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{{about|the modern state of Syria}}{{pp-semi-indef}}{{pp-move-indef}}{{short description|Country in Western Asia}}{{Use dmy dates|date=August 2019}}{{Coord|35|N|38|E|display=title}}

! || No. || Governorate || Capital
conventional_long_name Syrian Arab Republic| common_name = Syria

al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-Sūrīyah}}''| image_flag = Flag of Syria.svg| image_coat = Coat of arms of Syria.svgaritalics=off}}"Humat ad-Diyar"()(File:National Anthem of Syria.ogg>center)| image_map = Syria (orthographic projection).svg| image_map2 = Syria - Location Map (2013) - SYR - UNOCHA.svg| capital = Damascus33N18type:city}}| largest_city = DamascusModern Standard Arabic>ArabicSyrian people#Ethnogenesis>ArameansKurds in Syria>KurdsSyrian Turkmen>TurkomansSyrian-Assyrians>AssyriansCircassians in Syria>CircassiansArmenians in Syria>Armenians}}Islam in Syria>Islam11% Christianity in Syria4% Druze in Syria>DruzismHTTPS://2009-2017.STATE.GOV/DOCUMENTS/ORGANIZATION/238690.PDF>YEAR=2014WEBSITE=STATE.GOVACCESSDATE=11 MARCH 2018, HTTP://GULF2000.COLUMBIA.EDU/IMAGES/MAPS/SYRIA_ETHNIC_SHIFT_2010-2018_LG.PNG>YEAR=2018WEBSITE=GULF2000.COLUMBIA.EDUACCESSDATE=2 JUNE 2019, Unitary state>Unitary dominant-party system Semi-presidential system>semi-presidential republicHTTPS://WWW.SCRIBD.COM/DOC/81771718/QORDOBA-TRANSLATION-OF-THE-SYRIAN-CONSTITUTION-MODIFICATIONS-15-2-2012 >TITLE=CONSTITUTION OF SYRIA 2012 DATE=15 FEBRUARY 2012, 25 January 2013, President of Syria>President| leader_name1 = Bashar al-AssadPrime Minister of Syria>Prime Minister| leader_name2 = Imad KhamisVice President of Syria>Vice Presidentsclass=nowrapFarouk al-Sharaa>Najah al-Attar}}Speaker of the People's Council of Syria>Speaker of the People's Council| leader_name4 = Hammouda SabbaghPeople's Council of Syria>People's Council| established_event1 = Proclamation of Arab Kingdom of Syria| established_date1 = 8 March 1920| established_event2 = State of Syria established under French Mandate| established_date2 = 1 December 1924Mandatory Syrian Republic>Syrian Republic established by merger of States of Jabal Druze, Alawites and Syria| established_date3 = 1930| established_event4 = Independence de jure (Joint UN / French Mandate ended)| established_date4 = 24 October 1945| established_event5 = Syrian Republic (1946–1963) independent(French troops leave)| established_date5 = 17 April 1946Secession from theUnited Arab Republic}}| established_date6 = 28 September 1961Ba'ath party1963 Syrian coup d'état>takes power| established_date7 = 8 March 1963Constitution of Syria>Current constitution| established_date8 = 27 February 2012URL-STATUS=DEADTITLE= SYRIAN MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, | area_rank = 87th | area_sq_mi = 71479 | percent_water = 1.1| population_estimate = {{Decrease}} 18,528,105| population_census = 21,018,834| population_estimate_year = 2019| population_estimate_rank = 63rd| population_census_year = 2010| population_density_km2 = 118.3| population_density_sq_mi = 306.5 | population_density_rank = 70th$50.28 billionHTTPS://WWW.CIA.GOV/LIBRARY/PUBLICATIONS/THE-WORLD-FACTBOOK/GEOS/SY.HTML >TITLE=SYRIA ACCESSDATE= 22 APRIL 2012, }}| GDP_PPP_year = 2015| GDP_PPP_rank = | GDP_PPP_per_capita = $2,900| GDP_PPP_per_capita_rank = $24.6 billion}}| GDP_nominal_year = 2014| GDP_nominal_rank = 167| GDP_nominal_per_capita = $831| GDP_nominal_per_capita_rank = | Gini = 55.8 | Gini_year = 2014| Gini_change = PUBLISHER= WORLD BANK, 22 January 2013, | Gini_rank = | HDI = 0.536 | HDI_year = 2018| HDI_change = steady DATE=2017 PUBLISHER=UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME, | HDI_rank = 155th| currency = Syrian pound| currency_code = SYPEastern European Time>EET| utc_offset = +2| utc_offset_DST = +3Eastern European Summer Time>EEST| drives_on = rightTelephone numbers in Syria>+963| iso3166code = SY| cctld = .syسوريا.| demonym = Syrian| today = }}Syria (), officially the Syrian Arab Republic (), is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon to the southwest, the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest. A country of fertile plains, high mountains, and deserts, Syria is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including Syrian Arabs, Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians, Kurds, Circassians,BOOK, Moshe, Gammer, The Caspian Region: The Caucasus, 2,weblink Routledge, 2004, 978-0203005125, 64, Mandeans{{Citation | title = Who cares for the Mandaeans? | publisher = Australian Islamist Monitor}} and Turkemens. Religious groups include Sunnis, Christians, Alawites, Druze, Isma'ilis, Mandeans, Shiites, Salafis, Yazidis, and Jews. Sunnis make up the largest religious group in Syria.Syria is a 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 in November 2011NEWS,weblink Arab League Votes to Suspend Syria, 12 November 2011, The New York Times, 12 November 2011, Neil, MacFarquhar, and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation,NEWS,weblink Regional group votes to suspend Syria; rebels claim downing of jet, 14 August 2012, CNN, 14 August 2012, and self-suspended from the Union for the Mediterranean.NEWS,weblink Syria suspends its membership in Mediterranean union, 1 December 2012, Xinhua News Agency, In English, the name "Syria" was formerly synonymous with the Levant (The region of Syria, 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. Aleppo and the capital city Damascus are among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 11 November 2006, Neolithic Tell Ramad in the Damascus Basin of Syria, Archive, 25 January 2013, In the Islamic era, Damascus was the seat of the Umayyad Caliphate and a provincial capital of the Mamluk Sultanate in Egypt. The modern Syrian state was established in the mid-20th century after centuries of Ottoman and a brief period French mandate, and represented the largest Arab state to emerge from the formerly Ottoman-ruled Syrian provinces. It gained de jure independence as a parliamentary republic on 24 October 1945, when Republic of Syria became a founding member of the United Nations, an act which legally ended the former French Mandate – although French troops did not leave the country until April 1946. The post-independence period was tumultuous, with many military coups and coup attempts shaking the country from 1949 to 1971. In 1958, Syria entered a brief union with Egypt called the United Arab Republic, which was terminated by the 1961 Syrian coup d'état. The republic was renamed into the Arab Republic of Syria in late 1961 after December 1 constitutional referendum, and was increasingly unstable until the 1963 Ba'athist coup d'état, since which the Ba'ath Party has maintained its power. Syria was under Emergency Law from 1963 to 2011, effectively suspending most constitutional protections for citizens. Bashar al-Assad has been president since 2000 and was preceded by his father Hafez al-Assad,WEB,weblink The Sturdy House That Assad Built, 7 March 2011, Michael Bröning, The Foreign Affairs, who was in office from 1971 to 2000.Since March 2011, Syria has been embroiled in an armed conflict, with a number of countries in the region and beyond involved militarily or otherwise. As a result, a number of self-proclaimed political entities have emerged on Syrian territory, including the Syrian opposition, Rojava, Tahrir al-Sham and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Syria is ranked last on the Global Peace Index, making it the most violent country in the world due to the war. The war has killed more than 570,000 peopleweblink caused 7.6 million internally displaced people (July 2015 UNHCR estimate) and over 5 million refugees (July 2017 registered by UNHCR),WEB,weblink UNHCR Syria Regional Refugee Response, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, (UNHCR), making population assessment difficult in recent years.


Several sources indicate that the name Syria is derived from the 8th century BC Luwian term "Sura/i", and the derivative ancient Greek name: , {{transl|grc|Sýrioi}}, or , {{transl|grc|Sýroi}}, both of which originally derived from Aššūrāyu (Assyria) in northern Mesopotamia.JOURNAL, Rollinger, Robert, 2006, The terms "Assyria" and "Syria" again, Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 65, 4, 284–287, 10.1086/511103, JOURNAL, Frye, R. N., 1992, Assyria and Syria: Synonyms, Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 51, 4, 281–285, 10.1086/373570, However, from the Seleucid Empire (323–150 BC), this term was also applied to The Levant, and from this point the Greeks applied the term without distinction between the Assyrians of Mesopotamia and Arameans of the Levant.Herodotus, The Histories, VII.63, s:History of Herodotus/Book 7]].WEB, John, Joseph, Assyria and Syria: Synonyms?,weblink 2008, Mainstream modern academic opinion strongly favors the argument that the Greek word is related to the cognate , {{transl|grc|Assyria}}, ultimately derived from the Akkadian {{transl|akk|Aššur}}.First proposed by Theodor Nöldeke in 1881; cf. WEB, Harper, Douglas,weblink Syria, Online Etymology Dictionary, November 2001, 13 June 2007, The Greek name appears to correspond to Phoenician ' "Assur", ' "Assyrians", recorded in the 8th century BC Çineköy inscription.Rollinger, Robert (2006). "The terms "Assyria" and "Syria" again" (PDF). Journal of Near Eastern Studies 65 (4): 284–287. doi:10.1086/511103.The area designated by the word has changed over time. Classically, Syria lies at the eastern end of the Mediterranean, between Arabia to the south and Asia Minor to the north, stretching inland to include parts of Iraq, and having an uncertain border to the northeast that Pliny the Elder describes as including, from west to east, Commagene, Sophene, and Adiabene.BOOK, Pliny, Pliny the Elder,weblink Natural History, Book 5 Section 66, University of Chicago, 77AD, 978-84-249-1901-6, By Pliny's time, however, this larger Syria had been divided into a number of provinces under the 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 and Homs regions; Coele-Syria (or "Hollow Syria") south of the Eleutheris river, and Iraq.WEB,weblink Syria :: Roman provincial organization, Britannica Online Encyclopedia, 25 October 2008,


Ancient antiquity

File:FemaleFigurineSyria5000BCE.jpg|thumb|upright|Female figurine, 5000 BC. Ancient Orient MuseumAncient Orient MuseumSince approximately 10,000 BC, Syria was one of the centers of Neolithic culture (known as Pre-Pottery Neolithic A) where agriculture and cattle breeding appeared for the first time in the world. The following Neolithic period (PPNB) is represented by rectangular houses of 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 are evidences of early trade relations. Cities of Hamoukar and Emar played an important role during the late Neolithic and Bronze Age. Archaeologists have demonstrated that civilization in Syria was one of the most ancient on earth, perhaps preceded by only those of Mesopotamia.

