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"Syrian Arab Republic" redirects here. Syria_sentence_0

For the Syrian Arab Republic from 1961 to 1963, see Second Syrian Republic. Syria_sentence_1

This article is about the modern state of Syria. Syria_sentence_2

For other uses, see Syria (disambiguation). Syria_sentence_3


Syrian Arab Republic

الجمهورية العربية السورية  (Arabic)Syria_header_cell_0_0_0


and largest citySyria_header_cell_0_1_0

Official languagesSyria_header_cell_0_2_0 ArabicSyria_cell_0_2_1
Ethnic groupsSyria_header_cell_0_3_0 Syria_cell_0_3_1
ReligionSyria_header_cell_0_4_0 87% Islam

10% Christianity 3% DruzismSyria_cell_0_4_1

Demonym(s)Syria_header_cell_0_5_0 SyrianSyria_cell_0_5_1
GovernmentSyria_header_cell_0_6_0 Unitary dominant-party semi-presidential Ba’athist republicSyria_cell_0_6_1
PresidentSyria_header_cell_0_7_0 Bashar al-AssadSyria_cell_0_7_1
Prime MinisterSyria_header_cell_0_8_0 Hussein ArnousSyria_cell_0_8_1
Vice PresidentsSyria_header_cell_0_9_0 Syria_cell_0_9_1
Speaker of the People's CouncilSyria_header_cell_0_10_0 Hammouda SabbaghSyria_cell_0_10_1
LegislatureSyria_header_cell_0_11_0 People's CouncilSyria_cell_0_11_1
Arab Kingdom of SyriaSyria_header_cell_0_13_0 8 March 1920Syria_cell_0_13_1
State of Syria under French mandateSyria_header_cell_0_14_0 1 December 1924Syria_cell_0_14_1
Syrian RepublicSyria_header_cell_0_15_0 14 May 1930Syria_cell_0_15_1
De jure IndependenceSyria_header_cell_0_16_0 24 October 1945Syria_cell_0_16_1
De facto IndependenceSyria_header_cell_0_17_0 17 April 1946Syria_cell_0_17_1
Left the United Arab RepublicSyria_header_cell_0_18_0 28 September 1961Syria_cell_0_18_1
Ba'ath party takes powerSyria_header_cell_0_19_0 8 March 1963Syria_cell_0_19_1
Current constitutionSyria_header_cell_0_20_0 27 February 2012Syria_cell_0_20_1
Area Syria_header_cell_0_21_0
TotalSyria_header_cell_0_22_0 185,180 km (71,500 sq mi) (87th)Syria_cell_0_22_1
Water (%)Syria_header_cell_0_23_0 1.1Syria_cell_0_23_1
2020 estimateSyria_header_cell_0_25_0 17,500,657 (66th)Syria_cell_0_25_1
2010 censusSyria_header_cell_0_26_0 21,018,834Syria_cell_0_26_1
DensitySyria_header_cell_0_27_0 118.3/km (306.4/sq mi) (70th)Syria_cell_0_27_1
GDP (PPP)Syria_header_cell_0_28_0 2015 estimateSyria_cell_0_28_1
TotalSyria_header_cell_0_29_0 $50.28 billionSyria_cell_0_29_1
Per capitaSyria_header_cell_0_30_0 $2,900Syria_cell_0_30_1
GDP (nominal)Syria_header_cell_0_31_0 2014 estimateSyria_cell_0_31_1
TotalSyria_header_cell_0_32_0 $24.6 billion (167)Syria_cell_0_32_1
Per capitaSyria_header_cell_0_33_0 $831Syria_cell_0_33_1
Gini (2014)Syria_header_cell_0_34_0 55.8


HDI (2018)Syria_header_cell_0_35_0 0.549

low · 154thSyria_cell_0_35_1

CurrencySyria_header_cell_0_36_0 Syrian pound (SYP)Syria_cell_0_36_1
Time zoneSyria_header_cell_0_37_0 UTC+2 (EET)Syria_cell_0_37_1
Summer (DST)Syria_header_cell_0_38_0 UTC+3 (EEST)Syria_cell_0_38_1
Driving sideSyria_header_cell_0_39_0 rightSyria_cell_0_39_1
Calling codeSyria_header_cell_0_40_0 +963Syria_cell_0_40_1
ISO 3166 codeSyria_header_cell_0_41_0 SYSyria_cell_0_41_1
Internet TLDSyria_header_cell_0_42_0 .sy


Syria (Arabic: سوريا‎, romanized: Sūriyā), officially the Syrian Arab Republic (Arabic: الجمهورية العربية السورية‎, romanized: al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-Sūrīyah), 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. Syria_sentence_4

A country of fertile plains, high mountains, and deserts, Syria is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including Syrian Arabs, Kurds, Turkemens, Assyrians, Armenians, Circassians, Mandeans and Greeks. Syria_sentence_5

Religious groups include Sunnis, Christians, Alawites, Druze, Isma'ilis, Mandeans, Shiites, Salafis, and Yazidis. Syria_sentence_6

Arabs are the largest ethnic group, and Sunnis the largest religious group. Syria_sentence_7

Syria is a unitary republic consisting of 14 governorates and is the only country that politically espouses Ba'athism. Syria_sentence_8

It is a member of one international organization other than the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement; it was suspended from the Arab League in November 2011 and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and self-suspended from the Union for the Mediterranean. Syria_sentence_9

The name "Syria" historically referred to a wider region, broadly synonymous with the Levant, and known in Arabic as al-Sham. Syria_sentence_10

The modern state encompasses the sites of several ancient kingdoms and empires, including the Eblan civilization of the 3rd millennium BC. Syria_sentence_11

Aleppo and the capital city Damascus are among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Syria_sentence_12

In the Islamic era, Damascus was the seat of the Umayyad Caliphate and a provincial capital of the Mamluk Sultanate in Egypt. Syria_sentence_13

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. Syria_sentence_14

It gained de jure independence as a parliamentary republic on 24 October 1945, when the Republic of Syria became a founding member of the United Nations, an act which legally ended the former French Mandate, although French troops did not leave the country until April 1946. Syria_sentence_15

The post-independence period was tumultuous, with many military coups and coup attempts shaking the country from 1949 to 1971. Syria_sentence_16

In 1958, Syria entered a brief union with Egypt called the United Arab Republic, which was terminated by the 1961 Syrian coup d'état. Syria_sentence_17

The republic was renamed as the Arab Republic of Syria in late 1961 after the December 1 constitutional referendum of that year, and was increasingly unstable until the 1963 Ba'athist coup d'état, since which the Ba'ath Party has maintained its power. Syria_sentence_18

Syria was under Emergency Law from 1963 to 2011, effectively suspending most constitutional protections for citizens. Syria_sentence_19

Bashar al-Assad has been president since 2000 and was preceded by his father Hafez al-Assad, who was in office from 1971 to 2000. Syria_sentence_20

Throughout his rule, Syria and the ruling Ba'ath Party have been condemned and criticized for various human rights abuses, including frequent executions of citizens and political prisoners, and massive censorship. Syria_sentence_21

