Context of Syria

Syria (Arabic: سُورِيَا or سُورِيَة, romanized: Sūriyā), officially the Syrian Arab Republic (Arabic: الجمهورية العربية السورية, romanized: al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-Sūrīyah), is a Western Asian country located in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Levant. It is a unitary republic that consists of 14 governorates (subdivisions), and is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east and southeast, Jordan to the south, and Israel and Lebanon to the southwest. Cyprus lies to the west across the Mediterranean Sea. A country of fertile plains, high mountains, and deserts, Syria is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including the majority Syrian Arabs, Kurds, Turkme...Read more

Syria (Arabic: سُورِيَا or سُورِيَة, romanized: Sūriyā), officially the Syrian Arab Republic (Arabic: الجمهورية العربية السورية, romanized: al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-Sūrīyah), is a Western Asian country located in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Levant. It is a unitary republic that consists of 14 governorates (subdivisions), and is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east and southeast, Jordan to the south, and Israel and Lebanon to the southwest. Cyprus lies to the west across the Mediterranean Sea. A country of fertile plains, high mountains, and deserts, Syria is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including the majority Syrian Arabs, Kurds, Turkmens, Assyrians, Circassians, Armenians, Albanians, Greeks, and Chechens. Religious groups include Muslims, Christians, Alawites, Druze, and Yazidis. The capital and largest city of Syria is Damascus. Arabs are the largest ethnic group, and Sunni Muslims are the largest religious group. Syria is the only country that is governed by Ba'athists, who advocate Arab socialism and Arab nationalism. Syria is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement.

The name "Syria" historically referred to a wider region, broadly synonymous with the Levant, and known in Arabic as al-Sham. The modern state encompasses the sites of several ancient kingdoms and empires, including the Eblan civilization of the 3rd millennium BC. Aleppo and the capital city Damascus are among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. In the Islamic era, Damascus was the seat of the Umayyad Caliphate and a provincial capital of the Mamluk Sultanate in Egypt. The modern Syrian state was established in the mid-20th century after centuries of Ottoman rule. After a period as a French mandate (1923–1946), the newly-created state represented the largest Arab state to emerge from the formerly Ottoman-ruled Syrian provinces. It gained de jure independence as a democratic 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).

The post-independence period was tumultuous, with multiple military coups and coup attempts shaking the country between 1949 and 1971. In 1958, Syria entered a brief union with Egypt called the United Arab Republic, which was terminated by the 1961 Syrian coup d'état. The republic was renamed as the Arab Republic of Syria in late 1961 after the December 1 constitutional referendum of that year. A significant event was the 1963 coup d'état carried out by the military committee of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party which established a one-party state. It ran Syria under emergency law from 1963 to 2011, effectively suspending constitutional protections for citizens. Internal power-struggles within neo-Ba'athist factions caused further coups in 1966 and 1970, which eventually resulted in the seizure of power by General Hafez al-Assad. Assad assigned Alawite loyalists to key posts in the armed forces, bureaucracy, Mukhabarat and the ruling elite; effectively establishing an "Alawi minority rule" to consolidate power within his family.

After the death of Hafez al-Assad in 2000, his son Bashar al-Assad inherited the presidency and political system centered around a cult of personality to the al-Assad family. The Ba'ath regime has been condemned for numerous human rights abuses, including frequent executions of citizens and political prisoners, massive censorship and for financing a multi-billion dollar illicit drug trade. Following its violent suppression of the Arab Spring protests of the 2011 Syrian Revolution, the Syrian government was suspended from the Arab League in November 2011 and quit the Union for the Mediterranean the following month. Since July 2011, Syria has been embroiled in a multi-sided civil war, with the involvement of different countries. The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation suspended Syria in August 2012 citing "deep concern at the massacres and inhuman acts" perpetrated by forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad. As of 2020, three political entities – the Syrian Interim Government, Syrian Salvation Government, and Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria – have emerged in Syrian territory to challenge Assad's rule.