Eblaites and Amorites

The earliest recorded indigenous civilization in the region was the Kingdom of EblaPettinato, Giovanni. The Archives of Ebla; Gelb, I. J. "Thoughts about Ibla: A Preliminary Evaluation" in Monographic Journals of the Near East, Syro-Mesopotamian Studies 1/1 (May 1977) pp. 3–30. near present-day Idlib, northern Syria. Ebla appears to have been founded around 3500 BC,BOOK, William J. Hamblin, Warfare in the Ancient Near East to 1600 BC: Holy Warriors at the Dawn of History,weblink 2006, Routledge, 978-1-134-52062-6, 239, BOOK, Ian Shaw, Robert Jameson, A Dictionary of Archaeology,weblink 2008, John Wiley & Sons, 978-0-470-75196-1, 211, BOOK, Ross Burns, Monuments of Syria: A Guide,weblink 2009, I.B.Tauris, 978-0-85771-489-3, 155, BOOK,weblink Ebla and its Landscape: Early State Formation in the Ancient Near East, Paolo Matthiae, Nicoló Marchetti, 35, Left Coast Press, 978-1-61132-228-6, 31 May 2013, BOOK, Victor Harold Matthews, Don C. Benjamin, Old Testament Parallels: Laws and Stories from the Ancient Near East,weblink 1997, Paulist Press, 978-0-8091-3731-2, 241, Victor Harold Matthews, and gradually built its fortune through trade with the Mesopotamian states of Sumer, Assyria, and Akkad, as well as with the Hurrian and Hattian peoples to the northwest, in Asia Minor.WEB, Syria: A country Study – Ancient Syria, Library of Congress, 5 September 2007,weblink Gifts from Pharaohs, found during excavations, confirm Ebla's contact with Egypt.(File:Ebla6.JPG|thumb|left|Ebla royal palace c. 2400 BC)One of the earliest written texts from Syria is a trading agreement between Vizier Ibrium of Ebla and an ambiguous kingdom called Abarsal c. 2300 BC.BOOK, Kenneth Anderson Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament,weblink 2003, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 978-0-8028-4960-1, 285, BOOK, Stephen C. Neff, Justice among Nations,weblink 2014, Harvard University Press, 978-0-674-72654-3, 14, Scholars believe the language of Ebla to be among the oldest known written Semitic languages after Akkadian. Recent classifications of the Eblaite language have shown that it was an East Semitic language, closely related to the Akkadian language.JOURNAL, The Aramaic Language and Its Classification, Journal of Assyrian Academic Studies, 14, 1,weblink Ebla was weakened by a long war with Mari, and the whole of Syria became part of the Mesopotamian Akkadian Empire after Sargon of Akkad and his grandson Naram-Sin's conquests ended Eblan domination over Syria in the first half of the 23rd century BC.BOOK, Trevor Bryce, Ancient Syria: A Three Thousand Year History,weblink 2014, OUP Oxford, 978-0-19-100292-2, 16, BOOK,weblink 1990, Eblaitica: Essays on the Ebla Archives and Eblaite Language, Volume 4, Cyrus Herzl Gordon, Gary Rendsburg, Nathan H. Winter, 68, 978-1-57506-060-6, By the 21st century BC, Hurrians settled the northern east parts of Syria while the rest of the region was dominated by the Amorites, 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 of Babylon. 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,BOOK,weblink The Early Alphabet, John F. Healey, 22, 1990, University of California Press, 978-0-520-07309-8, 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 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.File:God Head Djabul Louvre AO10831.jpg|thumb|upright|God head, the kingdom of YamhadYamhadYamhad (modern Aleppo) dominated northern Syria for two centuries,BOOK,weblink Mari and Karana: Two Old Babylonian Cities, Stephanie Dalley, Stephanie Dalley, 44, 9781931956024, 2002, although Eastern Syria was occupied in the 19th and 18th centuries BC by the Old Assyrian Empire ruled by the Amorite Dynasty of Shamshi-Adad I, and by the Babylonian Empire which was founded by Amorites. Yamhad was described in the tablets of Mari as the mightiest state in the near east and as having more vassals than Hammurabi of Babylon. Yamhad imposed its authority over Alalakh,BOOK,weblink 2005, Canaan in the Second Millennium B.C.E., Nadav Naʼaman, 285, Eisenbrauns, 978-1-57506-113-9, Qatna,BOOK,weblink 1973, The Cambridge Ancient History, Iorwerth Eiddon Stephen Edwards, 32, Cambridge University Press, 978-0-521-08230-3, the Hurrians states and the Euphrates Valley down to the borders with Babylon.BOOK,weblink 2006, Warfare in the Ancient Near East to 1600 BC, William J. Hamblin, Routledge, 978-1-134-52062-6, 259, The army of Yamhad campaigned as far away as Dēr on the border of Elam (modern Iran).BOOK,weblink The Military Establishments at Mari, Jack M. Sasson, 2+3, 1969, Yamhad was conquered and destroyed, along with Ebla, by the Indo-European Hittites from Asia Minor circa 1600 BC.Relations between God and Man in the Hurro-Hittite Song of Release, Mary R. Bachvarova, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Jan–Mar SAAD 2005From this time, Syria became a battle ground for various foreign empires, these being the Hittite Empire, 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 eventually gained the upper hand, destroying the Mitanni Empire and annexing huge swathes of territory previously held by the Hittites and Babylon.

Arameans and Phoenicians

File:Amrit01.jpg|thumb|left|upright=1.15|AmritAmritAround 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 to the east, and the West Semitic speaking Arameans who subsumed the earlier Amorites. They too were subjugated by Assyria and the Hittites for centuries. The Egyptians fought the Hittites for control over western Syria; the fighting reached its zenith in 1274 BC with the Battle of Kadesh.BOOK,weblink The Philosophy of Historiography, John Lange, 2006, Open Road Integrated Media, Incorporated, 978-1-61756-132-0, 475, BOOK,weblink Ramses II and His Time, Immanuel Velikovsky, 23, 9781906833749, 2010, The west remained part of the Hittite empire until its destruction c. 1200 BC,BOOK,weblink Ugarit in Retrospect, Douglas Frayne, 23,24,25, 9780931464072, 1981, while eastern Syria largely became part of the Middle Assyrian Empire,Georges Roux, Ancient Iraq, 3rd ed., Penguin Books, London, 1991, p.381 who also annexed much of the west during the reign of Tiglath-Pileser I 1114–1076 BC.With the destruction of the Hittites and the decline of Assyria in the late 11th century BC, the Aramean tribes gained control of much of the interior, founding states such as Bit Bahiani, Aram-Damascus, Hamath, Aram-Rehob, Aram-Naharaim, and Luhuti. From this point, the region became known as Aramea or Aram. There was also a synthesis between the Semitic Arameans and the remnants of the Indo-European Hittites, with the founding of a number of Syro-Hittite states centered in north central Aram (Syria) and south central Asia Minor (modern Turkey), including Palistin, Carchemish and Sam'al.File:Gerettetegötter löwen.JPG|thumb|upright=1.15|Reliefs from Tel Halaf dating to the Aramean kingdom of Bit BahianiBit BahianiA Canaanite group known as the Phoenicians came to dominate the coasts of Syria, (and also 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 (modern Spain and Portugal), and the coasts of North Africa and most significantly, founding the major city state of 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 and the Western half of Near East then fell to the vast Neo Assyrian Empire (911 BC – 605 BC). The Assyrians introduced Imperial Aramaic as the lingua franca of their empire. This language was to remain dominant in Syria and the entire Near East until after the Arab 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 and Lebanon Eber-Nari. Assyrian domination ended after the Assyrians greatly weakened themselves in a series of brutal internal civil wars, followed by a attacks from; the Medes, Babylonians, Chaldeans, Persians, 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 in northern Syria in 605 BC.The Assyrian Empire was followed by the Neo-Babylonian Empire (605 BC – 539 BC). During this period, Syria became a battle ground between Babylonia and another former Assyrian colony, that of Egypt. The Babylonians, like their Assyrian relations, were victorious over Egypt.

Classical antiquity

File:Palmyra 03.jpg|thumb|left|Ancient city of PalmyraPalmyraFile:Zenobia obversee.png|thumb|left|ZenobiaZenobiaThe Achaemenid Empire, founded by Cyrus the Great, annexed Syria along with Babylonia to its empire in 539 BC. The Persians, retained Imperial Aramaic as one of the diplomatic languages of the Achaemenid Empire (539 BC – 330 BC), as well as the Assyrian name for the new satrapy of Aram/Syria Eber-Nari.Syria was conquered by the Greek Macedonian Empire, ruled by Alexander the Great circa 330 BC, and consequently became Coele-Syria province of the Greek Seleucid Empire (323 BC – 64 BC), with the Seleucid kings styling themselves 'King of Syria' and the city of Antioch being its capital starting from 240.Thus, it was the Greeks who introduced the name "Syria" to the region. Originally an Indo-European corruption of "Assyria" in northern Mesopotamia, the Greeks used this term to describe not only Assyria itself but also the lands to the west which had for centuries been under Assyrian dominion.JOURNAL, Rollinger, Robert, 2006, The terms "Assyria" and "Syria" again", Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 65, 4, 284–287, 10.1086/511103, Thus in the Greco-Roman world both the Arameans of Syria and the Assyrians of 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 were taken by Judean Hasmoneans upon the slow disintegration of the Hellenistic Empire.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 rode to Syria, captured Antioch, its capital, and turned Syria into a Roman province in 64 BC, thus ending the Armenian control over the region which had lasted two decades. Syria prospered under Roman rule, being strategically located on the silk road which gave it massive wealth and importance, making it the battleground for the rivaling Romans and Persians.File:Bosra_pano_Syria.jpg|thumb|Roman Theatre at Bosra in the province of Arabia, present-day Syria]]File:The Jupiter temple in Damascus.jpg|thumb|Temple of Jupiter, DamascusTemple of Jupiter, DamascusPalmyra, a rich and sometimes powerful native Aramaic-speaking kingdom arose in northern Syria in the 2nd century; the Palmyrene established a trade network that made the city one of the richest in the Roman empire. Eventually, in the late 3rd century AD, the Palmyrene king Odaenathus defeated the Persian emperor 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 Minor, Judah and Lebanon, before being finally brought under Roman control in 273 AD.The northern Mesopotamian Assyrian kingdom of Adiabene controlled areas of north east Syria between 10 AD and 117 AD, before it was conquered by Rome.Hist." xviii., vii. 1The Aramaic language has been found as far afield as Hadrians Wall in Ancient Britain, with inscriptions written by Assyrian and Aramean soldiers of the Roman Empire.WEB,weblink When Syrians, Algerians and Iraqis patrolled Hadrian's Wall, Charlotte Higgins, the Guardian, File:Apamea_02.jpg|thumb|left|The ancient city of Apamea, an important commercial center and one of Syria's most prosperous cities in classical antiquity]]Control of Syria eventually passed from the Romans to the Byzantines, with the split in the Roman Empire.The largely Aramaic-speaking population of Syria during the heyday of the Byzantine Empire was probably not exceeded again until the 19th century. Prior to the Arab Islamic Conquest in the 7th century AD, the bulk of the population were Arameans, but Syria was also home to Greek and Roman ruling classes, Assyrians still dwelt in the north east, Phoenicians along the coasts, and Jewish and Armenian communities was also extant in major cities, with Nabateans and pre-Islamic Arabs such as the Lakhmids and Ghassanids dwelling in the deserts of southern Syria. Syriac Christianity had taken hold as the major religion, although others still followed Judaism, Mithraism, Manicheanism, Greco-Roman Religion, Canaanite Religion and Mesopotamian Religion. Syria's large and prosperous population made Syria one of the most important of the Roman and Byzantine provinces, particularly during the 2nd and 3rd centuries (AD).BOOK, Cavendish Corporation, Marshall, World and Its Peoples, Marshall Cavendish, 2006, 978-0-7614-7571-2, 183, File:Julia-domna.jpg|thumb|Julia Domna, Syrian Roman empress of the Severan dynastySeveran dynastySyrians held considerable amounts of power during the Severan dynasty. The matriarch of the family and Empress of Rome as wife of emperor 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 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 (Marcus Julius Philippus), who was born in Roman Arabia. He was emperor from 244 to 249, 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 is significant in the history of Christianity; Saulus of Tarsus, better known as the Apostle Paul, was converted on the Road to Damascus and emerged as a significant figure in the Christian Church at Antioch in ancient Syria, from which he left on many of his missionary journeys. ({{Bibleverse|Acts|9:1–43|}})

