Open main menu

Wikipedia β

Syrians (Arabic: سوريون‎), also known as the Syrian people (Arabic: الشعب السوريALA-LC: al-sha‘ab al-Sūrī; Syriac: ܣܘܪܝܝܢ‎) are the inhabitants of Syria, who share a common Levantine Semitic ancestry. The cultural and linguistic heritage of the Syrian people is a blend of both indigenous elements and the foreign cultures that have come to rule the land and its people over the course of thousands of years.

Total population

c. 18 million in Syria,[1] Syrian ancestry: +10 million

Syrian refugees: +6 million
Regions with significant populations
 Syria 17,185,170 [2]
 Brazil 4,011,480 [3]
 Turkey 2,764,500 [4]
 Lebanon 1,500,000 [5]
 Jordan 1,400,000 [6]
 Argentina 1,103,000
 Venezuela 1,015,632 [7][8][9][10]
 Germany 600,000 [11]
 Iraq 247,861
 Sweden 166,108[12]
 United States 154,560 [13]
 Greece 88,204
 Austria 48,116 [14]
 Canada 40,840 [15]
 Macedonia 40,000
Arabic (Syrian Arabic)
Neo-Aramaic (Surayt/Turoyo, Assyrian Neo-Aramaic, Western Neo-Aramaic)
French, English.
Islam (mostly Sunni, and a minority of Shi'as and Alawites)
Christianity (Mostly Greek Orthodox and Greek Catholic; a minority of Syriac Orthodox, Assyrian Church of the East, Chaldean Catholic)
Related ethnic groups
Lebanese, Jordanians, Palestinians, Arabs, Jews, Assyrians

The Syrian republic has a population of nearly 17 million as of 2014,[1] in addition to 4 million Syrian refugees. The dominant racial group is the Syrian descendants of the old indigenous peoples who mixed with Arabs and identify themselves as such in addition to ethnic Aramean.

The Syrian diaspora consists of 15 million people of Syrian ancestry,[16] who immigrated to North America (United States and Canada), European Union member states (including Sweden, France and Germany), South America (mainly in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Venezuela and Colombia), the West Indies,[17] Australia, and Africa.[16]



The name "Syrians" was employed by the Greeks and Romans to denote the inhabitants of Syria; however, they called themselves Arameans and Assyrians. The ethnic designation "Syrian" is derived from the word "Assyrian" and appeared in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Some argue that the discovery of the Çineköy inscription in 2000 seems to support the theory that the term Syria derives from Assyria.

The Greeks used the terms "Syrian" and "Assyrian" interchangeably to indicate the indigenous Arameans, Assyrians and other inhabitants of the Near East, Herodotus considered "Syria" west of the Euphrates. Starting from the 2nd century BC onwards, ancient writers referred to the Seleucid ruler as the King of Syria or King of the Syrians.[18] The Seleucids designated the districts of Seleucis and Coele-Syria explicitly as Syria and ruled the Syrians as indigenous populations residing west of the Euphrates (Aramea) in contrast to Assyrians who had their native homeland in Mesopotamia east of the Euphrates.[19] However, the interchangeability between Assyrians and Syrians persisted during the Hellenistic period.[19]

In one instance, the Ptolemies of Egypt reserved the term "Syrian Village" as the name of a settlement in Fayoum. The term "Syrians" is under debate whether it referred to Jews or to Arameans, as the Ptolemies referred to all peoples originating from Modern Syria and Palestine as Syrian.[20]

The term Syrian was imposed upon Arameans of modern Levant by the Romans. Pompey created the province of Syria, which included modern-day Lebanon and Syria west of the Euphrates, framing the province as a regional social category with civic implications.[21] Plutarch described the indigenous people of this newly created Roman province as "Syrians",[22] so did Strabo, who observed that Syrians resided west of the Euphrates in Roman Syria,[21] and he explicitly mentions that those Syrians are the Arameans, whom he calls Aramaei, indicating an extant ethnicity.[23]

In his book The Great Roman-Jewish War, Josephus, a Hebrew native to the Levant, mentioned the Syrians as the non-Hebrew, non-Greek indigenous inhabitants of Syria.[24]

The Arabs called Syria and the Levant Al-Sham. The national and ethnic designation "Syrian" is one that has been reused, accepted and espoused by the Syrian people since the advent of modern nationalism, which emanated from Europe and began with the culmination of the Napoleonic Wars of the early 1800s.