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 is the most corrupt country in the MENA region and was ranked the second lowest globally on the 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index. The Syrian civil war has killed more than 570,000 people, with pro-Assad forces causing more than 90% of the total civilian casualties. The war led to the Syrian refugee crisis, with an estimated 7.6 million internally displaced people (July 2015 UNHCR figure) and over 5 million refugees (July 2017 registered by UNHCR), making population assessment difficult in recent years. The war has also worsened economic conditions, with more than 90% of the population living in poverty and 80% facing food insecurity.

More about Syria

Basic information
  • Currency Syrian pound
  • Native name سوريا
  • Calling code +963
  • Internet domain .sy
  • Mains voltage 220V/50Hz
  • Democracy index 1.43
Population, Area & Driving side
  • Population 18499181
  • Area 185180
  • Driving side right
History
  • Ancient antiquity
     
    Female figurine, 5000 BC. Ancient Orient Museum.

    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 first began to appear....Read more

    Ancient antiquity
     
    Female figurine, 5000 BC. Ancient Orient Museum.

    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 first began to appear. The Neolithic period (PPNB) is represented by rectangular houses of Mureybet culture. At the time of the pre-pottery Neolithic, people used containers made of stone, gyps and burnt lime (Vaisselle blanche). The discovery of obsidian tools from Anatolia are evidence of early trade. The ancient cities of Hamoukar and Emar played an important role during the late Neolithic and Bronze Age. Archaeologists have demonstrated that civilization in Syria was one of the most ancient on earth, perhaps preceded by only that of Mesopotamia.

    The earliest recorded indigenous civilization in the region was the Kingdom of Ebla[1] near present-day Idlib, northern Syria. Ebla appears to have been founded around 3500 BC,[2][3][4][5][6] 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.[7] Gifts from Pharaohs, found during excavations, confirm Ebla's contact with Egypt.

     
    Ishqi-Mari, king of the Second Kingdom of Mari, circa 2300 BC.

    One of the earliest written texts from Syria is a trading agreement between Vizier Ibrium of Ebla and an ambiguous kingdom called Abarsal c. 2300 BC.[8][9] Scholars believe the language of Ebla to be among the oldest known written Semitic languages after Akkadian. Recent classifications of the Eblaite language have shown that it was an East Semitic language, closely related to the Akkadian language.[10]

    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.[11][12]

    By the 21st century BC, Hurrians settled the northern east parts of Syria while the rest of the region was dominated by the Amorites. Syria was called the Land of the Amurru (Amorites) by their Assyro-Babylonian neighbors. The Northwest Semitic language of the Amorites is the earliest attested of the Canaanite languages. Mari reemerged during this period, and saw renewed prosperity until conquered by Hammurabi of Babylon. Ugarit also arose during this time, circa 1800 BC, close to modern Latakia. Ugaritic was a Semitic language loosely related to the Canaanite languages, and developed the Ugaritic alphabet,[13] considered to be the world's earliest known alphabet. The Ugaritic kingdom survived until its destruction at the hands of the marauding Indo-European Sea Peoples in the 12th century BC in what was known as the Late Bronze Age Collapse which saw similar kingdoms and states witness the same destruction at the hand of the Sea Peoples.

    Yamhad (modern Aleppo) dominated northern Syria for two centuries,[14] although Eastern Syria was occupied in the 19th and 18th centuries BC by the Old Assyrian Empire ruled by the Amorite Dynasty of Shamshi-Adad I, and by the Babylonian Empire which was founded by Amorites. Yamhad was described in the tablets of Mari as the mightiest state in the near east and as having more vassals than Hammurabi of Babylon.[14] Yamhad imposed its authority over Alalakh,[15] Qatna,[16] the Hurrians states and the Euphrates Valley down to the borders with Babylon.[17] The army of Yamhad campaigned as far away as Dēr on the border of Elam (modern Iran).[18] Yamhad was conquered and destroyed, along with Ebla, by the Indo-European Hittites from Asia Minor circa 1600 BC.[19]

    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. The Egyptians initially occupied much of the south, while the Hittites, and the Mitanni, much of the north. However, Assyria eventually gained the upper hand, destroying the Mitanni Empire and annexing huge swathes of territory previously held by the Hittites and Babylon.