Middle Ages

During Muhammad's era

Muhammad's first interaction with the people and tribes of Syria was during the Invasion of Dumatul Jandal in July 626 {{citation|title= The life of Mahomet |url=| first=William|last=Muir|publisher=Smith, Elder & Co|year=1861|pages=225–226}} where he ordered his followers to invade Duma, because Muhammad received intelligence that some tribes there were involved in highway robbery and preparing to attack Medina itself.Mubarakpuri, The Sealed Nectar, pp. 193–194.William Montgomery Watt claims that this was the most significant expedition Muhammad ordered at the time, even though it received little notice in the primary sources. Dumat Al-Jandal was {{convert|500|mi|km|order=flip}} from Medina, and Watt says that there was no immediate threat to Muhammad, other than the possibility that his communications to Syria and supplies to Medina being interrupted. Watt says "It is tempting to suppose that Muhammad was already envisaging something of the expansion which took place after his death", and that the rapid march of his troops must have "impressed all those who heard of it".BOOK, Montgomery Watt, Watt, W. Montgomery, Muhammad at Medina,weblink Oxford University Press, 1956, 978-0-19-577307-1, 35, This expedition receives scant notice in the sources, but in some ways it is the most significant so far. As Dumah was some {{convert, 500, mi, km, flip, on, from Medina there can have been no immediate threat to Muhammad, but it may be, as Caetani suggests, 1 that communications with Syria were being interrupted and supplies to Medina stopped. It is tempting to suppose that was already envisaging something of the expansion which took place after his death.}} (free online)William Muir also believes that the expedition was important as Muhammad followed by 1000 men reached the confines of Syria, where distant tribes had now learnt his name, while the political horizon of Muhammad was extended.

Islamic Syria (al-Sham)

File:Arabischer Maler um 730 002.jpg|thumb|Umayyad fresco from Qasr al-Hayr al-GharbîQasr al-Hayr al-GharbîBy AD 640, Syria was conquered by the Arab Rashidun army led by Khalid ibn al-Walid. In the mid-7th century, the Umayyad dynasty, then rulers of the empire, placed the capital of the empire in Damascus. The country's power declined during later Umayyad rule; this was mainly due to totalitarianism, corruption and the resulting revolutions. The Umayyad dynasty was then overthrown in 750 by the Abbasid dynasty, which moved the capital of empire to Baghdad.Arabic – made official under Umayyad rule{{Citation needed|reason=It's not clear that the Umayyads had any language policy at all, so this claim seems spurious|date=March 2019}} – became the dominant language, replacing Greek and Aramaic of the Byzantine era. In 887, the Egypt-based Tulunids annexed Syria from the Abbasids, and were later replaced by once the Egypt-based Ikhshidids and still later by the Hamdanids originating in Aleppo founded by Sayf al-Dawla.WEB,weblink Syria: History, Encyclopædia Britannica, 25 January 2013,

Crusaders, Ayubids, Mamluks and Nizaris

File:BattleOfHoms1299.JPG|thumb|left|The 1299 Battle of Wadi al-Khazandar. The Mongols under GhazanGhazanSections of Syria were held by French, English, Italian and German overlords between 1098 and 1189 AD during the Crusades and were known collectively as the Crusader states among which the primary one in Syria was the Principality of Antioch. The coastal mountainous region was also occupied in part by the Nizari Ismailis, the so-called Assassins, who had intermittent confrontations and truces with the Crusader States. Later in history when "the Nizaris faced renewed Frankish hostilities, they received timely assistance from the Ayyubids."Farhad Daftary. A Short History of the Ismailis. 1998, Edinburg, UK. Edinburg University Press. Page 146.After a century of Seljuk rule, Syria was largely conquered (1175–1185) by the Kurdish warlord Saladin, founder of the Ayyubid dynasty of Egypt. Aleppo fell to the Mongols of Hulegu in January 1260, and Damascus in March, but then Hulegu was forced to break off his attack to return to China to deal with a succession dispute.A few months later, the Mamluks arrived with an army from Egypt and defeated the Mongols in the Battle of Ain Jalut in Galilee. The Mamluk leader, Baibars, made Damascus a provincial capital. When he died, power was taken by Qalawun. In the meantime, an emir named Sunqur al-Ashqar had tried to declare himself ruler of Damascus, but he was defeated by Qalawun on 21 June 1280, and fled to northern Syria. Al-Ashqar, who had married a Mongol woman, appealed for help from the Mongols. The Mongols of the Ilkhanate took 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.BOOK, Timeframe AD 1200–1300: The Mongol Conquests, Time-Life Books, 1989, 978-0-8094-6437-1, 59–75,weblink In 1400, the Muslim Turco-Mongol conqueror Timur Lenk (Tamurlane) invaded Syria, sacked Aleppo and captured 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 and Assyrian Christian populations, greatly reducing their numbers.WEB,weblink Battle of Aleppo,, 22 February 2003, 25 January 2013, WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 28 April 2009, The Eastern Mediterranean, 1400–1600 A.D,, 23 April 2011, 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.(File:Syrian women, Description de L'Universe (Alain Manesson Mallet, 1683) (cropped).jpg|thumb|Syrian women, 1683)

Ottoman Syria

In 1516, the Ottoman Empire invaded the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt, conquering Syria, and incorporating it into its empire. The Ottoman system was not burdensome to Syrians because the Turks respected Arabic as the language of the Quran, and accepted the mantle of defenders of the faith. Damascus was made the major entrepot for Mecca, and as such it acquired a holy character to Muslims, because of the beneficial results of the countless pilgrims who passed through on the hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca.WEB,weblink Syria – Ottoman, Library of Congress Country Studies, 25 January 2013, {{PD-notice}}File:Cedid Atlas (Syria) 1803.jpg|thumb|1803 Cedid Atlas, showing Ottoman Syria labelled as "Al ShamAl ShamOttoman administration followed a system that led to peaceful coexistence. Each ethno-religious minority—Arab Shia Muslim, Arab Sunni Muslim, Aramean-Syriac Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Maronite Christians, Assyrian Christians, Armenians, Kurds and Jews—constituted a millet.a b Stanford J. Shaw, "Dynamics of Ottoman Society and administration", in "History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey" The religious heads of each community administered all personal status laws and performed certain civil functions as well. In 1831, Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt renounced his loyalty to the Empire and overran Ottoman Syria, capturing Damascus. His short-term rule over the domain attempted to change the demographics and social structure of the region: he brought thousands of Egyptian villagers to populate the plains of Southern Syria, rebuilt Jaffa and settled it with veteran Egyptian soldiers aiming to turn it into a regional capital, and he crushed peasant and Druze rebellions and deported non-loyal tribesmen. By 1840, however, he had to surrender the area back to the Ottomans.From 1864, Tanzimat reforms were applied on Ottoman Syria, carving out the provinces (vilayets) of Aleppo, Zor, Beirut and Damascus Vilayet; Mutasarrifate of Mount Lebanon was created, as well, and soon afterthe Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem was given a separate status.File:Armenian woman kneeling beside dead child in field.png|thumb|Deportees of the Armenian GenocideArmenian GenocideDuring World War I, the Ottoman Empire entered the conflict on the side of Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It ultimately suffered defeat and loss of control of the entire Near East to the 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 and Assyrian Genocide, of which Deir ez-Zor, in Ottoman Syria, was the final destination of these death marches.Pouring a People into the Desert:The "Definitive Solution" of the Unionists to the Armenian Question, Fuat Dundar, A Question of Genocide, ed. Ronald Grigor Suny, Fatma Muge Gocek and Norman M. Naimark, (Oxford University Press, 2011), 280–281. In the midst of World War I, two Allied diplomats (Frenchman 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 to Iran. However, the discovery of oil in the region of Mosul just before the end of the war led to yet another negotiation with France in 1918 to cede this region to the British zone of influence, which was to become Iraq. The fate of the intermediate province of Zor was left unclear; its occupation by Arab nationalists resulted in its attachment to Syria. This border was recognized internationally when Syria became a League of Nations mandate in 1920WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 26 June 2008, Mandat Syrie-Liban, 25 January 2013, fr, and has not changed to date.

French Mandate

File:Hashim Atassi Inauguration 1936.jpg|left|thumb|The inauguration of President Hashim al-AtassiHashim al-AtassiIn 1920, a short-lived independent Kingdom of Syria was established under Faisal I of the Hashemite family. However, his rule over Syria ended after only a few months, following the Battle of Maysalun. French troops occupied Syria later that year after the San Remo conference proposed that the League of Nations put Syria under a French mandate. General Gouraud had according to his secretary de Caix two options: "Either build a Syrian nation that does not exist... by smoothing the rifts which still divide it" or "cultivate and maintain all the phenomena, which require our abitration that these divisions give". De Caix added "I must say only the second option interests me". This is what Gouraud did.BOOK, James Barr, a line in the sand. Britain, France and the struggle that shaped the Middle East, Simon & Schuster, 2011, 978-1-84737-453-0, BOOK, Peter N. Stearns, William Leonard Langer,weblink The Encyclopedia of World History, The Middle East, p. 761, Houghton Mifflin Books, 2001, 978-0-395-65237-4, In 1925, Sultan al-Atrash led a revolt that broke out in the Druze Mountain and spread to engulf the whole of Syria and parts of Lebanon. Al-Atrash won several battles against the French, notably the Battle of al-Kafr on 21 July 1925, the Battle of al-Mazraa on 2–3 August 1925, and the battles of Salkhad, al-Musayfirah and Suwayda. France sent thousands of troops from Morocco and Senegal, leading the French to regain many cities, although resistance lasted until the spring of 1927. The French sentenced Sultan al-Atrash to death, but he had escaped with the rebels to Transjordan and was eventually pardoned. He returned to Syria in 1937 after the signing of the Syrian-French Treaty.File:Ghouta rebels in 1925.jpg|thumb|Syrian rebels in Ghouta during the Great Syrian RevoltGreat Syrian RevoltSyria and France negotiated a treaty of independence in September 1936, and Hashim al-Atassi was the first president to be elected under the first incarnation of the modern republic of Syria. However, the treaty never came into force because the French Legislature refused to ratify it. With the fall of France in 1940 during World War II, Syria came under the control of Vichy France until the British and Free French occupied the country in the Syria-Lebanon campaign in July 1941. Continuing pressure from Syrian nationalists and the British 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.WEB,weblink Background Note: Syria, United States Department of State, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, May 2007, {{PD-notice}}

Independent Syrian Republic

Upheaval dominated Syrian politics from independence through the late 1960s. In May 1948, Syrian forces invaded Palestine, together with other Arab states, and immediately attacked Jewish settlements.Gelber,2006, pp. 138 Their president Shukri al-Quwwatli instructed his troops in the front, "to destroy the Zionists".Morris,2008, pp. 253, 254Tal,2004, pp. 251 The Invasion purpose was prevention of the establishment of the State of Israel.WEB,weblink Syria: World War II and independence, Britannica Online Encyclopedia, Defeat in this war was one of several trigger factors for the March 1949 Syrian coup d'état by Col. Husni al-Za'im, described as the first military overthrow of the Arab World since the start of the Second World War. This was soon followed by another overthrow, by Col. Sami al-Hinnawi, who was himself quickly deposed by Col. Adib Shishakli, all within the same year.Shishakli eventually abolished multipartyism altogether, but was himself overthrown in a 1954 coup and the parliamentary system was restored. However, by this time, power was increasingly concentrated in the military and security establishment. The weakness of Parliamentary institutions and the mismanagement of the economy led to unrest and the influence of Nasserism and other ideologies. There was fertile ground for various Arab nationalist, Syrian nationalist, and socialist movements, which represented disaffected elements of society. Notably included were religious minorities, who demanded radical reform.In November 1956, as a direct result of the Suez Crisis,WEB, Robson, John,weblink Syria hasn't changed, but the world has, Toronto Sun, 10 February 2012, 25 January 2013, Syria signed a pact with the Soviet Union. This gave a foothold for Communist influence within the government in exchange for military equipment. Turkey then became worried about this increase in the strength of Syrian military technology, as it seemed feasible that Syria might attempt to retake İskenderun. Only heated debates in the United Nations lessened the threat of war.BOOK, Brecher, Michael, Jonathan Wilkenfeld, A Study of Crisis, University of Michigan Press, 1997, 345–346, 978-0-472-10806-0, (File:Syrien 1961 Aleppol 1.jpg|thumb|Aleppo in 1961)On 1 February 1958, Syrian President Shukri al-Quwatli and Egypt's Nasser announced the merging of Egypt and Syria, creating the United Arab Republic, and all Syrian political parties, as well as the communists therein, ceased overt activities. Meanwhile, a group of Syrian Ba'athist officers, alarmed by the party's poor position and the increasing fragility of the union, decided to form a secret Military Committee; its initial members were Lieutenant-Colonel Muhammad Umran, Major Salah Jadid and Captain Hafez al-Assad. Syria seceded from the union with Egypt on 28 September 1961, after a coup.