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. Syria_sentence_22

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_sentence_23

Syria was ranked last on the Global Peace Index from 2016 to 2018, making it the most violent country in the world due to the war. Syria_sentence_24

The conflict has killed more than 570,000 people, caused 7.6 million internally displaced people (July 2015 UNHCR estimate) and over 5 million refugees (July 2017 registered by UNHCR), making population assessment difficult in recent years. Syria_sentence_25

Etymology Syria_section_0

Main article: Name of Syria Syria_sentence_26

Several sources indicate that the name Syria is derived from the 8th century BC Luwian term "Sura/i", and the derivative ancient Greek name: Σύριοι, Sýrioi, or Σύροι, Sýroi, both of which originally derived from Aššūrāyu (Assyria) in northern Mesopotamia. Syria_sentence_27

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. Syria_sentence_28

Mainstream modern academic opinion strongly favors the argument that the Greek word is related to the cognate Ἀσσυρία, Assyria, ultimately derived from the Akkadian Aššur. Syria_sentence_29

The Greek name appears to correspond to Phoenician ʾšr "Assur", ʾšrym "Assyrians", recorded in the 8th century BC Çineköy inscription. Syria_sentence_30

The area designated by the word has changed over time. Syria_sentence_31

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. Syria_sentence_32

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 AD 194) corresponding to modern Lebanon, Damascus and Homs regions; Coele-Syria (or "Hollow Syria") south of the Eleutheris river, and Iraq. Syria_sentence_33

History Syria_section_1

Main article: History of Syria Syria_sentence_34

Ancient antiquity Syria_section_2

Since 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. Syria_sentence_35

The following Neolithic period (PPNB) is represented by rectangular houses of Mureybet culture. Syria_sentence_36

At the time of the pre-pottery Neolithic, people used vessels made of stone, gyps and burnt lime (Vaisselle blanche). Syria_sentence_37

Finds of obsidian tools from Anatolia are evidences of early trade relations. Syria_sentence_38

Cities of Hamoukar and Emar played an important role during the late Neolithic and Bronze Age. Syria_sentence_39

Archaeologists have demonstrated that civilization in Syria was one of the most ancient on earth, perhaps preceded by only those of Mesopotamia. Syria_sentence_40

The earliest recorded indigenous civilization in the region was the Kingdom of Ebla near present-day Idlib, northern Syria. Syria_sentence_41

Ebla appears to have been founded around 3500 BC, 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. Syria_sentence_42

Gifts from Pharaohs, found during excavations, confirm Ebla's contact with Egypt. Syria_sentence_43

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. Syria_sentence_44

Scholars believe the language of Ebla to be among the oldest known written Semitic languages after Akkadian. Syria_sentence_45

Recent classifications of the Eblaite language have shown that it was an East Semitic language, closely related to the Akkadian language. Syria_sentence_46

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. Syria_sentence_47

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. Syria_sentence_48

The Northwest Semitic language of the Amorites is the earliest attested of the Canaanite languages. Syria_sentence_49

Mari reemerged during this period, and saw renewed prosperity until conquered by Hammurabi of Babylon. Syria_sentence_50

Ugarit also arose during this time, circa 1800 BC, close to modern Latakia. Syria_sentence_51

Ugaritic was a Semitic language loosely related to the Canaanite languages, and developed the Ugaritic alphabet, considered to be the world's earliest known alphabet. Syria_sentence_52

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. Syria_sentence_53

Yamhad (modern Aleppo) dominated northern Syria for two centuries, 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. Syria_sentence_54

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. Syria_sentence_55

Yamhad imposed its authority over Alalakh, Qatna, the Hurrians states and the Euphrates Valley down to the borders with Babylon. Syria_sentence_56

The army of Yamhad campaigned as far away as Dēr on the border of Elam (modern Iran). Syria_sentence_57

Yamhad was conquered and destroyed, along with Ebla, by the Indo-European Hittites from Asia Minor circa 1600 BC. Syria_sentence_58

From 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. Syria_sentence_59

The Egyptians initially occupied much of the south, while the Hittites, and the Mitanni, much of the north. Syria_sentence_60

However, Assyria eventually gained the upper hand, destroying the Mitanni Empire and annexing huge swathes of territory previously held by the Hittites and Babylon. Syria_sentence_61

Around the 14th century BC, various Semitic peoples appeared in the area, such as the semi-nomadic Suteans who came into an unsuccessful conflict with Babylonia to the east, and the West Semitic speaking Arameans who subsumed the earlier Amorites. Syria_sentence_62

They too were subjugated by Assyria and the Hittites for centuries. Syria_sentence_63

The Egyptians fought the Hittites for control over western Syria; the fighting reached its zenith in 1274 BC with the Battle of Kadesh. Syria_sentence_64

The west remained part of the Hittite empire until its destruction c. 1200 BC, while eastern Syria largely became part of the Middle Assyrian Empire, who also annexed much of the west during the reign of Tiglath-Pileser I 1114–1076 BC. Syria_sentence_65

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. Syria_sentence_66

From this point, the region became known as Aramea or Aram. Syria_sentence_67

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. Syria_sentence_68

A 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. Syria_sentence_69

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_sentence_70

Syria and the Western half of Near East then fell to the vast Neo Assyrian Empire (911 BC – 605 BC). Syria_sentence_71

The Assyrians introduced Imperial Aramaic as the lingua franca of their empire. Syria_sentence_72

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. Syria_sentence_73

The Assyrians named their colonies of Syria and Lebanon Eber-Nari. Syria_sentence_74

Assyrian domination ended after the Assyrians greatly weakened themselves in a series of brutal internal civil wars, followed by an attacks from; the Medes, Babylonians, Chaldeans, Persians, Scythians and Cimmerians. Syria_sentence_75

During the fall of Assyria, the Scythians ravaged and plundered much of Syria. Syria_sentence_76

The last stand of the Assyrian army was at Carchemish in northern Syria in 605 BC. Syria_sentence_77

The Assyrian Empire was followed by the Neo-Babylonian Empire (605 BC – 539 BC). Syria_sentence_78

During this period, Syria became a battle ground between Babylonia and another former Assyrian colony, that of Egypt. Syria_sentence_79

The Babylonians, like their Assyrian relations, were victorious over Egypt. Syria_sentence_80

Classical antiquity Syria_section_3

Main articles: Eber-Nari, Coele-Syria, Syria (Roman province), and Syria-Palaestina Syria_sentence_81

The Achaemenid Empire, founded by Cyrus the Great, annexed Syria along with Babylonia to its empire in 539 BC. Syria_sentence_82

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_sentence_83

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. Syria_sentence_84

Thus, it was the Greeks who introduced the name "Syria" to the region. Syria_sentence_85

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. Syria_sentence_86

Thus in the Greco-Roman world both the Arameans of Syria and the Assyrians of Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) to the east were referred to as "Syrians" or "Syriacs", despite these being distinct peoples in their own right, a confusion which would continue into the modern world. Syria_sentence_87

Eventually parts of southern Seleucid Syria were taken by Judean Hasmoneans upon the slow disintegration of the Hellenistic Empire. Syria_sentence_88

