The Syria portal
Syria (Arabic: سوريا) is a country in the Middle East, bordering Lebanon to the west, Israel to the southwest, Jordan to the south, Iraq to the east, and Turkey to the north. The modern state of Syria attained independence from the French mandate of Syria in 1946, but can trace its roots to the fourth millennium BC; its capital city, Damascus, was the seat of the Umayyad Empire and a provincial capital of the Mamluk Empire.
Historically, the region of Syria has often included the territories of Lebanon, Palestine, parts of Turkey and Jordan, but excluded the Jazira region in the north-east of the modern Syrian state. In the geographical sense, the area of the Levant is also known as Syrian region or by the Arabic name Bilad al-Sham (بلاد الشام), for the Arab province name during the Middle Ages. Since the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel occupies a large share of the Golan Heights in the southwest of the country; a dispute with Turkey over the Hatay Province has subsided. Since March 2011, Syria has been embroiled in civil war in the wake of uprisings (considered an extension of the Arab Spring, the mass movement of revolutions and protests in the Arab world) against Assad and the Ba'athist government. An alternative government was formed by the opposition umbrella group, the Syrian National Coalition, in March 2012. Representatives of this government were subsequently invited to take up Syria's seat at the Arab League. Further into the war, Syria was torn among at least four warring factions - the Syrian government, the Opposition, the self-proclaimed Kurdish enclave and the radical Islamist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
The name Syria comes from the ancient Greek name for the former colonial territories of Assyria such as Canaan and Aram. At the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea between Egypt and Arabia to the south and Cilicia to the north, stretching inland to include Mesopotamia, and having an uncertain border to the northeast that Pliny the Elder describes as including from west to east Commagene, Sophene, and Adiabene, "formerly known as Assyria" (N.H. 5.66). 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 (or "Judea" and later renamed Palestina in AD 135—the region corresponding to the modern states of Israel and Jordan and the Palestinian territories) in the extreme southwest, Phoenicia corresponding to Lebanon, with Damascena to the inland side of Phoenicia, Coele-Syria (or "Hollow Syria") south of the Eleutheris river, and Mesopotamia.
Syria had a population of 19 million as of 2010, though it has decreased on the course of Syrian civil war. The majority are Sunni Muslims, some 16% are other Muslim groups, including the Alawi, and Shi'a denominations, the rest are Druze and about 10% Christians of various churches. Since 1963, the country has been governed by the Baath Party; the head of state since 1970 has been a member of the Assad family. Syria's current President is Bashar al-Assad, son of Hafez al-Assad, who held office from 1970 until his death in 2000.
Majd ad-Dīn Usāma ibn Murshid ibn ʿAlī ibn Munqidh al-Kināni al-Kalbi (also Usamah, Ousama, etc.; Arabic: أسامة بن منقذ) (July 4, 1095 – November 17, 1188) was a medieval Muslim poet, author, faris (professional warrior), and diplomat from the Banu Munqidh dynasty of Shaizar in northern Syria. His life coincided with the rise of several medieval Muslim dynasties, as well as the arrival of the First Crusade and the establishment of the crusader states.
He was the nephew of the emir of Shaizar and probably expected to rule Shaizar himself, but he was exiled in 1131 and spent the rest of his life serving other leaders. He was a courtier to the Burids, Zengids, and Ayyubids in Damascus, serving the famous Zengi, Nur ad-Din, and Saladin over a period of almost fifty years. He also served the Fatimid court in Cairo, as well as the Artuqids in Hisn Kayfa. He often meddled in the politics of the courts in which he served, and he was exiled from both Damascus and Cairo.
