007.[165] 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.[70]

Al-Hamidiyah Souq
Al-Hamidiyah Souq
in Damascus
Damascus
in 2010

A beach in Latakia
Latakia
in 2014

Political instability poses a significant threat to future economic development.[166] 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.[166] 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.[167] As of 2012[update], 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.[168] Syria's GDP declined by over 3% in 2011,[169] and is expected to further decline by 20% in 2012.[170] As of 2012[update], Syria's oil and tourism industries in particular have been devastated, with US$5 billion lost to the ongoing conflict of the civil war.[168] Reconstruction needed because of the ongoing civil war will cost as much as US$10 billion.[168] 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.[171] Revenues from tourism have dropped dramatically, with hotel occupancy rates falling from 90% before the war to less than 15% in May 2012.[172] Around 40% of all employees in the tourism sector have lost their jobs since the beginning of the war.[172] In May 2015, ISIS
ISIS
captured Syria's phosphate mines, one of the Syrian governments last chief sources of income.[173] The following month, ISIS
ISIS
blew up a gas pipeline to Damascus
Damascus
that was used to generate heating and electricity in Damascus
Damascus
and Homs; "the name of its game for now is denial of key resources to the regime" an analyst stated.[174] In addition, ISIS
ISIS
is 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
Iran
to further subsidize the Syrian government.[175] Petroleum industry

Oil refinery in Homs

Syria's petroleum industry has been subject to sharp decline. In September 2014, ISIS
ISIS
was producing more oil than the government at 80,000 bbl/d (13,000 m3/d) compared to the government's 17,000 bbl/d (2,700 m3/d) with the Syrian Oil Ministry stating that by the end of 2014, oil production had plunged further to 9,329 bbl/d (1,483.2 m3/d); ISIS
ISIS
has since captured a further oil field, leading to a projected oil production of 6,829 bbl/d (1,085.7 m3/d).[157] 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.[176] 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
Deir ez-Zor
in eastern Syria. Syria's rate of oil production has decreased dramatically from a peak close to 600,000 barrels per day (95,000 m3/d) (bpd) in 1995 down to less than 182,500 bbl/d (29,020 m3/d) in 2012.[177] Since 2012 the production has decreased even more, reaching in 2014 32,000 barrels per day (5,100 m3/d) (bpd). Official figures quantity the production in 2015 at 27,000 barrels per day (4,300 m3/d), 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.[172] Oil and gas revenues constituted in 2012 around 20% of total GDP and 25% of total government revenue.[172]

Expressway M5 near Al-Rastan

Transport Main article: Transport in Syria Syria
Syria
has four international airports (Damascus, Aleppo, Lattakia and Kamishly), which serve as hubs for Syrian Air
Syrian Air
and are also served by a variety of foreign carriers.[citation needed] The majority of Syrian cargo is carried by Syrian Railways
Syrian Railways
(the Syrian railway company), which links up with Turkish State Railways
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.[178] The road network in Syria
Syria
is 69,873 kilometres (43,417 miles) long, including 1,103 kilometres (685 miles) of expressways. The country also has 900 kilometres (560 miles) of navigable but not economically significant waterways.[179] Water supply and sanitation Main article: Water supply and sanitation in Syria Syria
Syria
is a semiarid country with scarce water resources. The largest water consuming sector in Syria
Syria
is agriculture. Domestic water use stands at only about 9% of total water use.[180] A big challenge for Syria
Syria
is its high population growth with a rapidly increasing demand for urban and industrial water. In 2006 the population of Syria
Syria
was 19.4 million with a growth rate of 2.7%.[181] Demographics Main article: Demographics of Syria

Historical populations (in thousands)

Year Pop. ±% p.a.

1960 4,565,000 —    

1970 6,305,000 +3.28%

1981 9,046,000 +3.34%

1994 13,782,000 +3.29%

2004 17,921,000 +2.66%

2011 21,124,000 +2.38%

2016 17,185,000 −4.04%

2016 estimate[182] Source: Central Bureau of Statistics of the Syrian Arab
Arab
Republic, 2011[183]

Most people live in the Euphrates
Euphrates
River valley and along the coastal plain, a fertile strip between the coastal mountains and the desert. Overall population density in Syria
Syria
is about 99 per square kilometre (258 per square mile). According to the World Refugee
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
Iraq
(1,300,000), but sizeable populations from Palestine (543,400) and Somalia
Somalia
(5,200) also lived in the country.[184] In what the UN has described as "the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era",[185] about 9.5 million Syrians, half the population, have been displaced since the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War
Syrian Civil War
in March 2011;[186] 4 million are outside the country as refugees.[187] Ethnic groups Main article: Syrians