     
     
    Syrians bringing presents to Pharaoh Tuthmosis III, as depicted in the tomb of Rekhmire, circa 1450 BCE (actual painting and interpretational drawing). They are labeled "Chiefs of Retjenu".[20][21]

    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. They too were subjugated by Assyria and the Hittites for centuries. The Egyptians fought the Hittites for control over western Syria; the fighting reached its zenith in 1274 BC with the Battle of Kadesh.[22][23] The west remained part of the Hittite empire until its destruction c. 1200 BC,[24] while eastern Syria largely became part of the Middle Assyrian Empire,[25] who also annexed much of the west during the reign of Tiglath-Pileser I 1114–1076 BC.

    With the destruction of the Hittites and the decline of Assyria in the late 11th century BC, the Aramean tribes gained control of much of the interior, founding states such as Bit Bahiani, Aram-Damascus, Hamath, Aram-Rehob, Aram-Naharaim, and Luhuti. From this point, the region became known as Aramea or Aram. There was also a synthesis between the Semitic Arameans and the remnants of the Indo-European Hittites, with the founding of a number of Syro-Hittite states centered in north central Aram (Syria) and south central Asia Minor (modern Turkey), including Palistin, Carchemish and Sam'al.

     
    Amrit Phoenician Temple

    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. From these coastal regions, they eventually spread their influence throughout the Mediterranean, including building colonies in Malta, Sicily, the Iberian peninsula (modern Spain and Portugal), and the coasts of North Africa and most significantly, founding the major city state of Carthage (in modern Tunisia) in the 9th century BC, which was much later to become the center of a major empire, rivaling the Roman Empire.

    Syria and the Western half of Near East then fell to the vast Neo Assyrian Empire (911 BC – 605 BC). The Assyrians introduced Imperial Aramaic as the lingua franca of their empire. This language was to remain dominant in Syria and the entire Near East until after the Arab Islamic conquest in the 7th and 8th centuries AD, and was to be a vehicle for the spread of Christianity. The Assyrians named their colonies of Syria and Lebanon Eber-Nari. Assyrian domination ended after the Assyrians greatly weakened themselves in a series of brutal internal civil wars, followed by attacks from: the Medes, Babylonians, Chaldeans, Persians, Scythians and Cimmerians. During the fall of Assyria, the Scythians ravaged and plundered much of Syria. The last stand of the Assyrian army was at Carchemish in northern Syria in 605 BC.

    The Assyrian Empire was followed by the Neo-Babylonian Empire (605 BC – 539 BC). During this period, Syria became a battle ground between Babylonia and another former Assyrian colony, that of Egypt. The Babylonians, like their Assyrian relations, were victorious over Egypt.

    Classical antiquity
     
    Ancient city of Palmyra before the war

    Lands that constitute modern day Syria were part of the Neo-Babylonian Empire and had been annexed by the Achaemenid Empire in 539 BC. Led by Cyrus the Great, the Achaemenid Persians retained Imperial Aramaic as one of the diplomatic languages of their empire (539 BC – 330 BC), as well as the Assyrian name for the new satrapy of Aram/Syria Eber-Nari.

    Syria was later conquered by the Greek Macedonian Empire which was ruled by Alexander the Great c. 330 BC, and consequently became Coele-Syria province of the Greek Seleucid Empire (323 BC – 64 BC), with the Seleucid kings styling themselves 'King of Syria' and the city of Antioch being its capital starting from 240.

    Thus, it was the Greeks who introduced the name "Syria" to the region. Originally an Indo-European corruption of "Assyria" in northern Mesopotamia (Iraq), 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.[26] 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. Eventually parts of southern Seleucid Syria were taken by Judean Hasmoneans upon the slow disintegration of the Hellenistic Empire.