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. Syria_sentence_89

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_sentence_90

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. Syria_sentence_91

Palmyra, 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. Syria_sentence_92

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. Syria_sentence_93

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. Syria_sentence_94

The Aramaic language has been found as far afield as Hadrians Wall in Ancient Britain, with an inscription written by a Palmyrene emigrant at the site of Fort Arbeia. Syria_sentence_95

Control of Syria eventually passed from the Romans to the Byzantines, with the split in the Roman Empire. Syria_sentence_96

The largely Aramaic-speaking population of Syria during the heyday of the Byzantine Empire was probably not exceeded again until the 19th century. Syria_sentence_97

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. Syria_sentence_98

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_sentence_99

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). Syria_sentence_100

Syrians held considerable amounts of power during the Severan dynasty. Syria_sentence_101

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. Syria_sentence_102

Her great nephews, also Arabs from Syria, would also become Roman Emperors, the first being Elagabalus and the second, his cousin Alexander Severus. Syria_sentence_103

Another Roman emperor who was a Syrian was Philip the Arab (Marcus Julius Philippus), who was born in Roman Arabia. Syria_sentence_104

He was emperor from 244 to 249, and ruled briefly during the Crisis of the Third Century. Syria_sentence_105

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_sentence_106

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. Syria_sentence_107

() Syria_sentence_108

Middle Ages Syria_section_4

Muhammad's first interaction with the people and tribes of Syria was during the Invasion of Dumatul Jandal in July 626 where he ordered his followers to invade Duma, because Muhammad received intelligence that some tribes there were involved in highway robbery and preparing to attack Medina itself. Syria_sentence_109

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. Syria_sentence_110

Dumat Al-Jandal was 800 kilometres (500 mi) from Medina, and Watt says that there was no immediate threat to Muhammad, other than the possibility that his communications to Syria and supplies to Medina being interrupted. Syria_sentence_111

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". Syria_sentence_112

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. Syria_sentence_113

By AD 640, Syria was conquered by the Arab Rashidun army led by Khalid ibn al-Walid. Syria_sentence_114

In the mid-7th century, the Umayyad dynasty, then rulers of the empire, placed the capital of the empire in Damascus. Syria_sentence_115

The country's power declined during later Umayyad rule; this was mainly due to totalitarianism, corruption and the resulting revolutions. Syria_sentence_116

The Umayyad dynasty was then overthrown in 750 by the Abbasid dynasty, which moved the capital of empire to Baghdad. Syria_sentence_117

Arabic – made official under Umayyad rule – became the dominant language, replacing Greek and Aramaic of the Byzantine era. Syria_sentence_118

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. Syria_sentence_119

Sections 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. Syria_sentence_120

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. Syria_sentence_121

Later in history when "the Nizaris faced renewed Frankish hostilities, they received timely assistance from the Ayyubids." Syria_sentence_122

After a century of Seljuk rule, Syria was largely conquered (1175–1185) by the Kurdish liberator Salah ad-Din, founder of the Ayyubid dynasty of Egypt. Syria_sentence_123

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. Syria_sentence_124

A few months later, the Mamluks arrived with an army from Egypt and defeated the Mongols in the Battle of Ain Jalut in Galilee. Syria_sentence_125

The Mamluk leader, Baibars, made Damascus a provincial capital. Syria_sentence_126

When he died, power was taken by Qalawun. Syria_sentence_127

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. Syria_sentence_128

Al-Ashqar, who had married a Mongol woman, appealed for help from the Mongols. Syria_sentence_129

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. Syria_sentence_130

In 1400, the Muslim Turco-Mongol conqueror Timur Lenk (Tamurlane) invaded Syria, sacked Aleppo and captured Damascus after defeating the Mamluk army. Syria_sentence_131

The city's inhabitants were massacred, except for the artisans, who were deported to Samarkand. Syria_sentence_132

Timur-Lenk also conducted specific massacres of the Aramean and Assyrian Christian populations, greatly reducing their numbers. Syria_sentence_133

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. Syria_sentence_134

Ottoman Syria Syria_section_5

Main article: Ottoman Syria Syria_sentence_135

In 1516, the Ottoman Empire invaded the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt, conquering Syria, and incorporating it into its empire. Syria_sentence_136

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. Syria_sentence_137

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. Syria_sentence_138

Ottoman administration followed a system that led to peaceful coexistence. Syria_sentence_139

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. Syria_sentence_140

The religious heads of each community administered all personal status laws and performed certain civil functions as well. Syria_sentence_141

In 1831, Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt renounced his loyalty to the Empire and overran Ottoman Syria, capturing Damascus. Syria_sentence_142

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. Syria_sentence_143

By 1840, however, he had to surrender the area back to the Ottomans. Syria_sentence_144

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 after the Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem was given a separate status. Syria_sentence_145

During World War I, the Ottoman Empire entered the conflict on the side of Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Syria_sentence_146

It ultimately suffered defeat and loss of control of the entire Near East to the British Empire and French Empire. Syria_sentence_147

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. Syria_sentence_148

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. Syria_sentence_149

Initially, the two territories were separated by a border that ran in an almost straight line from Jordan to Iran. Syria_sentence_150

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. Syria_sentence_151

The fate of the intermediate province of Zor was left unclear; its occupation by Arab nationalists resulted in its attachment to Syria. Syria_sentence_152

This border was recognized internationally when Syria became a League of Nations mandate in 1920 and has not changed to date. Syria_sentence_153

French Mandate Syria_section_6

Main articles: French Mandate for Syria and Lebanon and Mandatory Syrian Republic Syria_sentence_154

In 1920, a short-lived independent Kingdom of Syria was established under Faisal I of the Hashemite family. Syria_sentence_155

However, his rule over Syria ended after only a few months, following the Battle of Maysalun. Syria_sentence_156

French troops occupied Syria later that year after the San Remo conference proposed that the League of Nations put Syria under a French mandate. Syria_sentence_157

General Gouraud had according to his secretary de Caix two options: "Either build a Syrian nation that does not exist... by smoothing the rifts which still divide it" or "cultivate and maintain all the phenomena, which require our arbitration that these divisions give". Syria_sentence_158

De Caix added "I must say only the second option interests me". Syria_sentence_159

This is what Gouraud did. Syria_sentence_160

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. Syria_sentence_161

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. Syria_sentence_162

France sent thousands of troops from Morocco and Senegal, leading the French to regain many cities, although resistance lasted until the spring of 1927. Syria_sentence_163

The French sentenced Sultan al-Atrash to death, but he had escaped with the rebels to Transjordan and was eventually pardoned. Syria_sentence_164

He returned to Syria in 1937 after the signing of the Syrian-French Treaty. Syria_sentence_165

Syria 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. Syria_sentence_166

However, the treaty never came into force because the French Legislature refused to ratify it. Syria_sentence_167

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. Syria_sentence_168

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. Syria_sentence_169

Independent Syrian Republic Syria_section_7

Main articles: Syrian Republic (1946–63), United Arab Republic, and 1963 Syrian coup d'état Syria_sentence_170

Upheaval dominated Syrian politics from independence through the late 1960s. Syria_sentence_171