Children in Aleppo

Damascus, traditional clothing

Syrians
Syrians
are an overall indigenous Levantine people, closely related to their immediate neighbours, such as the Lebanese, Palestinian, Jordanian and Maltese peoples.[188][189] Syria
Syria
has a population of approximately 17,065,000 (2014 estimate).[4] Syrian Arabs, together with some 600,000 Palestinian not including the 6 million refugees outside the county. Arabs
Arabs
make up roughly 74% of the population.[164] The indigenous Assyrians and Western Aramaic-speakers number around 400,000 people,[190] with the Western Aramaic-speakers living mainly in the villages of Ma'loula, Jubb'adin
Jubb'adin
and 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
Aramaic
dialects as spoken and written languages.[191] The second largest ethnic group in Syria
Syria
are the Kurds. They constitute about 9%[192] to 10%[193] of the population, or approximately 1.6 million people (including 40,000 Yazidis[193]). Most Kurds
Kurds
reside in the northeastern corner of Syria
Syria
and most speak the Kurmanji
Kurmanji
variant of the Kurdish language.[192] The third largest ethnic group are the Turkish-speaking Syrian Turkmen/Turkoman, with estimates suggesting they constitute approximately 4–5% of the population of Syria.[193] However, their population is significantly higher if Arabized
Arabized
Turkmen were also taken into account.[193] There are no reliable estimates of their total population, with estimates ranging from several hundred thousand to 3.5 million.[194][195][196] The fourth largest ethnic group are the Assyrians (3–4%),[193] followed by the Circassians
Circassians
(1.5%)[193] and the Armenians
Armenians
(1%),[193] most of which are the descendants of refugees who arrived in Syria during the Armenian Genocide. Syria
Syria
holds the 7th largest Armenian population in the world. They are mainly gathered in Aleppo, Qamishli, Damascus
Damascus
and Kesab.

The ethno-religious composition of Syria

There are also smaller ethnic minority groups, such as the Albanians, Bosnians, Georgians, Greeks, Persians, Pashtuns
Pashtuns
and Russians.[193] However, most of these ethnic minorities have become Arabized
Arabized
to some degree, particularly those who practice the Muslim
Muslim
faith.[193] Syria
Syria
was once home to a substantial population of Jews, with large communities in Damascus, Aleppo, and Qamishii. Due to a combination of persecution in Syria
Syria
and opportunities elsewhere, the Jews
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 State of Israel
Israel
in 1948. Today only a few Jews remain in Syria. The largest concentration of the Syrian diaspora
Syrian diaspora
outside the Arab world is in Brazil, which has millions of people of Arab
Arab
and other Near Eastern ancestries.[197] Brazil
Brazil
is the first country in the Americas to offer humanitarian visas to Syrian refugees.[198] The majority of Arab
Arab
Argentines are from either Lebanese or Syrian background.[199] Religion Main articles: Religion in Syria
Religion in Syria
and Islam
Islam
in Syria

Religion in Syria
Religion in Syria
(est. 2006)[200]    Islam
Islam
(87%)   Christianity (10%)   Druzism (3%)