Besides religious identities, the Syrian people are split among three identities, namely the Arab, Syriac, and Syrian identities. Many Muslims and some Arabic-speaking Christians describe themselves as Arabs, while many Aramaic-speaking Christians and a minority of Muslims prefer to describe themselves as Syriacs or Arameans. Also some people from Syria, mainly Syrian nationalists, describe themselves only as Syrians.


Former Syrian president Shukri al-Quwatli and his family

The inhabitants of Syria descend from the ancient Semitic peoples of antiquity,[25][26] mainly the Amorites, Arameans, Assyrians, Phoenicians, Palmyrians, and populations from Arabia.[27][28][29] The majority of the Syrian people who refer to themselves as Arabs are the result of the linguistic Arabization of Syria following the Muslim conquest of the Levant.[30]

Arabisation and Islamization of Syria began in the 7th century, while it took several centuries for Islam, the Arab identity, and language to spread.[31] Syrians welcomed the Arabs as liberators which made Arabisation and conversion faster.[32] The Arabs had a policy of segregating indigenous Syrians from Arab tribes; they built new settlements to accommodate the new tribes which limited the ethnic assimilation of the original "Arabised" Arameans. Caliph Uthman specifically ordered his governor, Muawiyah I, to settle the new tribes away from the original population.[33] However, the ascendancy of Arabic as the formal language of the state prompted the cultural and linguistic assimilation of Syrian converts.[34]

While the Umayyad Caliphate showed some religious tolerance, the Abbasid Caliphate had a different approach[clarification needed],[35] and by the time of the Crusades (1100 AD) most Syrians adopted Islam and were culturally and linguistically fully Arabised.[36] The new Muslim converts mixed with the Arabs and shifted to an Arab racial identity, but the mixing didn't change the genetic pool dramatically.

Many Christians lost their identity and adopted an Arab racial identity,[37] becoming indistinguishable from the Arab Christians of pre-conquest era, while those who kept their racial characteristics maintained the Syrian identity and are mainly divided between two groups:


Genetic tests on Syrians were included in many genetic studies,[48][29][49] the genetic marker which identifies descendants of the ancient Levantines is found among members of all Levantines from different religious groups.[50] Syrian Muslims show a slightly more Arabian genetic influx than their Christian compatriots.[51] The most common Haplogroup is J represented by its subclades (branches) J1 and J2.

The paternal Y-DNA haplogroups J1 (which reaches it highest frequencies in Yemen 72.6% and Qatar 58.3%) accounted for 33.6% of Syrians.[29] J1 has its highest frequency in people belonging to the Ismailis of Damascus with 58.8%, while reaching its lowest frequency among the Arameans of Ma'loula with 6.8%. Other frequencies are 14.7% for Druze, 47.2% for Sunnis of Hama, 14.3% for Syriac Catholics of Saidnaya and 26.7% among the Alawite population.

The J2 group accounted for 20.8% of Syrians,[29] other Y-DNA haplogroups includes the E1B1B 12.0%, I 5.0%, R1a 10.0% and R1b 15.0%.[29][52]

The Syrian people cluster the closest with the Lebanese, then the Palestinians, Jews and then the Jordanians.[48][53]


Arabic is the mother tongue of a majority[1] of Syrians as well as the official state language. The Syrian variety of Levantine Arabic varies little from Modern Standard Arabic. Western Neo-Aramaic, the only surviving Western Aramaic language, is still spoken in three villages (Ma'loula, Al-Sarkha (Bakhah) and Jubb'adin) in the Anti-Lebanon Mountains by both Muslim and Christian residents. Syriac-Assyrians in the northeast of the country are mainly Surayt/Turoyo speakers but there are also some speakers of Assyrian Neo-Aramaic, especially in the Khabour Valley. Classical Syriac is also used as a liturgical language by Syriac Christians. English, and to a lesser extent French, is widely understood and used in interactions with tourists and other foreigners.