Ba'athist Syria

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 Socialist Ba'ath Party, led by Michel Aflaq and Salah al-Din al-Bitar. The new Syrian cabinet was dominated by Ba'ath members.File:NixonAssad.jpg|thumb|left|Hafez al-Assad greets Richard NixonRichard NixonOn 23 February 1966, the Military Committee carried out an intra-party overthrow, imprisoned President Amin Hafiz and designated a regionalist, civilian Ba'ath government on 1 March. Although Nureddin al-Atassi became the formal head of state, Salah Jadid was Syria's effective ruler from 1966 until November 1970,NEWS, Salah Jadid, 63, Leader of Syria Deposed and Imprisoned by Assad,weblink The New York Times, 24 August 1993, when he was deposed by Hafez al-Assad, who at the time was Minister of Defense. The coup led to a split within the original pan-Arab Ba'ath Party: one Iraqi-led ba'ath movement (ruled 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 and Israel. Conflict over Israeli cultivation of land in the Demilitarized Zone led to 7 April pre-war aerial clashes between Israel and Syria.BOOK, Mark A. Tessler, A History of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,weblink 1994, Indiana University Press, 978-0-253-20873-6, 382, When the Six-Day War broke out between Egypt and Israel, Syria joined the war and attacked Israel as well. In the final days of the war, Israel turned its attention to Syria, capturing two-thirds of the Golan Heights in under 48 hours.NEWS, A Campaign for the Books, Time, 1 September 1967,weblink The defeat caused a split between Jadid and Assad over what steps to take next.BOOK, Line Khatib, Islamic Revivalism in Syria: The Rise and Fall of Ba'thist Secularism,weblink 23 May 2012, Routledge, 978-0-415-78203-6, 34, File:SyriaPanorama2.jpg|thumb|Remains of jets downed by Syrian air defense systems and captured Israeli tanks from the Yom Kippur War in the October War PanoramaOctober War PanoramaDisagreement developed between Jadid, who controlled the party apparatus, and Assad, who controlled the military. The 1970 retreat of Syrian forces sent to aid the PLO during the "Black September" hostilities with Jordan reflected this disagreement.NEWS,weblink Jordan asked Nixon to attack Syria, declassified papers show, CNN, 28 November 2007, 25 October 2008, The power struggle culminated in the November 1970 Syrian Corrective Revolution, a bloodless military overthrow that installed Hafez al-Assad as the strongman of the government.BOOK, Seale, Patrick, Patrick Seale, Asad: The Struggle for the Middle East, University of California Press, 1988, 978-0-520-06976-3,weblink On 6 October 1973, Syria and Egypt initiated the Yom Kippur War against Israel. The Israel Defense Forces reversed the initial Syrian gains and pushed deeper into Syrian territory.BOOK, Rabinovich, Abraham, Abraham Rabinovich, The Yom Kippur War: The Epic Encounter That Transformed the Middle East, Schocken Books, 2005, New York City, 978-0-8052-4176-1, 302, File:Civil war Lebanon map 1983a.gif|thumb|180px|left|Military situation in the (Lebanese Civil War]], 1983: Green – controlled by Syria)File:Destruction in the al-Qunaytra village in the Golan Heights, after the Israeli withdrawal in 1974.jpg|thumb|Quneitra village, largely destroyed before the Israeli withdrawal in June 1974.]]In early 1976, 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 then remained in Lebanon until 2005.In the late 1970s, an Islamist uprising by the Muslim Brotherhood was aimed against the government. Islamists attacked civilians and off-duty military personnel, leading security forces to also kill civilians in retaliatory strikes. The uprising had reached its climax in the 1982 Hama massacre,WEB, Itzchak Weismann,weblink Sufism and Sufi Brotherhoods in Syria and Palestine, University of Oklahoma, 30 January 2013, when some 10,000 – 40,000 people were killed by regular Syrian Army troops.In a major shift in relations with both other Arab states and the Western world, Syria participated in the US-led Gulf War against Saddam Hussein. Syria participated in the multilateral Madrid Conference of 1991, and during the 1990s engaged in negotiations with Israel. These negotiations failed, and there have been no further direct Syrian-Israeli talks since President Hafez al-Assad's meeting with then President Bill Clinton in Geneva in March 2000.WEB,weblink Syria Makes Overture Over Negotiations,, Marc Perelman, 11 July 2003, 25 October 2008, {{Syrian Civil War map}}Hafez al-Assad died on 10 June 2000. His son, Bashar al-Assad, was elected President in an election in which he ran unopposed. His election saw the birth of the Damascus Spring and hopes of reform, but by autumn 2001, the authorities had suppressed the movement, imprisoning some of its leading intellectuals.BOOK, George, Alan, Syria: neither bread nor freedom, 2003, Zed Books, London, 978-1-84277-213-3, 56–58,weblink Instead, reforms have been limited to some market reforms.WEB,weblink Farid N., Ghadry, Syrian Reform: What Lies Beneath, Winter 2005, The Middle East Quarterly, NEWS,weblink Profile: Syria's Bashar al-Assad, 25 October 2008, BBC News, On 5 October 2003, Israel bombed a site near Damascus, claiming it was a terrorist training facility for members of Islamic Jihad.NEWS,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 15 May 2011, Israel launches strikes on Syria in retaliation for bomb attack, The Independent, 23 October 2008, London, Justin, Huggler, 6 October 2003, In March 2004, Syrian Kurds and Arabs clashed in the northeastern city of al-Qamishli. Signs of rioting were seen in the cities of Qamishli and Hasakeh.WEB,weblink Naharnet Newsdesk – Syria Curbs Kurdish Riots for a Merger with Iraq's Kurdistan,, 25 October 2008, In 2005, Syria ended its occupation of Lebanon.NEWS,weblink BBC News, Syria sidesteps Lebanon demands, 6 March 2005, 28 April 2010, Orla, Guerin, On 6 September 2007, foreign jet fighters, suspected as Israeli, reportedly carried out Operation Orchard against a suspected nuclear reactor under construction by North Korean technicians.NEWS, David, Sanger, Israel Struck Syrian Nuclear Project, Analysts Say,weblink The New York Times, 14 October 2007, 15 October 2007,

Syrian Civil War

The ongoing Syrian Civil War was inspired by the Arab Spring revolutions. It began in 2011 as a chain of peaceful protests, followed by an alleged crackdown by the Syrian Army.NEWS,weblink Syrian army tanks 'moving towards Hama', BBC News, 10 May 2011, 18 May 2015, In July 2011, Army defectors declared the formation of the Free Syrian Army and began forming fighting units. The opposition is dominated by Sunni Muslims, whereas the leading government figures are generally associated with Alawites.NEWS, Kim, Sengupta, Antakya,weblink Syria's sectarian war goes international as foreign fighters and arms pour into country, The Independent, 20 February 2012, 22 February 2012, According to various sources, including the United Nations, up to 100,000 people had been killed by June 2013,WEB,weblink Syria deaths near 100,000, says U.N. – and 6,000 are children, The Guardian, 13 June 2013, WEB, Carsten, Paul,weblink Syria: Bodies of 23 'extreme torture' victims found in Idlib as thousands rally for Assad, The Daily Telegraph, 15 March 2012, 25 January 2013, WEB,weblink Arab League delegates head to Syria over 'bloodbath'. USA Today. (22 December 2011). Retrieved 26 June 2012, USA Today, 22 December 2011, 25 January 2013, including 11,000 children."Syria conflict: Children 'targeted by snipers'". BBC News. 24 November 2013 To escape the violence, 4.9 millionWEB, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR),weblink UNHCR Global Trends 2015, United Nations, 15 September 2016, Syrian refugees have fled to neighboring countries of Jordan,WEB, Location Settings,weblink Syria: Refugees brace for more bloodshed,, 12 March 2012, 25 January 2013, Iraq,WEB, Lara Jakes And Yahya Barzanji,weblink Syrian Kurds get cold reception from Iraqi Kurds, Yahoo! News, 14 March 2012, 30 January 2013, Lebanon, and Turkey.NEWS,weblink Syria crisis: number of refugees tops 1.5 million, says UN, The Guardian, 16 May 2013, Syria Regional Refugee Response – Demographic Data of Registered Population. UNHCR. An estimated 450,000 Syrian Christians have fled their homes."Syrian Civil War Causes One-Third of Country’s Christians to Flee Their Homes ". The Algemeiner Journal. 18 October 2013.{{Update inline|date=February 2018}} By October 2017, an estimated 400,000 people had been killed in the war according to the UN.WEB,weblink Syrian Civil War Fast Facts, CNN, Library,


(File:Syria map of Köppen climate classification.svg|thumb|Syria map of Köppen climate classification.)File:LatakiaMediterraneanSea.jpg|left|thumb|The Mediterranean Sea, as viewed from the coastal city of LatakiaLatakiaSyria lies between latitudes 32° and 38° N, and longitudes 35° and 43° E. The climate varies from the humid Mediterranean coast, through a semiarid steppe zone, to arid desert in the east. The country consists mostly of arid plateau, although the northwest part bordering the Mediterranean is fairly green. Al-Jazira in the northeast and Hawran in the south are important agricultural areas. The Euphrates, Syria's most important river, crosses the country in the east. Syria is one of the fifteen states that comprise the so-called "cradle of civilization".BOOK, F. A. Schaeffer, Claude, Syria and the Cradle of Civilization: The Findings of Claude F a Schaeffer in Ras Shamra, Trubner & Company, 2003, 978-1-84453-129-5, Its land straddles the "northwest of the Arabian plate".Egyptian Journal of Geology – Volume 42, Issue 1 – Page 263, 1998Petroleum 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 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.{{wideimage|LatakiaCountrysidePano.png|1100px|Panoramic view of Ayn al-Bayda, Latakia, a village in Northern Syria|100%|center}}