Great Mosque of Aleppo, Aleppo

Coat of arms of the Syriac Orthodox
Syriac Orthodox
Church

Sunni
Sunni
Muslims make up between 69–74% of Syria's population[200] and Sunni
Sunni
Arabs
Arabs
account for 59–60% of the population. Most Kurds (8.5%)[201] and most Turkoman (3%)[201] are Sunni
Sunni
and account for the difference between Sunnis and Sunni
Sunni
Arabs, while 13% of Syrians
Syrians
are Shia Muslims
Shia Muslims
(particularly Alawite, Twelvers, and Ismailis
Ismailis
but there are also Arabs, Kurds
Kurds
and Turkoman), 10% Christian[200] (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.[200] Druze
Druze
number around 500,000, and concentrate mainly in the southern area of Jabal al-Druze.[202] Michael Izadi in a study of 2000 (population estimate 18 million) put the Sunni
Sunni
percentage at 68.4%, Shi'a Twelver 3.2% Christian at 11.2% and the remainder at 17.2% gulf 2000 Columbia.edu.images/maps/Syria_Religion_detailed.lg. President Bashar al-Assad's family is Alawite
Alawite
and Alawites
Alawites
dominate the government of Syria
Syria
and hold key military positions.[203] In May 2013, SOHR stated that out of 94,000 killed during the Syrian Civil War, at least 41,000 were Alawites.[204] Christians (2.5 million), a sizable number of whom are found among Syria's population of Palestinian refugees, are divided into several sects: Chalcedonian Antiochian Orthodox make up 45.7% of the Christian population; the Catholics (Melkite, Armenian Catholic, Syriac Catholic, Maronite, Chaldean Catholic and Latin) make up 16.2%; the Armenian Apostolic Church
Armenian Apostolic Church
10.9%, the Syriac Orthodox
Syriac Orthodox
make up 22.4%; Assyrian Church of the East
Assyrian Church of the East
and several smaller Christian denominations account for the remainder. Many Christian monasteries also exist. Many Christian Syrians
Syrians
belong to a high socio-economic class.[205] Languages Main article: Languages of Syria Arabic is the official language. Several modern Arabic dialects are used in everyday life, most notably Levantine in the west and Mesopotamian
Mesopotamian
in the northeast. Kurdish (in its Kurmanji
Kurmanji
form) is widely spoken in the Kurdish regions of Syria. Armenian and Turkmen (South Azerbaijani dialect) are spoken among the Armenian and Turkmen minorities. Aramaic
Aramaic
was the lingua franca of the region before the advent of Arabic, and is still spoken among Assyrians, and Classical Syriac is still used as the liturgical language of various Syriac Christian denominations. Most remarkably, Western Neo- Aramaic
Aramaic
is still spoken in the village of Ma'loula
Ma'loula
as well as two neighboring villages, 56 km (35 mi) northeast of Damascus. English and French are widely spoken as a second language, but English is more often used. Largest cities

 

v t e

Largest cities or towns in Syria 2004 official census

Rank Name Province Pop.

Aleppo

Damascus 1 Aleppo Aleppo
Aleppo
Governorate 2,132,100

Homs

Latakia

2 Damascus Damascus 1,711,000

3 Homs Homs
Homs
Governorate 652,609

4 Latakia Latakia
Latakia
Governorate 383,786

5 Hama Hama
Hama
Governorate 312,994

6 Raqqa Raqqa
Raqqa
Governorate 220,488

7 Deir ez-Zor Deir ez-Zor
Deir ez-Zor
Governorate 211,857

8 Al-Hasakah Al-Hasakah
Al-Hasakah
Governorate 188,160

9 Qamishli Al-Hasakah
Al-Hasakah
Governorate 184,231

10 Sayyidah Zaynab Rif Dimashq Governorate 136,427

Culture Main article: Culture of Syria

Dabke
Dabke
combines circle dance and line dancing and is widely performed at weddings and other joyous occasions.

Syria
Syria
is a traditional society with a long cultural history.[206] 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
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.[207] Arts

Adunis

The literature of Syria
Syria
has contributed to Arabic literature
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, Adonis, Muhammad Maghout, Haidar Haidar, Ghada al-Samman, Nizar Qabbani
Nizar Qabbani
and Zakariyya Tamer. Ba'ath Party
Ba'ath Party
rule, since the 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 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
Arab
world's most important, especially in the field of classical Arab
Arab
music. Syria
Syria
has produced several pan- Arab
Arab
stars, including Asmahan, Farid al-Atrash
Farid al-Atrash
and singer Lena Chamamyan. The city of Aleppo
Aleppo
is known for its muwashshah, a form of Andalous
Andalous
sung poetry popularized by Sabri Moudallal, as well as for popular stars like Sabah Fakhri. Media Television was first introduced to Syria
Syria
in 1960, when Syria
Syria
and Egypt (which adopted television that same year) were part of the United Arab Republic. It broadcast in black and white until 1976. Syrian soap operas have considerable market penetration throughout the eastern Arab
Arab
world.[208] Nearly all of Syria's media outlets are state-owned, and the Ba'ath Party controls nearly all newspapers.[209] The authorities operate several intelligence agencies,[210] among them Shu'bat al-Mukhabarat al-'Askariyya, employing a large number of operatives.[211] Since the Syrian Civil War
Syrian Civil War
many of Syria's artists, poets, writers and activists have remained incarcerated, including famed cartoonist Akram Raslam.[212] Sports