Religion and minority groupsEdit

Clip - Interview with Paolo Dall'Oglio, The Syrian tradition of coexistence and the present scenario of confrontation

Religious differences in Syria have historically been tolerated,[54][55] and religious minorities tend to retain distinct cultural, and religious identities. Sunni Islam is the religion of 74% of Syrians. The Alawites, a variety of Shia Islam, make up 12% of the population and mostly live in and around Tartus and Latakia. Christians make up 10% of the country. Most Syrian Christians adhere to the Byzantine Rite; the two largest are the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch and the Melkite Greek Catholic Church.[56][57] The Druze are a mountainous people who reside in Jabal al-Druze who helped spark the Great Syrian Revolt. The Ismailis are an even smaller sect that originated in Asia. Many Armenian and Assyrian Christians fled Turkey during the Armenian Genocide and the Assyrian genocide and settled in Syria. There are also roughly 500,000 Palestinians, who are mostly descendants of refugees from the 1948 Israeli-Arab War. The community of Syrian Jews inside Syria once numbered 30,000 in 1947, but has only 200 today.[58]

The Syrian people's beliefs and outlooks, similar to those of most Arabs and people of the wider Middle-East, are a mosaic of West and East. Conservative and liberally minded people will live right next to each other, and hold debates with each other. Like the other countries in the region, religion permeates life; the government registers every Syrian's religious affiliation.



Syrian cuisine is dominated by ingredients native to the region. Olive oil, garlic, olives, peppermint, and sesame oil are some of the ingredients that are used in many traditional meals. Traditional Syrian dishes enjoyed by Syrians include, tabbouleh, labaneh, shanklish, wara' 'enab, makdous, kebab, Kibbeh, sfiha, moutabal, hummus, mana'eesh, bameh, and fattoush.

Before the main courses, Syrians eat meze, which is basically an appetizer. Meze is usually served with Arab-style tea - highly concentrated black tea, which is highly sweetened and served in small glass cups. Another popular drink, especially with Christians and non-practicing Muslims, is the arak, a liquor produced from grapes or dates and flavored with anise that can have an alcohol content of over 90% ABV (however, most commercial Syrian arak brands are about 40-60% ABV).