    Syria briefly came under Armenian control from 83 BC, with the conquests of the Armenian king Tigranes the Great, who was welcomed as a savior from the Seleucids and Romans by the Syrian people. However, Pompey the Great, a general of the Roman Empire, rode to Syria and captured Antioch, its capital, and turned Syria into a Roman province in 64 BC, thus ending Armenian control over the region which had lasted two decades. Syria prospered under Roman rule, being strategically located on the silk road, which gave it massive wealth and importance, making it the battleground for the rivaling Romans and Persians.

     
    Roman Theatre at Bosra in the province of Arabia, present-day Syria
     
    Temple of Jupiter, Damascus

    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. Eventually, in the late 3rd century AD, the Palmyrene king Odaenathus defeated the Persian emperor Shapur I and controlled the entirety of the Roman East while his successor and widow Zenobia established the Palmyrene Empire, which briefly conquered Egypt, Syria, Palestine, much of Asia Minor, Judah and Lebanon, before being finally brought under Roman control in 273 AD.

    The northern Mesopotamian Assyrian kingdom of Adiabene controlled areas of north east Syria between 10 AD and 117 AD, before it was conquered by Rome.[27]

    The Aramaic language has been found as far afield as Hadrian's Wall in Ancient Britain,[28] with an inscription written by a Palmyrene emigrant at the site of Fort Arbeia.[29]

    Control of Syria eventually passed from the Romans to the Byzantines, with the split in the Roman Empire.[7]

    The largely Aramaic-speaking population of Syria during the heyday of the Byzantine Empire was probably not exceeded again until the 19th century. Prior to the Arab Islamic Conquest in the 7th century AD, the bulk of the population were Arameans, but Syria was also home to Greek and Roman ruling classes, Assyrians still dwelt in the north east, Phoenicians along the coasts, and Jewish and Armenian communities were also extant in major cities, with Nabateans and pre-Islamic Arabs such as the Lakhmids and Ghassanids dwelling in the deserts of southern Syria. Syriac Christianity had taken hold as the major religion, although others still followed Judaism, Mithraism, Manicheanism, Greco-Roman Religion, Canaanite Religion and Mesopotamian Religion. Syria's large and prosperous population made Syria one of the most important of the Roman and Byzantine provinces, particularly during the 2nd and 3rd centuries (AD).[30]

     
    The ancient city of Apamea, an important commercial center and one of Syria's most prosperous cities in classical antiquity

    Syrians held considerable amounts of power during the Severan dynasty. The matriarch of the family and Empress of Rome as wife of emperor Septimius Severus was Julia Domna, a Syrian from the city of Emesa (modern day Homs), whose family held hereditary rights to the priesthood of the god El-Gabal. Her great nephews, also Arabs from Syria, would also become Roman Emperors, the first being Elagabalus and the second, his cousin Alexander Severus. Another Roman emperor who was a Syrian was Philip the Arab (Marcus Julius Philippus), who was born in Roman Arabia. He was emperor from 244 to 249,[30] and ruled briefly during the Crisis of the Third Century. During his reign, he focused on his home town of Philippopolis (modern day Shahba) and began many construction projects to improve the city, most of which were halted after his death.

    Syria is significant in the history of Christianity; Saulus of Tarsus, better known as the Apostle Paul, was converted on the Road to Damascus and emerged as a significant figure in the Christian Church at Antioch in ancient Syria, from which he left on many of his missionary journeys. (Acts 9:1–43[inappropriate external link?])

    Middle Ages

    Muhammad's first interaction with the people and tribes of Syria was during the Invasion of Dumatul Jandal in July 626[31] 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.[32]

    William Montgomery Watt claims that this was the most significant expedition Muhammad ordered at the time, even though it received little notice in the primary sources. Dumat Al-Jandal was 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. 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".[33]

    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.[31]

     
    Umayyad fresco from Qasr al-Hayr al-Gharbî, built in the early 7th century

    By AD 640, Syria was conquered by the Arab Rashidun army led by Khalid ibn al-Walid. In the mid-7th century, the Umayyad dynasty, then rulers of the empire, placed the capital of the empire in Damascus. The country's power declined during later Umayyad rule; this was mainly due to totalitarianism, corruption and the resulting revolutions. The Umayyad dynasty was then overthrown in 750 by the Abbasid dynasty, which moved the capital of empire to Baghdad.

