Syria

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Syrian Arab Republic
Sy-lgflag.gif
National anthem Homet el Diyar
Capital (and largest city) Damascus
Official language Arabic
Government type Single-party republic
President Bashir al-Assad
Area 185,180 km²
71,479 mi²
Population 19,747,586 (58th)
(2007 estimate)
Population density 107/km²
276 mi²
HDI 0.724 (medium) (109th) (2007)
Currency Syrian pound (SYP)
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
Summer:EEST (UTC+3)
Country codes Internet TLD : .sy
Calling code : +963

Syria, officially the Syrian Arab Republic, is a country in the Middle East, with Damascus its capital. It borders Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, and Jordan to the south-east. Syria has a disputed border with Israel to the south-west, and part of it, the Golan Heights, is occupied by that country. Syria has been in a state of civil war since 2011, with various rebel factions fighting the government of President Bashir al-Assad.

Syria has been an important center for millennia. Damascus may be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, and it was an important center of the ancient and medieval Islamic worlds, serving as the capital of the Arab Umayyad dynasty.

Geography

History

Ancient history

The land that today forms Syria has been inhabited since ancient times. Semitic peoples, such as the Phoenicians and Arameans (the language of the latter, Aramaic, became the major spoken language in Syria and much of the Middle East), first entered the country. Empires such as the Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, and Persians. In 332 bc, Syria, along with the rest of the Persian Empire, fell to Alexander the Great. It was ruled by various Greek-speaking dynasties until its conquest by the Romans in 63 bc. Syria remained under the control of the Romans, an their successors the Byzantines, until the 7th century ad. By the beginning of the 5th century ad, most of Syria had converted to Christianity.[1]

Islam and the Ummayyads

Later Islamic history

French rule and resistance

Independence

The United Arab Republic

A decade of revolutions

The al-Assad era

Recent history

See also: Syrian civil war

Culture

Demographics

Economy

Footnotes

  1. Drysdale, A. (1992). Syria. In K. A. Ranson (ED.) American Academic Encyclodpedia (Vol. 18 pp. 413). Danbury, CT: Grolier Inc.