In May 1948, Syrian forces invaded Palestine, together with other Arab states, and immediately attacked Jewish settlements. Syria_sentence_172

Their president Shukri al-Quwwatli instructed his troops in the front, "to destroy the Zionists". Syria_sentence_173

The Invasion purpose was prevention of the establishment of the State of Israel. Syria_sentence_174

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. Syria_sentence_175

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. Syria_sentence_176

Shishakli eventually abolished multipartyism altogether, but was himself overthrown in a 1954 coup and the parliamentary system was restored. Syria_sentence_177

However, by this time, power was increasingly concentrated in the military and security establishment. Syria_sentence_178

The weakness of Parliamentary institutions and the mismanagement of the economy led to unrest and the influence of Nasserism and other ideologies. Syria_sentence_179

There was fertile ground for various Arab nationalist, Syrian nationalist, and socialist movements, which represented disaffected elements of society. Syria_sentence_180

Notably included were religious minorities, who demanded radical reform. Syria_sentence_181

In November 1956, as a direct result of the Suez Crisis, Syria signed a pact with the Soviet Union. Syria_sentence_182

This gave a foothold for Communist influence within the government in exchange for military equipment. Syria_sentence_183

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. Syria_sentence_184

Only heated debates in the United Nations lessened the threat of war. Syria_sentence_185

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. Syria_sentence_186

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_sentence_187

Syria seceded from the union with Egypt on 28 September 1961, after a coup. Syria_sentence_188

Ba'athist Syria Syria_section_8

The ensuing instability following the 1961 coup culminated in the 8 March 1963 Ba'athist coup. Syria_sentence_189

The takeover was engineered by members of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party, led by Michel Aflaq and Salah al-Din al-Bitar. Syria_sentence_190

The new Syrian cabinet was dominated by Ba'ath members. Syria_sentence_191

On 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. Syria_sentence_192

Although Nureddin al-Atassi became the formal head of state, Salah Jadid was Syria's effective ruler from 1966 until November 1970, when he was deposed by Hafez al-Assad, who at the time was Minister of Defense. Syria_sentence_193

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. Syria_sentence_194

In the first half of 1967, a low-key state of war existed between Syria and Israel. Syria_sentence_195

Conflict over Israeli cultivation of land in the Demilitarized Zone led to 7 April pre-war aerial clashes between Israel and Syria. Syria_sentence_196

When the Six-Day War broke out between Egypt and Israel, Syria joined the war and attacked Israel as well. Syria_sentence_197

In the final days of the war, Israel turned its attention to Syria, capturing two-thirds of the Golan Heights in under 48 hours. Syria_sentence_198

The defeat caused a split between Jadid and Assad over what steps to take next. Syria_sentence_199

Disagreement developed between Jadid, who controlled the party apparatus, and Assad, who controlled the military. Syria_sentence_200

The 1970 retreat of Syrian forces sent to aid the PLO during the "Black September" hostilities with Jordan reflected this disagreement. Syria_sentence_201

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. Syria_sentence_202

On 6 October 1973, Syria and Egypt initiated the Yom Kippur War against Israel. Syria_sentence_203

The Israel Defense Forces reversed the initial Syrian gains and pushed deeper into Syrian territory. Syria_sentence_204

In the late 1970s, an Islamist uprising by the Muslim Brotherhood was aimed against the government. Syria_sentence_205

Islamists attacked civilians and off-duty military personnel, leading security forces to also kill civilians in retaliatory strikes. Syria_sentence_206

The uprising had reached its climax in the 1982 Hama massacre, when some 10,000 – 40,000 people were killed by regular Syrian Army troops. Syria_sentence_207

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_sentence_208

Syria participated in the multilateral Madrid Conference of 1991, and during the 1990s engaged in negotiations with Israel. Syria_sentence_209

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. Syria_sentence_210

Hafez al-Assad died on 10 June 2000. Syria_sentence_211

His son, Bashar al-Assad, was elected president in an election in which he ran unopposed. Syria_sentence_212

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. Syria_sentence_213

Instead, reforms have been limited to some market reforms. Syria_sentence_214

On 5 October 2003, Israel bombed a site near Damascus, claiming it was a terrorist training facility for members of Islamic Jihad. Syria_sentence_215

In March 2004, Syrian Kurds and Arabs clashed in the northeastern city of al-Qamishli. Syria_sentence_216

Signs of rioting were seen in the cities of Qamishli and Hasakeh. Syria_sentence_217

In 2005, Syria ended its military presence in Lebanon. Syria_sentence_218

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. Syria_sentence_219

Syrian Civil War Syria_section_9

Main article: Syrian Civil War Syria_sentence_220

The ongoing Syrian Civil War was inspired by the Arab Spring revolutions. Syria_sentence_221

It began in 2011 as a chain of peaceful protests, followed by an alleged crackdown by the Syrian Army. Syria_sentence_222

In July 2011, Army defectors declared the formation of the Free Syrian Army and began forming fighting units. Syria_sentence_223

The opposition is dominated by Sunni Muslims, whereas the leading government figures are generally associated with Alawites. Syria_sentence_224

The war is also involving rebel groups (IS and al-Nusra) and various foreign countries' interferences which the latter can be described as a proxy war in Syria. Syria_sentence_225

According to various sources, including the United Nations, up to 100,000 people had been killed by June 2013, including 11,000 children. Syria_sentence_226

To escape the violence, 4.9 million Syrian refugees have fled to neighboring countries of Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Turkey. Syria_sentence_227

An estimated 450,000 Syrian Christians have fled their homes. Syria_sentence_228

By October 2017, an estimated 400,000 people had been killed in the war according to the UN. Syria_sentence_229

Major economic crisis, 2020 Syria_section_10

On 10 June, hundreds of protesters returned to the streets of Sweida for the fourth consecutive day, rallying against the collapse of the country's economy, as the Syrian pound plummeted to 3,000 to the dollar within the past week. Syria_sentence_230

On 11 June, Prime Minister Imad Khamis was dismissed by President Bashar al-Assad, amid anti-government protests over deteriorating economic conditions. Syria_sentence_231

The new lows for the Syrian currency, and the dramatic increase in sanctions, began to appear to raise new concerns about the survival of the Assad government. Syria_sentence_232

Analysts noted that a resolution to the current banking crisis in Lebanon might be crucial to restoring stability in Syria. Syria_sentence_233

Some analysts began to raise concerns that Assad might be on the verge of losing power; but that any such collapse in the regime might cause conditions to worsen, as the result might be mass chaos, rather than an improvement in political or economic conditions. Syria_sentence_234

Russia continued to expand its influence and military role in the areas of Syria where the main military conflict was occurring. Syria_sentence_235

Analysts noted that the upcoming implementation of new heavy sanctions under the US Caesar Act could devastate the Syrian economy, ruin any chances of recovery, destroy regional stability, and do nothing but destabilize the entire region. Syria_sentence_236

The first new sanctions took effect on June 17. Syria_sentence_237

There will be additional sanctions implemented in August, in three different groups. Syria_sentence_238