    Arabic – made official under Umayyad rule[34] – became the dominant language, replacing Greek and Aramaic of the Byzantine era. In 887, the Egypt-based Tulunids annexed Syria from the Abbasids, and were later replaced by once the Egypt-based Ikhshidids and still later by the Hamdanids originating in Aleppo founded by Sayf al-Dawla.[35]

     
    The 1299 Battle of Wadi al-Khazandar. The Mongols under Ghazan defeated the Mamluks.

    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. The coastal mountainous region was also occupied in part by the Nizari Ismailis, the so-called Assassins, who had intermittent confrontations and truces with the Crusader States. Later in history when "the Nizaris faced renewed Frankish hostilities, they received timely assistance from the Ayyubids."[36]

    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. Aleppo fell to the Mongols of Hulegu in January 1260, and Damascus in March, but then Hulegu was forced to break off his attack to return to China to deal with a succession dispute.

    A few months later, the Mamluks arrived with an army from Egypt and defeated the Mongols in the Battle of Ain Jalut in Galilee. The Mamluk leader, Baibars, made Damascus a provincial capital. When he died, power was taken by Qalawun. In the meantime, an emir named Sunqur al-Ashqar had tried to declare himself ruler of Damascus, but he was defeated by Qalawun on 21 June 1280, and fled to northern Syria. Al-Ashqar, who had married a Mongol woman, appealed for help from the Mongols. The Mongols of the Ilkhanate took Aleppo in October 1280, 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.[37]

    In 1400, the Muslim Turco-Mongol conqueror Tamurlane invaded Syria, in which he sacked Aleppo,[38] and captured Damascus after defeating the Mamluk army. The city's inhabitants were massacred, except for the artisans, who were deported to Samarkand.[39] Tamurlane also conducted specific massacres of the Aramean and Assyrian Christian populations, greatly reducing their numbers.[40] 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.

     
    Syrian women, 1683
    Ottoman Syria

    In 1516, the Ottoman Empire invaded the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt, conquering Syria, and incorporating it into its empire. The Ottoman system was not burdensome to Syrians because the Turks respected Arabic as the language of the Quran, and accepted the mantle of defenders of the faith. Damascus was made the major entrepot for Mecca, and as such it acquired a holy character to Muslims, because of the beneficial results of the countless pilgrims who passed through on the hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca.[41]

     
    1803 Cedid Atlas, showing Ottoman Syria labelled as "Al Sham" in yellow

    Ottoman administration followed a system that led to peaceful coexistence. Each ethno-religious minority—Arab Shia Muslim, Arab Sunni Muslim, Aramean-Syriac Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Maronite Christians, Assyrian Christians, Armenians, Kurds and Jews—constituted a millet.[42] The religious heads of each community administered all personal status laws and performed certain civil functions as well.[41] In 1831, Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt renounced his loyalty to the Empire and overran Ottoman Syria, capturing Damascus. His short-term rule over the domain attempted to change the demographics and social structure of the region: he brought thousands of Egyptian villagers to populate the plains of Southern Syria, rebuilt Jaffa and settled it with veteran Egyptian soldiers aiming to turn it into a regional capital, and he crushed peasant and Druze rebellions and deported non-loyal tribesmen. By 1840, however, he had to surrender the area back to the Ottomans.

    From 1864, Tanzimat reforms were applied on Ottoman Syria, carving out the provinces (vilayets) of Aleppo, Zor, Beirut and Damascus Vilayet; Mutasarrifate of Mount Lebanon was created, as well, and soon after the Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem was given a separate status.