Notable peopleEdit


Public figures and politiciansEdit

Religious FiguresEdit




See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "The World Factbook". Retrieved 2013-12-29. 
  2. ^ "The World Factbook — Central Intelligence Agency". Retrieved 19 September 2017. 
  3. ^ "Syrian Arabic Republic". Retrieved 19 September 2017. 
  4. ^ (UNHCR), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. "UNHCR Syria Regional Refugee Response". Retrieved 19 September 2017. 
  5. ^ (UNHCR), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. "UNHCR Syria Regional Refugee Response". Retrieved 19 September 2017. 
  6. ^ (UNHCR), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. "UNHCR Syria Regional Refugee Response". Retrieved 19 September 2017. 
  7. ^ Jordan, Levi. "Syria Steps into Latin America". Americas Society Council of the Americas. Retrieved 15 January 2017. Syria hopes will serve as an avenue to attract investment dollars from the one-million-strong community of Venezuelans of Syrian descent 
  8. ^ Vasquez, Fidel (October 2010). "Venezuela afianza relaciones con Siria" (in Spanish). Aristobulo Isturiz PSUV. Retrieved 15 January 2017. En Venezuela residen un poco más de 700 mil árabes de origen sirio 
  9. ^ Nachawati, Leila (March 2013). "Cómo será recordado Chávez en Siria" (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 January 2017. Se calcula que cerca de un millón de habitantes del país tiene origen sirio, personal o familiar. 
  10. ^ Gomez, Diego (February 2012). "EL LEVANTE Y AMÉRICA LATINA. UNA BITÁCORA DE LATINOAMÉRICA EN SIRIA, LÍBANO, JORDANIA Y PALESTINA". (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 January 2017. de acuerdo con el Instituto de Estadística de Venezuela, cerca de un millón de venezolanos tienen orígenes sirios y más de 20 mil venezolanos están registrados en el catastro del consulado sudamericano en Damasco. 
  11. ^ "BiB - Bundesinstitut für Bevölkerungsforschung - Pressemitteilungen - Zuwanderung aus außereuropäischen Ländern fast verdoppelt". Retrieved 19 September 2017. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Table 51. Population by Selected Ancestry Group and Region". U.S. Census Bureau. 2005. Archived from the original (XLS) on 2008-10-31. 
  14. ^ "Bevölkerung zu Jahresbeginn seit 2002 nach detaillierter Staatsangehörigkeit" [Population at the beginning of the year since 2002 by detailed nationality] (PDF). Statistics Austria (in German). 14 June 2016. Retrieved 1 August 2016. 
  15. ^ Statistics Canada. "2011 National Household Survey: Data tables". Retrieved July 4, 2017. 
  16. ^ a b Singh, Shubha. "Like India, Syria has a large diaspora (With stories on Syrian president's visit)". Theindian News. Retrieved March 15, 2014. 
  17. ^
  18. ^ Nigel Wilson. Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece. p. 652. 
  19. ^ a b Nathanael J. Andrade (2013-07-25). Syrian Identity in the Greco-Roman World. p. 28. ISBN 9781107244566. 
  20. ^ Aryeh Kasher (1985). The Jews in Hellenistic and Roman Egypt: The Struggle for Equal Rights. p. 153. ISBN 9783161448294. 
  21. ^ a b Nathanael J. Andrade (2013-07-25). Syrian Identity in the Greco-Roman World. p. 29. ISBN 9781107244566. 
  22. ^ History, Universal (1779). An universal history, from the earliest accounts to the present time. p. 451. 
  23. ^ History, Universal (1779). An universal history, from the earliest accounts to the present time. p. 441. 
  24. ^ Flavius Josephus (2004). The Great Roman-Jewish War. p. 34,150,178. ISBN 9780486432182. 
  25. ^ "The Genetics of Modern Assyrians and their Relationship to Other People of the Middle East". Retrieved 19 September 2017. 
  26. ^ Margaret Nydell (2012-03-23). Understanding Arabs, Fifth Edition: A Contemporary Guide to Arab Society. p. 169. ISBN 9780983955801. 
  27. ^ "Syria". Encyclopædia Britannica. 23 September 2014. Retrieved 11 March 2015. 
  28. ^ Michael Haag (2009). The Templars: The History and the Myth - From Solomon's Temple to the Freemasons. p. 65. ISBN 1846681537. 
  29. ^ a b c d e "Geographical Structure of the Y-chromosomal Genetic Landscape of the Levant: A coastal-inland contrast". Annals of Human Genetics. 73 (6): 568–581. 16 August 2009. doi:10.1111/j.1469-1809.2009.00538.x. Retrieved 11 March 2015. 
  30. ^ John Joseph (2000). The Modern Assyrians of the Middle East. p. 30. ISBN 9004116419. 
  31. ^ Samiul Hasan (2012-01-15). The Muslim World in the 21st Century: Space, Power, and Human Development. p. 115. ISBN 9789400726321. 
  32. ^ Hugh N. Kennedy, chapter II. The Great Arab Conquests. [page needed]
  33. ^ Hugh N. Kennedy, chapter IV. The Byzantine and Early Islamic Near East. p. 292. 
  34. ^ F. E. Peters. Islam: A Guide for Jews and Christians. p. 191. 
  35. ^ Lucius Boraks. Religions of the West. p. 35. 
  36. ^ Michael Haag. The Templars: The History and the Myth - From Solomon's Temple to the Freemasons. p. 66. 
  37. ^ Ellen blum. Crusader Castles and Modern Histories. p. 53. 