There are increasing reports that food is becoming difficult to find, the country's economy is under severe pressure, and the whole regime could collapse due to the sanctions. Syria_sentence_239

Geography Syria_section_11

Main article: Geography of Syria Syria_sentence_240

Syria lies between latitudes 32° and 38° N, and longitudes 35° and 43° E. Syria_sentence_241

The climate varies from the humid Mediterranean coast, through a semiarid steppe zone, to arid desert in the east. Syria_sentence_242

The country consists mostly of arid plateau, although the northwest part bordering the Mediterranean is fairly green. Syria_sentence_243

Al-Jazira in the northeast and Hawran in the south are important agricultural areas. Syria_sentence_244

The Euphrates, Syria's most important river, crosses the country in the east. Syria_sentence_245

Syria is one of the fifteen states that comprise the so-called "cradle of civilization". Syria_sentence_246

Its land straddles the "northwest of the Arabian plate". Syria_sentence_247

Petroleum in commercial quantities was first discovered in the northeast in 1956. Syria_sentence_248

The most important oil fields are those of Suwaydiyah, Qaratshui, Rumayian, and Tayyem, near Dayr az–Zawr. Syria_sentence_249

The fields are a natural extension of the Iraqi fields of Mosul and Kirkuk. Syria_sentence_250

Petroleum became Syria's leading natural resource and chief export after 1974. Syria_sentence_251

Natural gas was discovered at the field of Jbessa in 1940. Syria_sentence_252

Politics and government Syria_section_12

Main article: Politics of Syria Syria_sentence_253

See also: Syrian Civil War Syria_sentence_254

Syria is formally a unitary republic. Syria_sentence_255

The current constitution of Syria, adopted in 2012, effectively transformed the country into a semi-presidential republic due to the constitutional right for the election of individuals who do not form part of the National Progressive Front. Syria_sentence_256

The President is Head of State and the Prime Minister is Head of Government. Syria_sentence_257

The legislature, the Peoples Council, is the body responsible for passing laws, approving government appropriations and debating policy. Syria_sentence_258

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. Syria_sentence_259

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. Syria_sentence_260

The executive branch consists of the president, two vice presidents, the prime minister, and the Council of Ministers (cabinet). Syria_sentence_261

The constitution requires the president to be a Muslim but does not make Islam the state religion. Syria_sentence_262

On 31 January 1973, Hafez al-Assad implemented a new constitution, which led to a national crisis. Syria_sentence_263

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. Syria_sentence_264

They labelled Assad the "enemy of Allah" and called for a jihad against his rule. Syria_sentence_265

The government survived a series of armed revolts by Islamists, mainly members of the Muslim Brotherhood, from 1976 until 1982. Syria_sentence_266

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. Syria_sentence_267

According to the 2012 constitution, the president is elected by Syrian citizens in a direct election. Syria_sentence_268

Syria's legislative branch is the unicameral People's Council. Syria_sentence_269

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. Syria_sentence_270

On 7 May 2012, Syria held its first elections in which parties outside the ruling coalition could take part. Syria_sentence_271

Seven new political parties took part in the elections, of which Popular Front for Change and Liberation was the largest opposition party. Syria_sentence_272

The armed anti-government rebels, however, chose not to field candidates and called on their supporters to boycott the elections. Syria_sentence_273

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. Syria_sentence_274

Outside of the coalition are 14 illegal Kurdish political parties. Syria_sentence_275

Syria's judicial branches include the Supreme Constitutional Court, the High Judicial Council, the Court of Cassation, and the State Security Courts. Syria_sentence_276

Islamic jurisprudence is a main source of legislation and Syria's judicial system has elements of Ottoman, French, and Islamic laws. Syria_sentence_277

Syria has three levels of courts: courts of first instance, courts of appeals, and the constitutional court, the highest tribunal. Syria_sentence_278

Religious courts handle questions of personal and family law. Syria_sentence_279

The Supreme State Security Court (SSSC) was abolished by President Bashar al-Assad by legislative decree No. Syria_sentence_280

53 on 21 April 2011. Syria_sentence_281

The Personal Status Law 59 of 1953 (amended by Law 34 of 1975) is essentially a codified sharia. Syria_sentence_282

Article 3(2) of the 1973 constitution declares Islamic jurisprudence a main source of legislation. Syria_sentence_283

The Code of Personal Status is applied to Muslims by sharia courts. Syria_sentence_284

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. Syria_sentence_285

Representatives of the Syrian Interim government were invited to take up Syria's seat at the Arab League on 28 March 2013 and was recognised as the "sole representative of the Syrian people" by several nations including the United States, United Kingdom and France. Syria_sentence_286

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. Syria_sentence_287

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. Syria_sentence_288

However, representatives of the Russian Federation have voiced their support of this election's results. Syria_sentence_289

Syria's system of government is considered to be non-democratic by the North American NGO Freedom House. Syria_sentence_290

Human rights Syria_section_13

Main article: Human rights in Syria Syria_sentence_291

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." Syria_sentence_292

The US State Department funded Freedom House ranked Syria "Not Free" in its annual Freedom in the World survey. Syria_sentence_293

The authorities are accused of arresting democracy and human rights activists, censoring websites, detaining bloggers, and imposing travel bans. Syria_sentence_294

Arbitrary detention, torture, and disappearances are widespread. Syria_sentence_295

Although Syria's constitution guarantees gender equality, critics say that personal statutes laws and the penal code discriminate against women and girls. Syria_sentence_296

Moreover, it also grants leniency for so-called 'Honour killing'. Syria_sentence_297

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. Syria_sentence_298

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. Syria_sentence_299

In August 2013, the government was suspected of using chemical weapons against its civilians. Syria_sentence_300

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. Syria_sentence_301

"Make no mistake," Kerry said. Syria_sentence_302

"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. Syria_sentence_303

Nothing today is more serious, and nothing is receiving more serious scrutiny". Syria_sentence_304

The Emergency Law, effectively suspending most constitutional protections, was in effect from 1963 until 21 April 2011. Syria_sentence_305

It was justified by the government in the light of the continuing war with Israel over the Golan Heights. Syria_sentence_306

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. Syria_sentence_307

Minority Alawites and Christians are being increasingly targeted by Islamists and other groups fighting in the Syrian civil war. Syria_sentence_308

In April 2017, the U.S. Navy carried out a missile attack against a Syrian air base which had allegedly been used to conduct a chemical weapons attack on Syrian civilians, according to the US government. Syria_sentence_309

Military Syria_section_14

Main article: Syrian Armed Forces Syria_sentence_310

The President of Syria is commander in chief of the Syrian armed forces, comprising some 400,000 troops upon mobilization. Syria_sentence_311

The military is a conscripted force; males serve in the military upon reaching the age of 18. Syria_sentence_312

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. Syria_sentence_313

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. Syria_sentence_314

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. Syria_sentence_315

It has an arsenal of surface-to-surface missiles. Syria_sentence_316

In the early 1990s, Scud-C missiles with a 500-kilometre (310-mile) range were procured from North Korea, and Scud-D, with a range of up to 700 kilometres (430 miles), is allegedly being developed by Syria with the help of North Korea and Iran, according to Zisser. Syria_sentence_317