     
    Armenian deportees near Aleppo during the Armenian genocide, 1915

    During World War I, the Ottoman Empire entered the conflict on the side of Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It ultimately suffered defeat and loss of control of the entire Near East to the British Empire and French Empire. During the conflict, genocide against indigenous Christian peoples was carried out by the Ottomans and their allies in the form of the Armenian genocide and Assyrian genocide, of which Deir ez-Zor, in Ottoman Syria, was the final destination of these death marches.[43] In the midst of World War I, two Allied diplomats (Frenchman François Georges-Picot and Briton Mark Sykes) secretly agreed on the post-war division of the Ottoman Empire into respective zones of influence in the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916. Initially, the two territories were separated by a border that ran in an almost straight line from Jordan to Iran. However, the discovery of oil in the region of Mosul just before the end of the war led to yet another negotiation with France in 1918 to cede this region to the British zone of influence, which was to become Iraq. The fate of the intermediate province of Zor was left unclear; its occupation by Arab nationalists resulted in its attachment to Syria. This border was recognized internationally when Syria became a League of Nations mandate in 1920[44] and has not changed to date.

    French Mandate
     
    The inauguration of President Hashim al-Atassi in 1936

    In 1920, a short-lived independent Kingdom of Syria was established under Faisal I of the Hashemite family. However, his rule over Syria ended after only a few months, following the Battle of Maysalun. French troops occupied Syria later that year after the San Remo conference proposed that the League of Nations put Syria under a French mandate. General Gouraud had according to his secretary de Caix two options: "Either build a Syrian nation that does not exist... by smoothing the rifts which still divide it" or "cultivate and maintain all the phenomena, which require our arbitration that these divisions give". De Caix added "I must say only the second option interests me". This is what Gouraud did.[45][46]

    In 1925, Sultan al-Atrash led a revolt that broke out in the Druze Mountain and spread to engulf the whole of Syria and parts of Lebanon. Al-Atrash won several battles against the French, notably the Battle of al-Kafr on 21 July 1925, the Battle of al-Mazraa on 2–3 August 1925, and the battles of Salkhad, al-Musayfirah and Suwayda. France sent thousands of troops from Morocco and Senegal, leading the French to regain many cities, although resistance lasted until the spring of 1927. The French sentenced Sultan al-Atrash to death, but he had escaped with the rebels to Transjordan and was eventually pardoned. He returned to Syria in 1937 after the signing of the Syrian-French Treaty.

     
    Syrian rebels in Ghouta during the Great Syrian Revolt against French colonial rule in the 1920s

    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. However, the treaty never came into force because the French Legislature refused to ratify it. With the fall of France in 1940 during World War II, Syria came under the control of Vichy France until the British and Free French occupied the country in the Syria-Lebanon campaign in July 1941. Continuing pressure from Syrian nationalists and the British forced the French to evacuate their troops in April 1946, leaving the country in the hands of a republican government that had been formed during the mandate.[47]

    Independent Syrian Republic

    Upheaval dominated Syrian politics from independence through the late 1960s. In May 1948, Syrian forces invaded Palestine, together with other Arab states, and immediately attacked Jewish settlements.[48] Their president Shukri al-Quwwatli instructed his troops in the front, "to destroy the Zionists".[49][50] The Invasion purpose was to prevent the establishment of the State of Israel.[51] Toward this end, the Syrian government engaged in an active process of recruiting former Nazis, including several former members of the Schutzstaffel, to build up their armed forces and military intelligence capabilities.[52] 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[51] since the start of the Second World War. This was soon followed by another overthrow, by Col. Sami al-Hinnawi, who was himself quickly deposed by Col. Adib Shishakli, all within the same year.[51]

    Shishakli eventually abolished multipartyism altogether, but was himself overthrown in a 1954 coup and the parliamentary system was restored.[51] However, by this time, power was increasingly concentrated in the military and security establishment.[51] The weakness of Parliamentary institutions and the mismanagement of the economy led to unrest and the influence of Nasserism and other ideologies. There was fertile ground for various Arab nationalist, Syrian nationalist, and socialist movements, which represented disaffected elements of society. Notably included were religious minorities, who demanded radical reform.[51]