Politics and government

{{See also|Syrian Civil War}}
File:Syrian Parliament in mid-20th century.jpg|thumb|left|upright|The Syrian Parliament in the mid-20th century]]Syria is formally a unitary republic. The current constitution of Syria, adopted in 2012, effectively transformed the country into a semi-presidential republic due to the constitutional right for the election of individuals who do not form part of the National Progressive Front.WEB,weblink Constitution of Syria. Articles 58–59,, 15 February 2012, 30 January 2013, The President is Head of State and the Prime Minister is Head of Government.WEB,weblink Constitution of Syria. Articles 83–118,, 15 February 2012, 30 January 2013, The legislature, the Peoples Council, is the body responsible for passing laws, approving government appropriations and debating policy.WEB,weblink Constitution of Syria. Article 75(1)2)(4),, 15 February 2012, 30 January 2013, 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.WEB,weblink Constitution of Syria. Article 77(2),, 15 February 2012, 30 January 2013, Two alternative governments formed during the Syrian Civil War, the Syrian Interim Government (formed in 2013) and the Syrian Salvation Government (formed in 2017), control portions of the north-west of the country and operate in opposition to the Syrian Arab Republic.The executive branch consists of the president, two vice presidents, the prime minister, and the Council of Ministers (cabinet). The constitution requires the president to be a MuslimWEB,weblink Constitution of Syria, 22 October 2008, but does not make 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 be a Muslim, leading to fierce demonstrations in Hama, Homs and Aleppo organized by the Muslim Brotherhood and the ulama. They labelled Assad the "enemy of Allah" and called for a jihad against his rule.BOOK, Middle Eastern Leaders and Islam: A Precarious Equilibrium, Alianak, Sonia, Peter Lang, 2007, 978-0-8204-6924-9, 55, The government survived a series of armed revolts by Islamists, mainly members of the Muslim Brotherhood, from 1976 until 1982.The constitution gives the president the right to appoint ministers, to declare war and state of emergency, to issue laws (which, except in the case of emergency, require ratification by the People's Council), to declare amnesty, to amend the constitution, and to appoint civil servants and military personnel.WEB,weblink Syria (05/07),, 25 October 2008, 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 did not hold multi-party elections for the legislature, with two-thirds of the seats automatically allocated to the ruling coalition.WEB,weblink Syria: Elections without Politics, Carnegie Endowment, On 7 May 2012, Syria held its first elections in which parties outside the ruling coalition could take part. Seven new political parties took part in the elections, of which Popular Front for Change and Liberation was the largest opposition party. The armed anti-government rebels, however, chose not to field candidates and called on their supporters to boycott the elections.As of 2008 the President is the Regional Secretary of the Ba'ath party in Syria and leader of the National Progressive Front governing coalition. Outside of the coalition are 14 illegal Kurdish political parties.NEWS,weblink Syria clamps down on Kurd parties, BBC News, 22 October 2008, 3 June 2004, File:Bashar and Asmaa al-Assad in Moscow.jpg|thumb|Syria's current president, Bashar al-Assad and first lady Asma al-Assad in MoscowMoscowSyria's judicial branches include the Supreme Constitutional Court, the High Judicial Council, the Court of Cassation, and the State Security Courts. Islamic jurisprudence is a main source of legislation and Syria's judicial system has elements of Ottoman, French, and Islamic laws. Syria has three levels of courts: courts of first instance, courts of appeals, and the constitutional court, the highest tribunal. Religious courts handle questions of personal and family law. The Supreme State Security Court (SSSC) was abolished by President Bashar al-Assad by legislative decree No. 53 on 21 April 2011.NEWS,weblink Decrees on Ending State of Emergency, Abolishing SSSC, Regulating Right to Peaceful Demonstration, Syrian Arab News Agency, 22 April 2011, 30 January 2013, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 28 March 2012, The Personal Status Law 59 of 1953 (amended by Law 34 of 1975) is essentially a codified sharia.WEB, Syria,weblink Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 13, Article 3(2) of the 1973 constitution declares Islamic jurisprudence a main source of legislation. The Code of Personal Status is applied to Muslims by sharia courts.WEB,weblink Syria (Syrian Arab Republic),, 18 February 2013, As a result of the ongoing civil war, various alternative governments were formed, including the Syrian Interim Government, the Democratic Union Party and localized regions governed by sharia law. Representatives of the Syrian Interim government were invited to take up Syria's seat at the Arab League on 28 March 2013 andNEWS, Black, Ian, Syrian opposition takes Arab League seat,weblink The Guardian, 26 March 2013, was recognised as the "sole representative of the Syrian people" by several nations including the United States, United Kingdom and France.WEB,weblink Syria conflict: UK recognises opposition, says William Hague, BBC, 20 November 2012, 28 August 2013, WEB, Hugh Schofield,weblink Syria: France backs anti-Assad coalition, BBC, 13 November 2012, 28 August 2013, NEWS, Madhani, Aamer, Obama says U.S. will recognize Syrian opposition,weblink USA Today, 12 December 2012, 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.WEB,weblink Συρία: Βουλευτικές εκλογές για την διαπραγματευτική ενίσχυση Άσαντ, Γιώργος, Αϊβαλιώτης, 13 April 2016,, 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.WEB,weblink Εκλογές στη Συρία, ενώ η εμπόλεμη κατάσταση παραμένει, 13 April 2016,, 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.WEB,weblink Freedom on the world report,, 25 January 2013,

Human rights

(File:Wounded civilians arrive at hospital Aleppo.jpg|thumb|Wounded civilians arrive at a hospital in Aleppo, October 2012)The situation for human rights in Syria has long been a significant concern among independent organizations such as Human Rights Watch, who in 2010 referred to the country's record as "among the worst in the world."NEWS,weblink Syria among worst for rights abuses: HRW report, 24 January 2011, Reuters, The US State Department funded Freedom HouseWEB, Bush enters debate on freedom in Iran,weblink Guy Dinmore, 31 March 2006, Financial Times, 6 April 2006, bot: unknown,weblink 11 March 2018, {{subscription required}} ranked Syria "Not Free" in its annual Freedom in the World survey.HTTP://FREEDOMHOUSE.ORG/TEMPLATE.CFM?PAGE=363&YEAR=2011&COUNTRY=8143>TITLE= FREEDOM IN THE WORLD REPORT: SYRIA, January 2011, 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.WEB, Syria: Events of 2008,weblink Human Rights Watch, Although Syria's constitution guarantees gender equality, critics say that personal statutes laws and the penal code discriminate against women and girls. Moreover, it also grants leniency for so-called 'Honour killing'. As of 9 November 2011 during the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, the United Nations reported that of the over 3500 total deaths, over 250 deaths were children as young as two years old, and that boys as young as 11 years old have been gang-raped by security services officers.NEWS,weblink More than 250 children among dead, U.N. says, Joe Lauria, The Wall Street Journal, 29 November 2011, 29 November 2011, NEWS,weblink UN report: Syrian forces commit 'gross violations' of human rights, CNN, 29 November 2011, People opposing President Assad's rule claim that more than 200, mostly civilians, were massacred and about 300 injured in Hama in shelling by the Government forces on 12 July 2012.NEWS,weblink 200 massacred in Hama, claim Syrian activists, 13 July 2012, In August 2013, the government was suspected of using chemical weapons against its civilians. US Secretary of State John Kerry said it was "undeniable" that chemical weapons had been used in the country and that President Bashar al-Assad's forces had committed a "moral obscenity" against his own people. "Make no mistake," Kerry said. "President Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world's most heinous weapon against the world's most vulnerable people. Nothing today is more serious, and nothing is receiving more serious scrutiny".WEB,weblink Iran warns west against military intervention in Syria, The Guardian, 28 August 2013, The Emergency Law, effectively suspending most constitutional protections, was in effect from 1963 until 21 April 2011. It was justified by the government in the light of the continuing war with Israel over the Golan Heights.In August 2014, UN Human Rights chief 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 and Christians are being increasingly targeted by Islamists and other groups fighting in the Syrian civil war.NEWS,weblink Christians Squeezed Out by Violent Struggle in North Syria, 13 February 2013, Güsten, Susanne, The New York Times, NEWS, Syria: Sunnis Threatening to Massacre Minority Alawites,weblink Arutz Sheva, 23 December 2011, Elad, Behari, In April 2017, the U.S. Navy carried out a missile attack against a Syrian air baseWEB,weblink US launches missiles into Syria in response to chemical weapons attack, Jennifer, Griffin, 6 April 2017, which had allegedly been used to conduct a chemical weapons attack on Syrian civilians, according to the US government.WEB,weblink Deadly nerve agent sarin used in Syria attack, Turkish Health Ministry says,


File:Syrian soldier aims an AK-47.JPEG|thumb|left|During a firepower demonstration activity, a 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 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.WEB, John Pike,weblink Syria – Overview,, 30 January 2013, 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.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 3 May 2011, Syria reduces compulsory military service by three months, China Daily, 20 March 2011, 23 April 2011, About 20,000 Syrian soldiers were deployed in Lebanon until 27 April 2005, when the last of Syria's troops left the country after three decades.The breakup of the Soviet Union—long the principal source of training, material, and credit for the Syrian forces—may have slowed Syria's ability to acquire modern military equipment. It has an arsenal of surface-to-surface missiles. In the early 1990s, Scud-C missiles with a {{convert|500|km|adj=on|abbr=off}} range were procured from North Korea, and Scud-D, with a range of up to {{convert|700|km|abbr=off}}, is allegedly being developed by Syria with the help of North Korea and Iran, according to Zisser."Syria's embrace of WMD"{{dead link|date=March 2017|bot=medic}}{{cbignore|bot=medic}} by Eyal Zisser, The Globe and Mail, 28 September 2004 (link leads only to abstract; purchase necessary for full article). WEB,weblink Archived copy, 2017-05-23, bot: unknown,weblink" title="">weblink 16 January 2009, Syria received significant financial aid from 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

File:Diplomatic missions of Syria.png|thumb|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 has seen virulent tension with its geographically cultural neighbors, such as Turkey, Israel, Iraq, and Lebanon. Syria enjoyed an improvement in relations with several of the states in its region in the 21st century, prior to the Arab Spring and the Syrian Civil War.Since the ongoing civil war of 2011, and associated killings and human rights abuses, Syria has been increasingly isolated from the countries in the region, and the wider international community. Diplomatic relations have been severed with several countries including: Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, the United States, Belgium, Spain, and the Arab states of the Persian Gulf.WEB, Strenger, Carlo,weblink Assad takes a page out of Russia's book in his war against rebels, Haaretz, 8 February 2012, 15 January 2013, (File:Syria military involvement.svg|thumb|upright=1.15|Map of world and Syria (red) with military involvement.{{legend|red|Countries that support the Syrian government}}{{legend|blue|Countries that support the Syrian rebels}})From the Arab league, Syria continues to maintain diplomatic relations with Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan and Yemen. Syria's violence against civilians has also seen it suspended from the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in 2012. Syria continues to foster good relations with its traditional allies, Iran and Russia, who are among the few countries which have supported the Syrian government in its conflict with the Syrian opposition.Syria is included in the European Union's European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) which aims at bringing the EU and its neighbors closer.