  38. ^ Horatio Southgate. Narrative of a Tour Through Armenia, Kurdistan, Persia and Mesopotamia: With an Introduction, and Occasional Observations Upon the Condition of Mohammedanism and Christianity in Those Countries, Volume 2. p. 179. 
  39. ^ Sebastian P. Brock. An Introduction to Syriac Studies. p. 73. 
  40. ^ Italia, Trans World Film. "The Hidden Pearl: The Syrian Orthodox Church and Its Aramaic Heritage". Retrieved 19 September 2017. 
  41. ^ Anthony O'Mahony, Emma Loosley. Eastern Christianity in the Modern Middle East. p. 13. 
  42. ^ "The Syriac Orthodox Church: A Brief Overview". Syriac Orthodox Resources. 9 May 2004. Retrieved 6 March 2014. 
  43. ^ W.S. Young. The Evangelical Repository, Volume 1. p. 109. 
  44. ^ Robin Darling Young, Monica J. Blanchard. To Train His Soul in Books: Syriac Asceticism in Early Christianity. p. 192. 
  45. ^ "Language of Jesus clings to life". Retrieved 19 September 2017. 
  46. ^ Hamilton Alexander Rosskeen Gibb. The Encyclopaedia of Islam: MAHK-MID. p. 308. 
  47. ^ Provence, Michael (2005). The Great Syrian Revolt and the Rise of Arab Nationalism. University of Texas Press. p. 123. ISBN 0-292-70680-4. 
  48. ^ a b "Y-Chromosome and mtDNA Genetics Reveal Significant Contrasts in Affinities of Modern Middle Eastern Populations with European and African Populations". PLOS ONE. 8 (1): e54616. 30 January 2013. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0054616. Retrieved 11 March 2015. 
  49. ^ Haber, Marc; Platt, Daniel E.; Badro, Danielle A.; Xue, Yali; El-Sibai, Mirvat; Bonab, Maziar Ashrafian; Youhanna, Sonia C.; Saade, Stephanie; Soria-Hernanz, David F.; Royyuru, Ajay; Wells, R. Spencer; Tyler-Smith, Chris; Zalloua, Pierre A.; Adhikarla, Syama; Adler, Christina J.; Balanovska, Elena; Balanovsky, Oleg; Bertranpetit, Jaume; Clarke, Andrew C.; Comas, David; Cooper, Alan; Sarkissian, Clio S. I. Der; Dulik, Matthew C.; Erasmus, Christoff J.; Gaieski, Jill B.; GaneshPrasad, ArunKumar; Haak, Wolfgang; Hobbs, Angela; Javed, Asif; Jin, Li; Kaplan, Matthew E.; Li, Shilin; Martínez-Cruz, Begoña; Matisoo-Smith, Elizabeth A.; Melé, Marta; Merchant, Nirav C.; Mitchell, R. John; Owings, Amanda C.; Parida, Laxmi; Pitchappan, Ramasamy; Quintana-Murci, Lluis; Renfrew, Colin; Lacerda, Daniela R.; Santos, Fabrício R.; Schurr, Theodore G.; Soodyall, Himla; Swamikrishnan, Pandikumar; John, Kavitha Valampuri; Santhakumari, Arun Varatharajan; Vieira, Pedro Paulo; Ziegle, Janet S. (1 March 2011). "Influences of history, geography, and religion on genetic structure: the Maronites in Lebanon". European Journal of Human Genetics. 19 (3): 334–340. doi:10.1038/ejhg.2010.177. PMC 3062011 . Retrieved 19 September 2017 – via 
  50. ^ Perry, Tom (2007-09-10). "In Lebanon DNA may yet heal rifts". Reuters. Retrieved 2011-07-04. 
  51. ^ "Genome-Wide Diversity in the Levant Reveals Recent Structuring by Culture". PLOS Genetics. 9 (2): e1003316. 25 February 2013. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003316. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  52. ^ Semino, O.; Passarino, G; Oefner, PJ; Lin, AA; Arbuzova, S; Beckman, LE; De Benedictis, G; Francalacci, P; et al. (2000). "The Genetic Legacy of Paleolithic Homo sapiens sapiens in Extant Europeans: A Y Chromosome Perspective". Science. 290 (5494): 1155–9. doi:10.1126/science.290.5494.1155. PMID 11073453. 
  53. ^ "Jewish and Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations share a common pool of Y-chromosome biallelic haplotypes". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 9 May 2000. Retrieved 11 March 2015. 
  54. ^ Kamīl Manṣūr, Leila Tarazi Fawaz. Transformed Landscapes: Essays on Palestine and the Middle East in Honor of Walid Khalidi. p. 2. 
  55. ^ George N. Atiyeh, Ibrahim M. Oweiss. Arab Civilization: Challenges and Responses: Studies in Honor of Dr. Constantine Zurayk. p. 299. 
  56. ^ "Syria". Retrieved 2013-12-29. 
  57. ^ "Guide: Syria's diverse minorities". BBC News. 2011-12-09. 
  58. ^ Derhally, Massoud A. (7 February 2011). "Jews in Damascus Restore Synagogues as Syria Tries to Foster Secular Image". Bloomberg. Retrieved 8 May 2011. The project, which began in December, will be completed this month as part of a plan to restore 10 synagogues with the backing of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and funding from Syrian Jews. 
  59. ^ "IEEE RAS Distinguished Service Award - IEEE Robotics and Automation Society". Retrieved 19 September 2017. 
  60. ^ "Steve Jobs' Magic Kingdom". BusinessWeek. 2006-01-06. Archived from the original on February 3, 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-20. 
  61. ^ Burrows, Peter (2004-11-04). "Steve Jobs: He Thinks Different". BusinessWeek. Archived from the original on October 31, 2004. Retrieved 2006-09-20. 
  62. ^ "صحيفة تشرين • عازف الناي السوري محمد فتيان يتألق في تظاهرة «بارعون شبان» بتونس". Retrieved 19 September 2017. 
  63. ^ Abbas, Faisal (2006-01-17). "Q&A with CNN's Hala Gorani". Asharq Al-Awsat. Archived from the original on April 27, 2006. Retrieved 2006-05-20. 
  64. ^ Paumgarten, Nick.Central Casting: The Race Card, The New Yorker, November 10, 2003. Retrieved June 16, 2008.

External linksEdit