Aleppo
Aleppo
International Stadium

The most popular sports in Syria
Syria
are football, basketball, swimming, and tennis. Damascus
Damascus
was home to the fifth and seventh Pan Arab
Arab
Games. Many popular football teams are based in Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, Latakia, etc. The Abbasiyyin Stadium
Abbasiyyin Stadium
in Damascus
Damascus
is home to the Syrian national football team. The team enjoyed some success, having qualified for four Asian Cup
Asian Cup
competitions. The team had its first international on 20 November 1949, losing to Turkey
Turkey
7–0. The team was ranked 76th in the world by FIFA as of January 2018. Cuisine Main article: Syrian cuisine

Fattoush, an example of Syrian cuisine

Linked to the regions of Syria
Syria
where a specific dish has originated, Syrian cuisine
Syrian cuisine
is rich and varied in its ingredients. Syrian food mostly consists of Southern Mediterranean, Greek, and Southwest Asian dishes. Some Syrian dishes also evolved from Turkish and French cooking: dishes like shish kebab, stuffed zucchini/courgette, yabra' (stuffed grape leaves, the word yapra' derıves from the Turkish word 'yaprak' meaning leaf). The main dishes that form Syrian cuisine
Syrian cuisine
are kibbeh, hummus, tabbouleh, fattoush, labneh, shawarma, mujaddara, shanklish, pastırma, sujuk and baklava. Baklava
Baklava
is made of filo pastry filled with chopped nuts and soaked in honey. Syrians
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
Syria
vary, depending on the time of day and the occasion. Arabic coffee, also known as Turkish 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, an alcoholic drink, is also a well-known beverage served mostly on special occasions. More examples of Syrian beverages include Ayran, Jallab, White coffee, and a locally manufactured beer called Al Shark.[213] Education Main article: Education in Syria

Damascus
Damascus
University headquarters in Baramkeh

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 admission. Total enrollment at post-secondary schools is over 150,000. The literacy rate of Syrians
Syrians
aged 15 and older is 90.7% for males and 82.2% for females.[214][215]

UIS adult literacy rate of Syria

Since 1967, all schools, colleges, and universities have been under close government supervision by the Ba'ath Party.[216] There are 6 state universities in Syria[217] and 15 private universities.[218] The top two state universities are University of Damascus
Damascus
(180,000 students)[219] and University of Aleppo.[220] The top private universities in Syria
Syria
are: Syrian Private University, Arab International University, University of Kalamoon
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.[221] According to the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, the top-ranking universities in the country are Damascus
Damascus
University (3540th worldwide), the University of Aleppo
Aleppo
(7176th) and Tishreen University (7968th).[222] Health Main article: Health in Syria 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.[223] The life expectancy at birth was 75.7 years in 2010, or 74.2 years for males and 77.3 years for females.[224] See also

Syria
Syria
portal

Democratic Federation of Northern Syria
Democratic Federation of Northern Syria
(Rojava) Ideocracy Index of Syria-related articles International recognition of the Syrian National Council Outline of Syria Refugees of the Syrian Civil War Syrian Civil War

References

Notes

Citations

^ "SYRIA 2014 International Religious Freedom Repoert" (PDF). state.gov. U.S. Department of State. 2014. Retrieved 11 March 2018.  ^ " Constitution of Syria
Constitution of Syria
2012". Scribd. 15 February 2012. Retrieved 25 January 2013.  ^ "Syrian ministry of foreign affairs". Archived from the original on 2012-05-11.  ^ a b "The World Factbook". CIA. Retrieved 24 July 2014.  ^ a b c d "Syria". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 22 April 2012.  ^ " World Bank
World Bank
GINI index". World Bank. Retrieved 22 January 2013.  ^ "2015 Human Development Report" (PDF). United Nations
United Nations
Development Programme. 2015. Retrieved 15 December 2015.  ^

"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." International Labour Office (2009). The situation of workers of the occupied Arab
Arab
territories (International government publication ed.). International Labour Office. p. 23. ISBN 978-92-2-120630-9. . * "...occupied Syrian Golan Heights..." (The Arab
Arab
Peace Initiative, 2002 Archived 4 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine., www.al-bab.com. Retrieved 1 August 2010.) In 2008, a plenary session of the United Nations
United Nations
General Assembly voted by 161–1 in favour of a motion on the "occupied Syrian Golan" that reaffirmed support for UN Resolution 497. (General Assembly adopts broad range of texts, 26 in all, on recommendation of its fourth Committee, including on decolonization, information, Palestine refugees, United Nations, 5 December 2008.) "the Syrian Golan Heights
Golan Heights
territory, which Israel
Israel
has occupied since 1967". Also, "the Golan Heights, a 450-square mile portion of southwestern Syria
Syria
that Israel
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. ISBN 1-60239-727-9.) "...the United States considers the Golan Heights
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
Israel
and the Occupied Palestinian Territories Archived 20 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine., 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.)