International disputes

{{See also|Turkish occupation of northern Syria|Israeli-occupied territories}}In 1939, while Syria was still a French mandate the French ceded the Sanjak of Alexandretta to 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 and other areas near the border in Turkey came to vote in the elections, shifting the election in favor of secession. Through this, the Hatay Province of Turkey was formed. The move by the French was very controversial in Syria, and only five years later Syria became independent.BOOK, (The New Turkey#Chapter 9: Crossroads, Chapter 9: Crossroads), Morris, Chris, The New Turkey, Granta Books, 203–227, London, 2005, 978-1-86207-865-9, The New Turkey, Chris Morris (journalist), The western two-thirds of Syria's Golan Heights region are since 1967 occupied by Israel and were in 1981 effectively annexed by Israel,
  • "The international community maintains that the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan is null and void and without international legal effect." BOOK,weblink The situation of workers of the occupied Arab territories, International Labour Office, International government publication, International Labour Office, 2009, 978-92-2-120630-9, 23, . "...occupied Syrian Golan Heights..." (The Arab Peace Initiative, 2002 {{webarchive |url= |date=4 June 2009 }}, Retrieved 1 August 2010.)
  • In 2008, a plenary session of the United Nations General Assembly voted by 161–1 in favor of a motion on the "occupied Syrian Golan" that reaffirmed support for UN Resolution 497. (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 territory, which Israel has occupied since 1967". Also, "the Golan Heights, a 450-square mile portion of southwestern Syria that Israel occupied during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war." (CRS Issue Brief for Congress: Syria: U.S. Relations and Bilateral Issues, Congressional Research Service. 19 January 2006)Occupied territory:
  • "Israeli-occupied Golan Heights" (Central Intelligence Agency. CIA World Factbook 2010, Skyhorse Publishing Inc., 2009. p. 339. {{ISBN|1-60239-727-9}}.)
  • "...the United States considers the Golan Heights to be occupied territory subject to negotiation and Israeli withdrawal..." ("CRS Issue Brief for Congress: Israeli-United States Relations", Congressional Research Service, 5 April 2002. pg. 5. Retrieved 1 August 2010.)
  • "Occupied Golan Heights" (Travel advice: Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories {{webarchive|url= |date=20 July 2009 }}, UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Retrieved 1 August 2010.)
  • "In the ICRC's view, the Golan is an occupied territory." (ICRC activities in the occupied Golan during 2007, International Committee of the Red Cross, 24 April 2008.) whereas the eastern third is controlled by Syria, with the 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.Golan, Marsad,weblink The Syrian government continues to demand the return of this territory.{{citation needed|date=April 2018}} The only remaining land Syria has in the Golan is a strip of territory which contains the abandoned city of Quneitra, the governorate's de facto capital Madinat al-Baath and many small villages, mostly populated by Circassians such as Beer Ajam and Hader.{{dubious|date=April 2018}} In March 2019, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the United States will recognize Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights.NEWS, 'The jungle is back.' With his Golan Heights tweet, Trump emboldens the annexation agendas of the world's strongmen,weblink The Globe and Mail, 22 March 2019,
File:Golan heights border.jpg|thumb|The Syrian Golan Heights occupied by Israel since the Six-Day WarSix-Day WarThe Syrian occupation of 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 and the Israeli occupied Golan Heights. The farms, which are 11 km long and about 3 kilometers wide were occupied by Israel in 1981, along with rest of the Golan Heights.WEB,weblink Israeli views on Shebaa Farms harden, 25 August 2006, BBC News, Yet following Syrian army advances the Israeli occupation ended and Syria became the de facto ruling power over the farms. Yet after Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, Hezbollah claimed that the withdrawal was not complete because Shebaa was on Lebanese – not Syrian – territory.WEB,weblink Shebaa Farms – nub of conflict, 8 October 2006, Ynetnews, After studying 81 different maps, the United Nations concluded that there is no evidence of the abandoned farmlands being Lebanese.WEB,weblink Har Dov withdrawal not on the table, The Jerusalem Post, Nevertheless, Lebanon has continued to claim ownership of the territory.

Administrative divisions

Syria is divided into 14 governorates, which are sub-divided into 61 districts, which are further divided into sub-districts. The Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, while de facto autonomous, is not recognized by the Syrian Arab Republic as such.{| border="0" cellpadding="3"
(File:Syria, administrative divisions - Nmbrs - colored.svgupright=2|Governorates of Syria)
Latakia Governorate>Latakia Latakia
Idlib Governorate>Idlib Idlib
Aleppo Governorate>Aleppo Aleppo
Raqqa Governorate>Raqqa Raqqa
Al-Hasakah Governorate>Al-Hasakah Al-Hasakah
Tartus Governorate>Tartus Tartus
Hama Governorate>Hama Hama
Deir ez-Zor Governorate>Deir ez-Zor Deir ez-Zor
Homs Governorate>Homs Homs
Damascus Governorate>Damascus Damascus
Rif Dimashq Governorate>Rif Dimashq –
Quneitra Governorate>Quneitra Quneitra
Daraa Governorate>Daraa Daraa
As-Suwayda Governorate>Al-Suwayda Al-Suwayda

Agrarian reform

Agrarian reform measures were introduced into Syria which consisted of three interrelated programs: Legislation regulation the relationship between agriculture laborers and landowners: legislation governing the ownership and use of private and state domain land and directing the economic organization of peasants; and measures reorganizing agricultural production under state control.Heydemann, Steven. Authoritarianism in Syria. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1999. Print. Pg.110 Despite high levels of inequality in land ownership these reforms allowed for progress in redistribution of land from 1958 to 1961 than any other reforms in Syria's history, since independence.The first law passed (Law 134; passed 4 September 1958) in response to concern about peasant mobilization and expanding peasants' rights.Heydemann, Steven. Authoritarianism in Syria. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1999. Print. This was designed to strengthen the position of sharecroppers and agricultural laborers in relation to land owners. This law led to the creation of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, which announced the implementation of new laws that would allow the regulation of working condition especially for women and adolescents, set hours of work, and introduce the principle of minimum wage for paid laborers and an equitable division of harvest for sharecroppers.Heydemann, Steven. Authoritarianism in Syria. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1999. Print. Pg 111. Furthermore, it obligated landlords to honor both written and oral contracts, established collective bargaining, contained provisions for workers' compensation, health, housing, and employment services. Law 134 was not designed strictly to protect workers. It also acknowledged the rights of landlords to form their own syndicates.

Internet and telecommunications

Telecommunications in Syria are overseen by the Ministry of Communications and Technology.WEB,weblink وزارة الاتصالات والتقانة,, 28 August 2013,weblink" title="">weblink 20 August 2013, dead, In addition, Syrian Telecom plays an integral role in the distribution of government internet access.WEB,weblink AT&T – 4G LTE, Cell Phones, U-verse, TV, Internet & Phone Service,, 28 August 2013, dead,weblink 23 July 2013, The Syrian Electronic Army serves as a pro-government military faction in cyberspace and has been long considered an enemy of the hacktivist group Anonymous.WEB, Katerji, Oz,weblink The Syrian Electronic Army Are at Cyber War with Anonymous,, 4 April 2013, 28 August 2013, Because of internet censorship laws, 13,000 internet activists were arrested between March 2011 and August 2012.BOOK, Internet Anonymity in Syria, Challenges and Solution, 10.1007/978-94-007-5860-5_21, 215, 177–186, Lecture Notes in Electrical Engineering, 2013, Eissa, T, Cho, Gi-Hwan, 978-94-007-5859-9,


{{See also|Tourism in Syria}}{{multiple image
| image1 = Syria Export Treemap.png
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| caption1 = Pre-civil war Syria Export Treemap
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| caption2 = Syria Export Treemap by Product (2014) from Harvard Atlas of Economic Complexity}}
{{As of|2015}}, the Syrian economy relies upon inherently unreliable revenue sources such as dwindling customs and income taxes which are heavily bolstered by lines of credit from Iran. Iran is believed to spend between $6 billion and US$20 billion a year on Syria during the Syrian Civil War.NEWS,weblink Iran spends billions to prop up Assad, TDA, Bloomberg, 11 June 2015, 11 June 2015, The Syrian economy has contracted 60% and the Syrian pound has lost 80% of its value, with the economy becoming part state-owned and part war economy.WEB,weblink Syria's economy cut in half by conflict, BBC News, 23 June 2015, 24 June 2015, At the outset of the ongoing Syrian Civil War, Syria was classified by the World Bank as a "lower middle income country."WEB,weblink Country and Lending Groups, World Bank, 26 July 2012, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 18 March 2011, In 2010, Syria remained dependent on the oil and agriculture sectors.WEB, Syria Country Brief, September 2010,weblink World Bank, The oil sector provided about 40% of export earnings. Proven offshore expeditions have indicated that large sums of oil exist on the Mediterranean Sea floor between Syria and Cyprus.BOOK,weblink Transactions of the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers, The Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers, 1921, The agriculture sector contributes to about 20% of GDP and 20% of employment. Oil reserves are expected to decrease in the coming years and Syria has already become a net oil importer. Since the civil war began, the economy shrank by 35%, and the Syrian pound has fallen to one-sixth of its prewar value.NEWS, Syria Weighs Its Tactics as Pillars of Its Economy Continue to Crumble,weblink 13 July 2013, The New York Times, 13 July 2013, The government increasingly relies on credit from Iran, Russia and China.File:Olive groves in Syria.jpg|thumb|left|Olive groves in Homs GovernorateHoms GovernorateFile:Aleppo soap 01.jpg|thumb|left|Aleppo soapAleppo soapThe economy is highly regulated by the government, which has increased subsidies and tightened trade controls to assuage protesters and protect foreign currency reserves. Long-run economic constraints include foreign trade barriers, declining oil production, high unemployment, rising budget deficits, and increasing pressure on water supplies caused by heavy use in agriculture, rapid population growth, industrial expansion, and water pollution. The UNDP announced in 2005 that 30% of the Syrian population lives in poverty and 11.4% live below the subsistence level.Syria's share in global exports has eroded gradually since 2001. The real per capita GDP growth was just 2.5% per year in the 2000–2008 period. Unemployment is high at above 10%. Poverty rates have increased from 11% in 2004 to 12.3% in 2007.WEB, Economic Challenges and Reform Options for Syria: A Growth Diagnostics Report,weblink World Bank, 10, 21 February 2011, 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.File:Al-Hamidiyah Souq 02.jpg|thumb|Al-Hamidiyah SouqAl-Hamidiyah SouqFile:Beach Latakia 4.jpg|thumb| A cove in LatakiaLatakiaPolitical instability poses a significant threat to future economic development. Foreign investment is constrained by violence, government restrictions, economic sanctions, and international isolation. Syria's economy also remains hobbled by state bureaucracy, falling oil production, rising budget deficits, and inflation.WEB, Syria,weblink Index of Economic Freedom, 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.NEWS,weblink Syria reverts to socialist economic policies to ease tension, Reuters, 4 July 2012, 27 October 2012, {{As of|2012}}, because of the ongoing Syrian civil war, the value of Syria's overall exports has been slashed by two-thirds, from the figure of US$12 billion in 2010 to only US$4 billion in 2012. Syria's GDP declined by over 3% in 2011,WEB,weblink Syria's ailing economy hits citizens and regime, Financial Times, 6 February 2012, 24 August 2012, and is expected to further decline by 20% in 2012.WEB, Syrian Economy To Shrink By 20 Percent in 2012 As Country Struggles With War,weblink Huffington Post, 12 October 2012, {{As of|2012}}, Syria's oil and tourism industries in particular have been devastated, with US$5 billion lost to the ongoing conflict of the civil war.NEWS, Syria's battling economy may hold on with help from friends,weblink Agence France-Presse, 28 August 2012, dead,weblink 23 August 2012, Reconstruction needed because of the ongoing civil war will cost as much as US$10 billion. Sanctions have sapped the government's finance. US and European Union bans on oil imports, which went into effect in 2012, are estimated to cost Syria about $400 million a month.NEWS, Syrians struggle with shortages as economy buckles,weblink Associated Press, 22 January 2013, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 13 May 2013, Revenues from tourism have dropped dramatically, with hotel occupancy rates falling from 90% before the war to less than 15% in May 2012. Around 40% of all employees in the tourism sector have lost their jobs since the beginning of the war.In May 2015, ISIS captured Syria's phosphate mines, one of the Syrian governments last chief sources of income.WEB,weblink Isil seizes Syrian regime's lucrative phosphate mines, The Telegraph, Sherlock, Ruth, 27 May 2015, 11 June 2015, The following month, ISIS blew up a gas pipeline to Damascus that was used to generate heating and electricity in Damascus and Homs; "the name of its game for now is denial of key resources to the regime" an analyst stated.NEWS,weblink IS blows up Syria gas pipeline serving capital: monitor, Yahoo News, AFP, 10 June 2015, 11 June 2015, In addition, ISIS was closing in on Shaer gas field and three other facilities in the area—Hayan, Jihar and Ebla—with the loss of these western gas fields having the potential to cause Iran to further subsidize the Syrian government.WEB,weblink String of losses in Syria leaves Assad regime increasingly precarious, The Guardian, Shaheen, Kareem, 11 June 2015, 11 June 2015,