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. Syria_sentence_318

Foreign relations Syria_section_15

Main article: Foreign relations of Syria Syria_sentence_319

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. Syria_sentence_320

At many points in its history, Syria has seen virulent tension with its geographically cultural neighbors, such as Turkey, Israel, Iraq, and Lebanon. Syria_sentence_321

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. Syria_sentence_322

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. Syria_sentence_323

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. Syria_sentence_324

From the Arab league, Syria continues to maintain diplomatic relations with Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan and Yemen. Syria_sentence_325

Syria's violence against civilians has also seen it suspended from the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in 2012. Syria_sentence_326

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_sentence_327

Syria is included in the European Union's European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) which aims at bringing the EU and its neighbors closer. Syria_sentence_328

International disputes Syria_section_16

See also: Turkish occupation of northern Syria and Israeli-occupied territories Syria_sentence_329

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. Syria_sentence_330

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. Syria_sentence_331

Through this, the Hatay Province of Turkey was formed. Syria_sentence_332

The move by the French was very controversial in Syria, and only five years later Syria became independent. Syria_sentence_333

The western two-thirds of Syria's Golan Heights region are since 1967 occupied by Israel and were in 1981 effectively annexed by Israel, 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. Syria_sentence_334

Israel's 1981 Golan annexation law is not recognized in international law. Syria_sentence_335

The UN Security Council condemned it in Resolution 497 (1981) as "null and void and without international legal effect." Syria_sentence_336

Since then, General Assembly resolutions on "The Occupied Syrian Golan" reaffirm the illegality of Israeli occupation and annexation. Syria_sentence_337

The Syrian government continues to demand the return of this territory. Syria_sentence_338

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. Syria_sentence_339

In March 2019, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the United States will recognize Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights. Syria_sentence_340

In early 1976, Syria entered Lebanon, beginning their twenty-nine-year military presence. Syria_sentence_341

Syria entered on the invitation of Suleiman Franjieh, the Maronite Christian president at the time to help aid the Lebanese Christian militias against the Palestinian militias. Syria_sentence_342

Over the following 15 years of civil war, Syria fought for control over Lebanon. Syria_sentence_343

The Syrian military remained in Lebanon until April 26, 2005 in response to domestic and international pressure after the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri. Syria_sentence_344

Another disputed territory is the Shebaa farms, located in the intersection of the Lebanese-Syrian border and the Israeli occupied Golan Heights. Syria_sentence_345

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. Syria_sentence_346

Yet following Syrian army advances the Israeli occupation ended and Syria became the de facto ruling power over the farms. Syria_sentence_347

Yet after Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, Hezbollah claimed that the withdrawal was not complete because Shebaa was on Lebanese – not Syrian – territory. Syria_sentence_348

After studying 81 different maps, the United Nations concluded that there is no evidence of the abandoned farmlands being Lebanese. Syria_sentence_349

Nevertheless, Lebanon has continued to claim ownership of the territory. Syria_sentence_350

Administrative divisions Syria_section_17

Main articles: Governorates of Syria and Districts of Syria Syria_sentence_351

Syria is divided into 14 governorates, which are sub-divided into 61 districts, which are further divided into sub-districts. Syria_sentence_352

The Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, while de facto autonomous, is not recognized by the Syrian Arab Republic as such. Syria_sentence_353

Agrarian reform Syria_section_18

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. Syria_sentence_354

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. Syria_sentence_355

The first law passed (Law 134; passed 4 September 1958) in response to concern about peasant mobilization and expanding peasants' rights. Syria_sentence_356

This was designed to strengthen the position of sharecroppers and agricultural laborers in relation to land owners. Syria_sentence_357

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. Syria_sentence_358

Furthermore, it obligated landlords to honor both written and oral contracts, established collective bargaining, contained provisions for workers' compensation, health, housing, and employment services. Syria_sentence_359

Law 134 was not designed strictly to protect workers. Syria_sentence_360

It also acknowledged the rights of landlords to form their own syndicates. Syria_sentence_361

Internet and telecommunications Syria_section_19

Telecommunications in Syria are overseen by the Ministry of Communications and Technology. Syria_sentence_362

In addition, Syrian Telecom plays an integral role in the distribution of government internet access. Syria_sentence_363

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. Syria_sentence_364

Because of internet censorship laws, 13,000 internet activists were arrested between March 2011 and August 2012. Syria_sentence_365

Economy Syria_section_20

Main article: Economy of Syria Syria_sentence_366

See also: Tourism in Syria Syria_sentence_367

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. Syria_sentence_368

Iran is believed to spend between $6 billion and US$20 billion a year on Syria during the Syrian Civil War. Syria_sentence_369

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. Syria_sentence_370

At the outset of the ongoing Syrian Civil War, Syria was classified by the World Bank as a "lower middle income country." Syria_sentence_371

In 2010, Syria remained dependent on the oil and agriculture sectors. Syria_sentence_372

The oil sector provided about 40% of export earnings. Syria_sentence_373

Proven offshore expeditions have indicated that large sums of oil exist on the Mediterranean Sea floor between Syria and Cyprus. Syria_sentence_374

The agriculture sector contributes to about 20% of GDP and 20% of employment. Syria_sentence_375

Oil reserves are expected to decrease in the coming years and Syria has already become a net oil importer. Syria_sentence_376

Since the civil war began, the economy shrank by 35%, and the Syrian pound has fallen to one-sixth of its prewar value. Syria_sentence_377

The government increasingly relies on credit from Iran, Russia and China. Syria_sentence_378

The economy is highly regulated by the government, which has increased subsidies and tightened trade controls to assuage protesters and protect foreign currency reserves. Syria_sentence_379

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. Syria_sentence_380

The UNDP announced in 2005 that 30% of the Syrian population lives in poverty and 11.4% live below the subsistence level. Syria_sentence_381

Syria's share in global exports has eroded gradually since 2001. Syria_sentence_382

The real per capita GDP growth was just 2.5% per year in the 2000–2008 period. Syria_sentence_383

Unemployment is high at above 10%. Syria_sentence_384

Poverty rates have increased from 11% in 2004 to 12.3% in 2007. Syria_sentence_385

In 2007, Syria's main exports include crude oil, refined products, raw cotton, clothing, fruits, and grains. Syria_sentence_386

The bulk of Syrian imports are raw materials essential for industry, vehicles, agricultural equipment, and heavy machinery. Syria_sentence_387

Earnings from oil exports as well as remittances from Syrian workers are the government's most important sources of foreign exchange. Syria_sentence_388

Political instability poses a significant threat to future economic development. Syria_sentence_389

Foreign investment is constrained by violence, government restrictions, economic sanctions, and international isolation. Syria_sentence_390

Syria's economy also remains hobbled by state bureaucracy, falling oil production, rising budget deficits, and inflation. Syria_sentence_391

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. Syria_sentence_392

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. Syria_sentence_393

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_sentence_394

Syria's GDP declined by over 3% in 2011, and is expected to further decline by 20% in 2012. Syria_sentence_395