^ Golan, Marsad, http://golan-marsad.org/about/background/ ^ Gammer, Moshe (2004). The Caspian Region: The Caucasus. 2. Routledge. p. 64. ISBN 0203005120.  ^ Who cares for the Mandaeans?, Australian Islamist
Islamist
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Neolithic
Tell Ramad in the Damascus
Damascus
Basin of Syria". Archive. Archived from the original on 11 November 2006. Retrieved 25 January 2013.  ^ a b Michael Bröning (7 March 2011). "The Sturdy House That Assad Built". The Foreign Affairs.  ^ MacFarquhar, Neil (12 November 2011). " Arab League
Arab League
Votes to Suspend Syria". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 November 2011.  ^ "Regional group votes to suspend Syria; rebels claim downing of jet". CNN. 14 August 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2012.  ^ " Syria
Syria
suspends its membership in Mediterranean
Mediterranean
union". Xinhua News Agency. 1 December 2012.  ^ editor, Ian Black Middle East
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United Nations
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UNHCR
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Assyria
and Syria: Synonyms". Journal of Near Eastern Studies. 51 (4): 281–285. doi:10.1086/373570.  ^ Herodotus, The Histories, VII.63, s:History of Herodotus/ Book
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7. ^ Joseph, John (2008). " Assyria
Assyria
and Syria: Synonyms?" (PDF).  ^ First proposed by Theodor Nöldeke
Theodor Nöldeke
in 1881; cf. Harper, Douglas (November 2001). "Syria". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 13 June 2007.  ^ Rollinger, Robert (2006). "The terms "Assyria" and "Syria" again" (PDF). Journal of Near Eastern Studies 65 (4): 284–287. doi:10.1086/511103. ^ Pliny. " Book
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General references

Boczek, Boleslaw Adam (2006). International Law: A Dictionary. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-5078-8 Finkelstein, Norman (2003). Image and reality of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Verso. ISBN 1-85984-442-1.  Glass, Charles (1990), Tribes with Flags: A Dangerous Passage Through the Chaos of the Middle East, Atlantic Monthly Press (New York) and Picador (London), ISBN 0-436-18130-4 . Karoubi, Mohammad Taghi (2004). Just or Unjust War? Ashgate Publishing ISBN 0-7546-2375-0 Forward Magazine (Syria's English monthly since 2007) . Orsam Suriye Türkleri Raporu-Orsam Syria
Syria
Turks

Further reading

van Dam, Nikolaos (2011), The Struggle for Power in Syria: Politics and Society under Asad and the Ba'ath Party, I. B. Tauris . Dawisha, A. I. (1980). Syria
Syria
and the Lebanese Crisis. ISBN 978-0-312-78203-0.  Lawson, Fred H (2010), Demystifying Syria, Saqi . Maoz, M. (1986). Yaniv, A, ed. Syria
Syria
Under Assad. ISBN 978-0-312-78206-1.  Paton, L. B. (1981). The Early History of Syria
History of Syria
and Palestine. ISBN 978-1-113-53822-2.  Sahner, Christian C. (2014). Among the Ruins: Syria
Syria
Past and Present. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19939670-2.  Schlicht, Alfred (1980), "The role of foreign powers in the history of Lebanon
Lebanon
and Syria
Syria
from 1799 to 1861", Journal of Asian History, 14 . Seale, Patrick (1987). The Struggle for Syria. ISBN 978-0-300-03944-3. 

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1 As the "Turkish Cypriot State".

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(Ghana) Gamal Abdel Nasser (Egypt)

People

Houari Boumediene Fidel Castro Nelson Mandela Mohamed Morsi Nicolás Maduro

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Second Journey of Paul the Apostle

1. Cilicia 2. Derbe 3. Lystra 4. Phrygia 5. Galatia 6. Mysia
Mysia
(Alexandria Troas) 7. Samothrace 8. Neapolis 9. Philippi 9. Amphipolis 10. Apollonia 11. Thessalonica 12. Beroea 13. Athens 14. Corinth 15. Cenchreae 16. Ephesus 17. Syria 18. Caesarea 19. Jerusalem 20. Antioch

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 154701530 LCCN: n80061798 GND: 4058794-0 HDS:

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