Petroleum industry

File:Oil refinery in Homs, 2010.jpg|thumb|Oil refinery in HomsHomsSyria's petroleum industry has been subject to sharp decline. In September 2014, ISIS was producing more oil than the government at {{convert|80000|oilbbl/d|m3/d|abbr=on}} compared to the government's {{convert|17000|oilbbl/d|m3/d|abbr=on}} with the Syrian Oil Ministry stating that by the end of 2014, oil production had plunged further to {{convert|9329|oilbbl/d|m3/d|abbr=on}}; ISIS has since captured a further oil field, leading to a projected oil production of {{convert|6829|oilbbl/d|m3/d|abbr=on}}.NEWS,weblink Syria regime revenues shrink as losses mount, The Daily Star, AFP, 30 May 2015, 31 May 2015, 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.NEWS,weblink Syria raises fuel prices to snuff out black market, soothe unrest, 27 January 2015, 28 January 2015, Reuters, Al-Khalidi, Suleiman, Historically, the country produced heavy-grade oil from fields located in the northeast since the late 1960s. In the early 1980s, light-grade, low-sulphur oil was discovered near Deir ez-Zor in eastern Syria. Syria's rate of oil production has decreased dramatically from a peak close to {{convert|600000|oilbbl/d|m3/d}} (bpd) in 1995 down to less than {{convert|182500|oilbbl/d|m3/d|abbr=on}} in 2012.WEB,weblink Syria's oil production on Index Mundi, 15 October 2016, Since 2012 the production has decreased even more, reaching in 2014 {{convert|32000|oilbbl/d|m3/d}} (bpd). Official figures quantity the production in 2015 at {{convert|27000|oilbbl/d|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. Oil and gas revenues constituted in 2012 around 20% of total GDP and 25% of total government revenue.WEB, The Syrian Economy: Hanging by a Thread,weblink Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 20 June 2012, (File:جسر الرستن الكبير.jpg|thumb|Expressway M5 near Al-Rastan)


Syria has four international airports (Damascus, Aleppo, Lattakia and Kamishly), which serve as hubs for Syrian Air and are also served by a variety of foreign carriers.{{citation needed|reason=Not clear if these airports/airlines are actually working|date=January 2017}}The majority of Syrian cargo is carried by Syrian Railways (the Syrian railway company), which links up with Turkish State Railways (the Turkish counterpart). For a relatively underdeveloped country, Syria's railway infrastructure is well maintained with many express services and modern trains.WEB,weblink How to travel by train from London to Syria | Train travel in Syria,, 25 October 2008, The road network in Syria is {{convert|69,873|km|abbr=off}} long, including {{convert|1,103|km|abbr=off}} of expressways. The country also has {{convert|900|km|abbr=off}} of navigable but not economically significant waterways.WEB,weblink Syria, The World Factbook, CIA,

Water supply and sanitation

Syria is a semiarid country with scarce water resources. The largest water consuming sector in Syria is agriculture. Domestic water use stands at only about 9% of total water use.M. Salman & W. Mulla. The Utilization of Water Resources for Agriculture in Syria: Analysis of Current Situation and Future Challenges weblink A big challenge for Syria is its high population growth with a rapidly increasing demand for urban and industrial water. In 2006 the population of Syria was 19.4 million with a growth rate of 2.7%.World Bank (2001). Syrian Arab Republic Irrigation Sector Report. Rural Development, Water and Environment Group, Middle East and North Africa Region, Report No. 22602-SYR weblink" title="https:/-/">weblink


{{Historical populationsCentral Bureau of Statistics (Syria)>Central Bureau of Statistics of the Syrian Arab Republic, 2011POPULATION EXISTED IN SYRIA ACCORDING TO CENSUSES (1960, 1970, 1981, 1994, 2004) AND ESTIMATES OF THEIR NUMBER IN MID YEARS 2005–2011(000)>URL=HTTP://WWW.CBSSYR.SY/YEARBOOK/2011/DATA-CHAPTER2/TAB-10-2-2011.HTMACCESSDATE=18 OCTOBER 2015ARCHIVE-DATE=23 OCTOBER 2015, dead, |title = Historical populations (in thousands)|percentages = pagr4565000630500090460001378200017921000211240001873498718528105Euphrates River valley and along the coastal plain, a fertile strip between the coastal mountains and the desert. Overall population density in Syria is about 99 per square kilometre (258 per square mile). According to the World Refugee Survey 2008, published by the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Syria hosted a population of refugees and asylum seekers numbering approximately 1,852,300. The vast majority of this population was from Iraq (1,300,000), but sizeable populations from Palestine (543,400) and Somalia (5,200) also lived in the country.NEWS, World Refugee Survey 2008, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, 19 June 2008,weblink dead,weblink" title="">weblink 28 December 2012, In what the UN has described as "the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era",WEB, Politi, Daniel, 30 August 2014, U.N.: Syria Crisis Is 'Biggest Humanitarian Emergency of Our Era',weblink Slate (magazine), Slate, 1 September 2014, about 9.5 million Syrians, half the population, have been displaced since the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War in March 2011;NEWS, Nebehay, Stephanie, 29 August 2014, Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all Syrians displaced – U.N.,weblink Reuters, 29 August 2014, 4 million are outside the country as refugees.WEB, Demographic Data of Registered Population,weblink UNHCR, 29 August 2014,

Ethnic groups

(File:Umayyad Mosque, Aleppo, Syria (5077865830).jpg|thumb|left|Children in Aleppo)(File:Damascus, traditional clothing (6364877017).jpg|thumb|Damascus, traditional clothing)Syrians are an overall indigenous Levantine people, closely related to their immediate neighbors, such as Lebanese, Palestinians, Jordanians and Jews.JOURNAL, Extensive Female-Mediated Gene Flow from Sub-Saharan Africa into Near Eastern Arab Populations, 1180338, 2003, Richards, M, Rengo, C, Cruciani, F, Gratrix, F, Wilson, JF, Scozzari, R, MacAulay, V, Torroni, A, 72, 4, 1058–1064, American Journal of Human Genetics, 10.1086/374384, 12629598, WEB,weblink In the Wake of the Phoenicians: DNA study reveals a Phoenician-Maltese link, National Geographic Magazine, October 2004, 30 January 2013, Syria has a population of approximately 18,500,000 (2019 estimate). Syrian Arabs, together with some 600,000 Palestinian not including the 6 million refugees outside the country. Arabs make up roughly 74% of the population.WEB,weblink Syria, 2018, The World Factbook, The indigenous Assyrians and Western Aramaic-speakers number around 400,000 people,WEB,weblink Syria's Assyrians threatened by extremists – Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East, Al-Monitor, 24 July 2014, with the Western Aramaic-speakers living mainly in the villages of Ma'loula, 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 dialects as spoken and written languages.WEB,weblink Turkey-Syria deal allows Syriacs to cross border for religious holidays, Today's Zaman, 26 April 2008, 23 April 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 11 May 2011, The second-largest ethnic group in Syria are the Kurds. They constitute about 9%WEB,weblink Syria – Kurds, Library of Congress Country Studies, to 10%{{citation|last=Khalifa|first=Mustafa|year=2013|title=The impossible partition of Syria|url=|pages=3–5|publisher=Arab Reform Initiative|quote=Arabs constitute the major ethnic group in Syria, making up between 80 and 85% of the population. Kurds are the second largest ethnic group in Syria, making up around 10% of the Syrian population and distributed among four regions...with a Yazidi minority that numbers around 40,000...Turkmen are the third-largest ethnic group in Syria, making up around 4–5% of the population. Some estimations indicate that they are the second biggest group, outnumbering Kurds, drawing on the fact that Turkmen are divided into two groups: the rural Turkmen who make up 30% of the Turkmen in Syria and have kept their mother tongue, and the urban Turkmen who have become Arabised and no longer speak their mother language... Assyrians are the fourth-largest ethnic group in Syria. They represent the original and oldest inhabitants of Syria, today making up around 3–4% of the Syrian population... Circassians are the fifth-largest ethnic group in Syria, making up around 1.5% of the population... Armenians are sixth-largest ethnic group in Syria, making up around 1% of the population... There are also a small number of other ethnic groups in Syria, including Greeks, Persians, Albanians, Bosnian, Pashtuns, Russians and Georgians...}} of the population, or approximately 1.6 million people (including 40,000 Yazidis). Most Kurds reside in the northeastern corner of Syria and most speak the Kurmanji variant of the Kurdish language.The third largest ethnic group are the Turkish-speaking Syrian Turkmen/Turkoman. There are no reliable estimates of their total population, with estimates ranging from several hundred thousand to 3.5 million.WEB, BBC, 2015, Who are the Turkmen in Syria?,weblink There are no reliable population figures, but they are estimated to number between about half a million and 3.5 million., BBC, NEWS, The New York Times, 2015, Who Are the Turkmens of Syria?,weblink Q. How many are there? A. No reliable figures are available, and estimates on the number of Turkmens in Syria and nearby countries vary widely, from the hundreds of thousands up to 3 million or more., The New York Times, {{citation |last=Peyrouse|first=Sebastien|year=2015|title=Turkmenistan: Strategies of Power, Dilemmas of Development|page=62|publisher=Routledge|isbn=978-0230115521|quote=There are nearly one million [Turkmen] in Syria...}}The fourth largest ethnic group are the Assyrians (3–4%), followed by the Circassians (1.5%) and the Armenians (1%), most of which are the descendants of refugees who arrived in Syria during the Armenian Genocide. Syria holds the 7th largest Armenian population in the world. They are mainly gathered in Aleppo, Qamishli, Damascus and Kesab.(File:Syria Ethno-religious composition..jpg|thumb|The ethno-religious composition of Syria)There are also smaller ethnic minority groups, such as the Albanians, Bosnians, Georgians, Greeks, Persians, Pashtuns and Russians. However, most of these ethnic minorities have become Arabized to some degree, particularly those who practice the Muslim faith.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 and opportunities elsewhere, the Jews began to emigrate in the second half of the 19th century to Great Britain, the United States, and Israel. The process was completed with the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. Today only a few Jews remain in Syria.The largest concentration of the Syrian diaspora outside the Arab world is in Brazil, which has millions of people of Arab and other Near Eastern ancestries.WEB,weblink The Arabs of Brazil, Saudi Aramco World, September–October 2005, 30 January 2013, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 26 November 2005, Brazil is the first country in the Americas to offer humanitarian visas to Syrian refugees.WEB, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees,weblink UN refugee agency welcomes Brazil announcement of humanitarian visas for Syrians,, 24 July 2014, The majority of Arab Argentines are from either Lebanese or Syrian background.WEB,weblink Inmigracion sirio-libanesa en Argentina, Spanish, Confederación de Entidades Argentino Árabes, 30 January 2013, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 20 June 2010,