During and immediately after his life he was most famous as a poet and adib (a "man of letters"). He wrote many poetry anthologies, such as the Kitab al-'Asa ("Book of the Staff"), Lubab al-Adab ("Kernels of Refinement"), and al-Manazil wa'l-Diyar ("Dwellings and Abodes"), and collections of his own original poetry. For modern readers, however, he is most well known for his Kitab al-I'tibar ("Book of Learning by Example" or "Book of Contemplation"), which contains lengthy descriptions of the crusaders, whom he visited on many occasions, and some of whom he considered friends, although he generally saw them as foreign barbarians.
Most of his family was killed in an earthquake at Shaizar in 1157. He died in Damascus in 1188, at the age of 93, a remarkably advanced age for the time.
Did you know...
- ... that there are 165 dams in Syria, with a total storage capacity of 19,599 million m3?
The Citadel of Aleppo is an immense fortification in the centre of the old city of 'Aleppo, northern Syria. It is considered to be one of the oldest and largest castles in the world. Usage of the Citadel hill dates back at least to the middle of the 3rd millennium BC. Subsequently occupied by many civilizations including the Greeks, Byzantines, Ayyubids and Mamluks, the majority of the construction as it stands today is thought to originate from the Ayyubid period. A great deal of conservation work has taken place over the last seven years by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in collaboration with the Syrian Directorate General of Antiquities.
The recently discovered Temple of the Ancient Storm God, Hadda, dates use of the hill to the middle of the 3rd millennium BC, and it is referred to in Cuniform texts from Ebla and Mari refer to the temple. The prophet Abraham is said to have milked his sheep on the citadel hill. After the decline of the Neo-Hittite state centred in Aleppo, the Assyrians dominated the area (4-8th century BC), followed by the Neo-Babylonians and the Persians (539-333).
see also : Crac des Chevaliers
Shukri al-Quwatli (1891, Damascus, Syria — June 30, 1967, Beirut, Lebanon) (Arabic: شكري القوتلي) was the president of Syria from 1943-1949 and 1955-1958. Quwatli entered Syrian politics in the 1930s as a member of the National Bloc, a coalition of Arab parties that led the opposition to French rule. As a young man, he had been involved in al-Fatat, an underground opposition group in Ottoman Syria, and been arrested for his activities in 1916. In jail, because of harsh torture, he feared that he would tell the names of his comrades in al-Fatat. To avoid this he slit open his wrist in a suicide attempt but was saved at the last minute by his friend and colleague Dr Ahmad Qadri. He was released when World War I ended to become a civil servant in post-Ottoman era of King Faisal I. After Atassi resigned the presidency in 1939 over objections to continued French intervention in Syria, several years of (WWII-related) instability and direct French and British military ruled followed. The National Bloc remained the dominant expression of Syrian nationalism, and, when elections were again held in 1943, the bloc helped elect Quwatli president. His major preoccupation was to conclude a treaty with France, which had exercised control over Syria for more than two decades. This was accomplished with British help, and by 1946 all foreign troops had evacuated. In 1947 Quwatli enacted an amendment that removed a one-term limit from the constitution, and he was reelected in 1948.
see also : Nizar Qabbani, Hafez al-Assad
Philip Hitti : "the scholars consider Syria as the teacher for the human characteristics,"
Andrea Parrout : "each civilized person in the world should admit that he has two home countries: the one he was born in, and Syria."
||Wikiquote has quotations related to: Syria
Things you can do
Join us in Wikiproject Syria
The main goals of this WikiProject are to:
- Improve and maintain Syria-related articles: fact and prose checking, expanding and ensuring currency of information, providing reliable citations and references, maintaining a NPOV, bringing more selected articles up to Featured article or Good article status;
- Expand Wikipedia's coverage of Syria-related topics: check for completeness of articles, start new articles, expand entries on neglected subjects;
- Maintaining consistency in article organization: maintaining a similar structure, coverage and presentation across articles, maintaining categories and links;
- Develop tools and resources for others to use in article production: templates, categories, infoboxes, diagrams, base maps, useful and commonly used references;
- Coordinating collaborations: between editors to establish priorities and avoid duplication of effort, gaining consensus on disputed issues.