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. Syria_sentence_396

Reconstruction needed because of the ongoing civil war will cost as much as US$10 billion. Syria_sentence_397

Sanctions have sapped the government's finance. Syria_sentence_398

US and European Union bans on oil imports, which went into effect in 2012, are estimated to cost Syria about $400 million a month. Syria_sentence_399

Revenues from tourism have dropped dramatically, with hotel occupancy rates falling from 90% before the war to less than 15% in May 2012. Syria_sentence_400

Around 40% of all employees in the tourism sector have lost their jobs since the beginning of the war. Syria_sentence_401

In May 2015, ISIS captured Syria's phosphate mines, one of the Syrian governments last chief sources of income. Syria_sentence_402

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. Syria_sentence_403

In addition, ISIS was closing in on Shaer gas field and three other facilities in the area—Hayan, Jihar and Ebla—with the loss of these western gas fields having the potential to cause Iran to further subsidize the Syrian government. Syria_sentence_404

Petroleum industry Syria_section_21

Syria's petroleum industry has been subject to sharp decline. Syria_sentence_405

In September 2014, ISIS was producing more oil than the government at 80,000 bbl/d (13,000 m/d) compared to the government's 17,000 bbl/d (2,700 m/d) with the Syrian Oil Ministry stating that by the end of 2014, oil production had plunged further to 9,329 bbl/d (1,483.2 m/d); ISIS has since captured a further oil field, leading to a projected oil production of 6,829 bbl/d (1,085.7 m/d). Syria_sentence_406

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. Syria_sentence_407

Historically, the country produced heavy-grade oil from fields located in the northeast since the late 1960s. Syria_sentence_408

In the early 1980s, light-grade, low-sulphur oil was discovered near Deir ez-Zor in eastern Syria. Syria_sentence_409

Syria's rate of oil production has decreased dramatically from a peak close to 600,000 barrels per day (95,000 m/d) (bpd) in 1995 down to less than 182,500 bbl/d (29,020 m/d) in 2012. Syria_sentence_410

Since 2012 the production has decreased even more, reaching in 2014 32,000 barrels per day (5,100 m/d) (bpd). Syria_sentence_411

Official figures quantity the production in 2015 at 27,000 barrels per day (4,300 m/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. Syria_sentence_412

Prior to the uprising, more than 90% of Syrian oil exports were to EU countries, with the remainder going to Turkey. Syria_sentence_413

Oil and gas revenues constituted in 2012 around 20% of total GDP and 25% of total government revenue. Syria_sentence_414

On 27 January 2020, the Baniyas oil refinery of Syria was attacked by militants by the means of explosives on underwater pipelines. Syria_sentence_415

It was the third attack against Syria's oil and gas industry in less than a year, and aimed at preventing oil imports into the country. Syria_sentence_416

On 24 August 2020, a gas pipeline between the suburbs of Al-Dumayr and Adra in the Damascus area came under an attack. Syria_sentence_417

The electricity minister Mohammad Kharboutli explained that the explosion led to an overnight blackout across Syria. Syria_sentence_418

Transport Syria_section_22

Main article: Transport in Syria Syria_sentence_419

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. Syria_sentence_420

The majority of Syrian cargo is carried by Syrian Railways (the Syrian railway company), which links up with Turkish State Railways (the Turkish counterpart). Syria_sentence_421

For a relatively underdeveloped country, Syria's railway infrastructure is well maintained with many express services and modern trains. Syria_sentence_422

The road network in Syria is 69,873 kilometres (43,417 miles) long, including 1,103 kilometres (685 miles) of expressways. Syria_sentence_423

The country also has 900 kilometres (560 miles) of navigable but not economically significant waterways. Syria_sentence_424

Water supply and sanitation Syria_section_23

Main article: Water supply and sanitation in Syria Syria_sentence_425

Syria is a semiarid country with scarce water resources. Syria_sentence_426

The largest water consuming sector in Syria is agriculture. Syria_sentence_427

Domestic water use stands at only about 9% of total water use. Syria_sentence_428

A big challenge for Syria is its high population growth with a rapidly increasing demand for urban and industrial water. Syria_sentence_429

In 2006 the population of Syria was 19.4 million with a growth rate of 2.7%. Syria_sentence_430

Demographics Syria_section_24

Main article: Demographics of Syria Syria_sentence_431

Most people live in the Euphrates River valley and along the coastal plain, a fertile strip between the coastal mountains and the desert. Syria_sentence_432

Overall population density in Syria is about 99 per square kilometre (258 per square mile). Syria_sentence_433

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. Syria_sentence_434

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. Syria_sentence_435

In what the UN has described as "the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era", about 9.5 million Syrians, half the population, have been displaced since the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War in March 2011; 4 million are outside the country as refugees. Syria_sentence_436

Ethnic groups Syria_section_25

Main article: Syrians Syria_sentence_437

Syrians are an overall indigenous Levantine people, closely related to their immediate neighbors, such as Lebanese, Palestinians, Jordanians and Jews. Syria_sentence_438

Syria has a population of approximately 18,500,000 (2019 estimate). Syria_sentence_439

Syrian Arabs, together with some 600,000 Palestinian not including the 6 million refugees outside the country. Syria_sentence_440

Arabs make up roughly 74% of the population. Syria_sentence_441

The indigenous Assyrians and Western Aramaic-speakers number around 400,000 people, 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). Syria_sentence_442

Many (particularly the Assyrian group) still retain several Neo-Aramaic dialects as spoken and written languages. Syria_sentence_443

The second-largest ethnic group in Syria are the Kurds. Syria_sentence_444

They constitute about 9% to 10% of the population, or approximately 1.6 million people (including 40,000 Yazidis). Syria_sentence_445

Most Kurds reside in the northeastern corner of Syria and most speak the Kurmanji variant of the Kurdish language. Syria_sentence_446

The third largest ethnic group are the Turkish-speaking Syrian Turkmen/Turkoman. Syria_sentence_447

There are no reliable estimates of their total population, with estimates ranging from several hundred thousand to 3.5 million. Syria_sentence_448

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_sentence_449

Syria holds the 7th largest Armenian population in the world. Syria_sentence_450

They are mainly gathered in Aleppo, Qamishli, Damascus and Kesab. Syria_sentence_451

There are also smaller ethnic minority groups, such as the Albanians, Bosnians, Georgians, Greeks, Persians, Pashtuns and Russians. Syria_sentence_452

However, most of these ethnic minorities have become Arabized to some degree, particularly those who practice the Muslim faith. Syria_sentence_453

Syria was once home to a substantial population of Jews, with large communities in Damascus, Aleppo, and Qamishii. Syria_sentence_454

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. Syria_sentence_455

The process was completed with the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. Syria_sentence_456

Today only a few Jews remain in Syria. Syria_sentence_457

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. Syria_sentence_458

Brazil is the first country in the Americas to offer humanitarian visas to Syrian refugees. Syria_sentence_459

The majority of Arab Argentines are from either Lebanese or Syrian background. Syria_sentence_460

Religion Syria_section_26

Main articles: Religion in Syria and Islam in Syria Syria_sentence_461

Sunni Muslims make up between 69 and 74% of Syria's population and Sunni Arabs account for 59–60% of the population. Syria_sentence_462