{{Pie chart|thumb = leftYEAR=2006 ACCESSDATE=28 JUNE 2009, Islam in Syria>Islam|value1 = 87|color1 = MediumSeaGreenChristianity in Syria>Christianity|value2 = 10|color2 = blueDruze in Syria>Druzism|value3 = 3|color3 = SaddleBrown}}File:Omayad Mosque of Aleppo Syria.jpg|thumb|Great Mosque of Aleppo, AleppoAleppoFile:Syriac orthodox COA.svg|thumb|upright=0.65|Coat of arms of the Syriac Orthodox ChurchSyriac Orthodox ChurchSunni Muslims make up between 69–74% of Syria's population and Sunni Arabs account for 59–60% of the population. Most Kurds (8.5%){{citation|last1=Drysdale|first1=Alasdair|last2=Hinnebusch|first2=Raymond A.|year=1991|title=Syria and the Middle East Peace Process|page=222|publisher=Council on Foreign Relations|isbn=978-0876091050|url=}} and most Turkoman (3%) are Sunni and account for the difference between Sunnis and Sunni Arabs, while 13% of Syrians are Shia Muslims (particularly Alawite, Twelvers, and Ismailis but there are also Arabs, Kurds and Turkoman), 10% Christian (the majority are Antiochian Greek Orthodox, the rest are Syrian Orthodox, Greek Catholic and other Catholic Rites, Assyrian Church of the East, Armenian Orthodox, Protestants and other denominations), and 3% Druze. Druze number around 500,000, and concentrate mainly in the southern area of Jabal al-Druze.BOOK, Danna, Nissim, The Druze in the Middle East: Their Faith, Leadership, Identity and Status, Sussex Academic Press, Brighton, December 2003, 227, 978-1-903900-36-9,weblink President Bashar al-Assad's family is Alawite and Alawites dominate the government of Syria and hold key military positions.JOURNAL, 4283331, The Alawi Capture of Power in Syria, Daniel, Pipes, 1 January 1989, Middle Eastern Studies, 25, 4, 429–450, 10.1080/00263208908700793, In May 2013, SOHR stated that out of 94,000 killed during the Syrian Civil War, at least 41,000 were Alawites.NEWS,weblink Death toll in Syria likely as high as 120,000: group, Reuters, 14 May 2013, 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 10.9%, the Syriac Orthodox make up 22.4%; Assyrian Church of the East and several smaller Christian denominations account for the remainder. Many Christian monasteries also exist. Many Christian Syrians belong to a high socio-economic class.WEB, Tomader Fateh,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 2 March 2010, Patriarch of Antioch: I will be judged if I do not carry the Church and each one of you in my heart, Forward Magazine, 25 October 2008, 30 January 2013,


Arabic is the official language of the country. Several modern Arabic dialects are used in everyday life, most notably Levantine in the west and Mesopotamian in the northeast. According to The Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics, in addition to Arabic, the following languages are spoken in the country, in order of the number of speakers: Kurdish,{{citation |last=Behnstedt|first=Peter|year=2008|chapter=Syria|title=Encyclopedia of Arabic language and linguistics|volume=4|page=402|publisher=Brill Publishers|isbn=978-90-04-14476-7}} Turkish, Neo-Aramaic (four dialects), Circassian, Chechen, Armenian, and finally Greek. However, none of these minority languages have official status.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 is still spoken in the village of Ma'loula as well as two neighboring villages, {{convert|35|mi|km|order=flip|abbr=on}} northeast of Damascus.English and French are widely spoken as second languages, but English is more often used.

Largest cities

{{Largest cities of Syria}}


File:Dabke2.jpg|thumb|DabkeDabkeSyria is a traditional society with a long cultural history.BOOK, Hopwood, Derek, Derek Hopwood, Syria 1945–1986: Politics and Society, Routledge, 1988, 978-0-04-445039-9,weblink Importance is placed on family, religion, education, self-discipline and respect. Syrians' taste for the traditional arts is expressed in dances such as the al-Samah, the Dabkeh in all their variations, and the sword dance. Marriage ceremonies and the births of children are occasions for the lively demonstration of folk customs.BOOK, Salamandra, Christa, Derek Hopwood, A New Old Damascus: Authenticity and Distinction in Urban Syria, Indiana University Press, 2004, 978-0-253-21722-6, 103,


File:Adonis Cracow Poland May12 2011 Fot Mariusz Kubik 08.JPG|thumb|upright=0.75|AdunisAdunisThe literature of Syria has contributed to Arabic literature and has a proud tradition of oral and written poetry. Syrian writers, many of whom migrated to Egypt, played a crucial role in the nahda or Arab literary and cultural revival of the 19th century. Prominent contemporary Syrian writers include, among others, Adonis, Muhammad Maghout, Haidar Haidar, Ghada al-Samman, Nizar Qabbani and Zakariyya Tamer.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.


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


Television was introduced to Syria and Egypt in 1960, when both 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 world.BOOK, Salti, Rasha, Insights into Syrian Cinema: Essays and Conversations with Contemporary Filmmakers, ArteEast, 2006, 978-1-892494-70-2, Nearly all of Syria's media outlets are state-owned, and the Ba'ath Party controls nearly all newspapers.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 27 December 2010, Freedom House report on Syria (2010), Freedom House, The authorities operate several intelligence agencies,BOOK, Wright, Robin, Dreams and shadows, the Future of the Middle East, Penguin Press, 214, 2008, more than one dozen intelligence agencies, among them Shu'bat al-Mukhabarat al-'Askariyya, employing many operatives.BOOK, Wright, Robin, Dreams and shadows, the Future of the Middle East, Penguin Press, 230, 2008, hundreds of thousands of mukhabarat according to dissident Riad Seif, During the Syrian Civil War many of Syria's artists, poets, writers and activists have been incarcerated, and some have been killed, including famed cartoonist Akram Raslam.WEB,weblink Akram Raslan: How Caricatures Shake Tyranny, 13 April 2015, Syria Untold, 23 September 2015,


File:Aleppo International Stadium, day view, 2009 (2).jpg|thumb|Aleppo International StadiumAleppo International StadiumThe most popular sports in Syria are football, basketball, swimming, and tennis. Damascus was home to the fifth and seventh Pan Arab Games. Many popular football teams are based in Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, Latakia, etc.The Abbasiyyin Stadium in Damascus is home to the Syrian national football team. The team enjoyed some success, having qualified for four Asian Cup competitions. The team had its first international on 20 November 1949, losing to Turkey 7–0. The team's best ranking ever by FIFA was being 73rd in the world from June to August 2018.


File:Fattoush.JPG|thumb|right|FattoushFattoushSyrian cuisine is rich and varied in its ingredients, linked to the regions of Syria where a specific dish has originated. Syrian food mostly consists of Southern Mediterranean, Greek, and Southwest Asian dishes. Some Syrian dishes also evolved from Turkish and French cooking: dishes like shish kebab, stuffed zucchini/courgette, and yabraʾ (stuffed grape leaves, the word yabraʾ deriving from the Turkish word yaprak, meaning leaf).The main dishes that form Syrian cuisine are kibbeh, hummus, tabbouleh, fattoush, labneh, shawarma, mujaddara, shanklish, pastırma, sujuk and baklava. Baklava is made of filo pastry filled with chopped nuts and soaked in honey. Syrians often serve selections of appetizers, known as meze, before the main course. Za'atar, minced beef, and cheese manakish are popular hors d'œuvres. The Arabic flatbread khubz is always eaten together with meze.Drinks in Syria vary, depending on the time of day and the occasion. Arabic coffee, 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 a well-known beverage, served mostly on special occasions. Other Syrian beverages include ayran, jallab, white coffee, and a locally manufactured beer called Al Shark.NEWS,weblink Damascus, 15 October 2009, Raidió Teilifís Éireann, 26 November 2009, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 4 December 2009,


File:Damascus University.jpg|thumb|Damascus University headquarters in BaramkehBaramkehEducation 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 aged 15 and older is 90.7% for males and 82.2% for females.WEB,weblink U.S. Relations With Syria,, 24 October 2012, 25 January 2013, WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink dead, 11 May 2011, Syria's Education System – Report – June 2001, 23 April 2011, File:UIS Literacy Rate Syria population plus15 1980 2015.png|thumb|left|UIS adult literacy rate of Syria]]Since 1967, all schools, colleges, and universities have been under close government supervision by the Ba'ath Party.WEB,weblink Syria – Education,, 25 October 2008, There are 6 state universities in SyriaWEB, Ministry of Higher Education,weblink Public universities, Ministry of Higher Education, 23 November 2011, 22 January 2013,weblink" title="">weblink 5 August 2012, dead, and 15 private universities.WEB,weblink Private universities, Ministry of Higher Education, 23 November 2011, 22 January 2013, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 13 November 2012, The top two state universities are Damascus University (210,000 students as of 2014)WEB, Forward Magazine, Interview with President of Damascus University,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 18 June 2008, February 2008, and University of Aleppo.Forward Magazine, Interview with President of Aleppo University, May 2008. {{webarchive |url= |date=6 September 2015 }} The top private universities in Syria are: Syrian Private University, Arab International University, University of Kalamoon and International University for Science and Technology. There are also many higher institutes in Syria, like the Higher Institute of Business Administration, which offer undergraduate and graduate programs in business.WEB, Getting education right,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 3 October 2010, March 2008, According to the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, the top-ranking universities in the country are Damascus University (3540th worldwide), the University of Aleppo (7176th) and Tishreen University (7968th).WEB, Syrian Arab Republic,weblink Ranking Web of Universities, 26 February 2013,


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.WEB, Health,weblink SESRIC, 5 March 2013,weblink" title="">weblink 13 May 2013, dead, The life expectancy at birth was 75.7 years in 2010, or 74.2 years for males and 77.3 years for females.WEB, Demography,weblink SESRIC, 5 March 2013,

See also


General references
  • Boczek, Boleslaw Adam (2006). International Law: A Dictionary. Scarecrow Press. {{ISBN|0-8108-5078-8}}
  • BOOK, Finkelstein, Norman,weblink Image and reality of the Israel-Palestine conflict, Verso, 2003, 978-1-85984-442-7, harv,
  • {{Citation | last = Glass | first = Charles | title = Tribes with Flags: A Dangerous Passage Through the Chaos of the Middle East | publisher = Atlantic Monthly Press (New York) and Picador (London) | year = 1990 | isbn = 978-0-436-18130-6}}.
  • Karoubi, Mohammad Taghi (2004). Just or Unjust War? Ashgate Publishing {{ISBN|0-7546-2375-0}}
  • {{Citation | title = Forward Magazine | url =weblink | type = Syria's English monthly since 2007}}.
  • weblink" title="">Orsam Suriye Türkleri Raporu-Orsam Syria Turks

Further reading

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

External links

{{Sister project links|Syria|voy=Syria}}
  • {{CIA World Factbook link|sy|Syria}}
  • {{curlie|Regional/Middle_East/Syria}}
  • {{GovPubs|syria}}
  • Syria profile from the BBC News
  • {{ArabDecision|coun_sel_3_5.htm}}
  • {{wikiatlas|Syria}}
{hide}Geographic location
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| North = {{flag|Turkey}}
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| West = {{flag|Cyprus}} • Mediterranean Sea
| Centre = {{flagicon|SYR}} Syria
| East = {{flag|Iraq}}
| Southwest = {{flag|Lebanon}} • {{flag|Israel}}
| South = {{flag|Jordan}} • {{flag|Iraq}}
| Southeast = {{flag|Iraq}}}}
{{Syria topics}}{{Navboxes|title= Geographic locale|list={{Countries and territories bordering the Mediterranean Sea}}{{Countries and territories of the Middle East}}{{Arabian Plate}}{{Countries of Asia}}}}{{Navboxes|title= International membership|list={{Arab League}}{{Organisation of Islamic Cooperation |collapsed}}{{Non-Aligned Movement}}}}{{Second Journey of Paul of Tarsus}}{{Authority control}}

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Eastern Philosophy
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