Most Kurds (8.5%) and most Turkoman (3%) are Sunni and account for the difference between Sunnis and Sunni Arabs, while 13% of Syrians are Shia Muslims (particularly Alawite, Twelvers, and Ismailis but there are also Arabs, Kurds and Turkoman), 10% Christian (the majority are Antiochian Greek Orthodox, the rest are Syrian Orthodox, Greek Catholic and other Catholic Rites, Assyrian Church of the East, Armenian Orthodox, Protestants and other denominations), and 3% Druze. Syria_sentence_463

Druze number around 500,000, and concentrate mainly in the southern area of Jabal al-Druze. Syria_sentence_464

President Bashar al-Assad's family is Alawite and Alawites dominate the government of Syria and hold key military positions. Syria_sentence_465

In May 2013, SOHR stated that out of 94,000 killed during the Syrian Civil War, at least 41,000 were Alawites. Syria_sentence_466

Christians (1.2 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. Syria_sentence_467

Many Christian monasteries also exist. Syria_sentence_468

Many Christian Syrians belong to a high socio-economic class. Syria_sentence_469

Languages Syria_section_27

Main article: Languages of Syria Syria_sentence_470

Arabic is the official language of the country. Syria_sentence_471

Several modern Arabic dialects are used in everyday life, most notably Levantine in the west and Mesopotamian in the northeast. Syria_sentence_472

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, Turkish, Neo-Aramaic (four dialects), Circassian, Chechen, Armenian, and finally Greek. Syria_sentence_473

However, none of these minority languages have official status. Syria_sentence_474

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. Syria_sentence_475

Most remarkably, Western Neo-Aramaic is still spoken in the village of Ma'loula as well as two neighboring villages, 56 km (35 mi) northeast of Damascus. Syria_sentence_476

English and French are widely spoken as second languages, but English is more often used. Syria_sentence_477

Largest cities Syria_section_28

Culture Syria_section_29

Main article: Culture of Syria Syria_sentence_478

Syria is a traditional society with a long cultural history. Syria_sentence_479

Importance is placed on family, religion, education, self-discipline and respect. Syria_sentence_480

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. Syria_sentence_481

Marriage ceremonies and the births of children are occasions for the lively demonstration of folk customs. Syria_sentence_482

Literature Syria_section_30

Main article: literature of Syria Syria_sentence_483

The literature of Syria has contributed to Arabic literature and has a proud tradition of oral and written poetry. Syria_sentence_484

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. Syria_sentence_485

Prominent contemporary Syrian writers include, among others, Adonis, Muhammad Maghout, Haidar Haidar, Ghada al-Samman, Nizar Qabbani and Zakariyya Tamer. Syria_sentence_486

Ba'ath Party rule, since the 1966 coup, has brought about renewed censorship. Syria_sentence_487

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. Syria_sentence_488

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. Syria_sentence_489

Salim Barakat, a Syrian émigré living in Sweden, is one of the leading figures of the genre. Syria_sentence_490

Contemporary Syrian literature also encompasses science fiction and futuristic utopiae (Nuhad Sharif, Talib Umran), which may also serve as media of dissent. Syria_sentence_491

Music Syria_section_31

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_sentence_492

Syria has produced several pan-Arab stars, including Asmahan, Farid al-Atrash and singer Lena Chamamyan. Syria_sentence_493

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. Syria_sentence_494

Media Syria_section_32

Television was introduced to Syria and Egypt in 1960, when both were part of the United Arab Republic. Syria_sentence_495

It broadcast in black and white until 1976. Syria_sentence_496

Syrian soap operas have considerable market penetration throughout the eastern Arab world. Syria_sentence_497

Nearly all of Syria's media outlets are state-owned, and the Ba'ath Party controls nearly all newspapers. Syria_sentence_498

The authorities operate several intelligence agencies, among them Shu'bat al-Mukhabarat al-'Askariyya, employing many operatives. Syria_sentence_499

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. Syria_sentence_500

Sports Syria_section_33

The most popular sports in Syria are football, basketball, swimming, and tennis. Syria_sentence_501

Damascus was home to the fifth and seventh Pan Arab Games. Syria_sentence_502

Cuisine Syria_section_34

Main article: Syrian cuisine Syria_sentence_503

Syrian cuisine is rich and varied in its ingredients, linked to the regions of Syria where a specific dish has originated. Syria_sentence_504

Syrian food mostly consists of Southern Mediterranean, Greek, and Southwest Asian dishes. Syria_sentence_505

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). Syria_sentence_506

The main dishes that form Syrian cuisine are kibbeh, hummus, tabbouleh, fattoush, labneh, shawarma, mujaddara, shanklish, pastırma, sujuk and baklava. Syria_sentence_507

Baklava is made of filo pastry filled with chopped nuts and soaked in honey. Syria_sentence_508

Syrians often serve selections of appetizers, known as meze, before the main course. Syria_sentence_509

Za'atar, minced beef, and cheese manakish are popular hors d'œuvres. Syria_sentence_510

The Arabic flatbread khubz is always eaten together with meze. Syria_sentence_511

Drinks in Syria vary, depending on the time of day and the occasion. Syria_sentence_512

Arabic coffee is the most well-known hot drink, usually prepared in the morning at breakfast or in the evening. Syria_sentence_513

It is usually served for guests or after food. Syria_sentence_514

Arak, an alcoholic drink, is a well-known beverage, served mostly on special occasions. Syria_sentence_515

Other Syrian beverages include ayran, jallab, white coffee, and a locally manufactured beer called Al Shark. Syria_sentence_516

Education Syria_section_35

Main article: Education in Syria Syria_sentence_517

Education is free and compulsory from ages 6 to 12. Syria_sentence_518

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. Syria_sentence_519

The second 3-year period of academic training is required for university admission. Syria_sentence_520

Total enrollment at post-secondary schools is over 150,000. Syria_sentence_521

The literacy rate of Syrians aged 15 and older is 90.7% for males and 82.2% for females. Syria_sentence_522

Since 1967, all schools, colleges, and universities have been under close government supervision by the Ba'ath Party. Syria_sentence_523

There are 6 state universities in Syria and 15 private universities. Syria_sentence_524

The top two state universities are Damascus University (210,000 students as of 2014) and University of Aleppo. Syria_sentence_525

The top private universities in Syria are: Syrian Private University, Arab International University, University of Kalamoon and International University for Science and Technology. Syria_sentence_526

There are also many higher institutes in Syria, like the Higher Institute of Business Administration, which offer undergraduate and graduate programs in business. Syria_sentence_527

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). Syria_sentence_528

Health Syria_section_36

Main article: Health in Syria Syria_sentence_529

In 2010, spending on healthcare accounted for 3.4% of the country's GDP. Syria_sentence_530

In 2008, there were 14.9 physicians and 18.5 nurses per 10,000 inhabitants. Syria_sentence_531

The life expectancy at birth was 75.7 years in 2010, or 74.2 years for males and 77.3 years for females. Syria_sentence_532

See also Syria_section_37


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