    In November 1956, as a direct result of the Suez Crisis,[53] Syria signed a pact with the Soviet Union. This gave a foothold for Communist influence within the government in exchange for military equipment.[51] Turkey then became worried about this increase in the strength of Syrian military technology, as it seemed feasible that Syria might attempt to retake İskenderun. Only heated debates in the United Nations lessened the threat of war.[54]

     
    Aleppo in 1961

    On 1 February 1958, Syrian President Shukri al-Quwatli and Egypt's Nasser announced the merging of Egypt and Syria, creating the United Arab Republic, and all Syrian political parties, as well as the communists therein, ceased overt activities.[47] Meanwhile, a group of Syrian Ba'athist officers, alarmed by the party's poor position and the increasing fragility of the union, decided to form a secret Military Committee; its initial members were Lieutenant-Colonel Muhammad Umran, Major Salah Jadid and Captain Hafez al-Assad. Syria seceded from the union with Egypt on 28 September 1961, after a coup.

    Ba'athist Syria

    The ensuing instability following the 1961 coup culminated in the 8 March 1963 Ba'athist coup. The takeover was engineered by members of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party, led by Michel Aflaq and Salah al-Din al-Bitar. The new Syrian cabinet was dominated by Ba'ath members.[47][51]

    On 23 February 1966, the Military Committee carried out an intra-party overthrow, imprisoned President Amin al-Hafiz and designated a regionalist, civilian Ba'ath government on 1 March.[51] Although Nureddin al-Atassi became the formal head of state, Salah Jadid was Syria's effective ruler from 1966 until November 1970,[55] when he was deposed by Hafez al-Assad, who at the time was Minister of Defense.[56] The coup led to a split within the original pan-Arab Ba'ath Party: one Iraqi-led ba'ath movement (ruled Iraq from 1968 to 2003) and one Syrian-led ba'ath movement was established.

    In the first half of 1967, a low-key state of war existed between Syria and Israel. Conflict over Israeli cultivation of land in the Demilitarized Zone led to 7 April pre-war aerial clashes between Israel and Syria.[57] When the Six-Day War broke out between Egypt and Israel, Syria joined the war and attacked Israel as well. In the final days of the war, Israel turned its attention to Syria, capturing two-thirds of the Golan Heights in under 48 hours.[58] The defeat caused a split between Jadid and Assad over what steps to take next.[59]

     
    Quneitra village, largely destroyed before the Israeli withdrawal in June 1974.

    Disagreement developed between Jadid, who controlled the party apparatus, and Assad, who controlled the military. The 1970 retreat of Syrian forces sent to aid the PLO during the "Black September" hostilities with Jordan reflected this disagreement.[60] 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.[56]

    On 6 October 1973, Syria and Egypt initiated the Yom Kippur War against Israel. The Israel Defense Forces reversed the initial Syrian gains and pushed deeper into Syrian territory.[61]

     
    Military situation in the Lebanese Civil War, 1983: Green – controlled by Syria

    In the late 1970s, an Islamist uprising by the Muslim Brotherhood was aimed against the government. Islamists attacked civilians and off-duty military personnel, leading security forces to also kill civilians in retaliatory strikes. The uprising had reached its climax in the 1982 Hama massacre,[62] when some 10,000 – 40,000 people were killed by regular Syrian Army troops.

    In a major shift in relations with both other Arab states and the Western world, Syria participated in the US-led Gulf War against Saddam Hussein. Syria participated in the multilateral Madrid Conference of 1991, and during the 1990s engaged in negotiations with Israel. These negotiations failed, and there have been no further direct Syrian-Israeli talks since President Hafez al-Assad's meeting with then President Bill Clinton in Geneva in March 2000.[63]

     
    Military situation in the Syrian Civil War (frequently updated map).
      Controlled by Syrian Arab Republic
      Controlled by Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (SDF)
      Controlled by Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) with military presence of Syrian Arab Republic
      Controlled by Syrian Interim Government (SNA) and Turkish Armed Forces
      Controlled by Revolutionary Commando Army and United States Armed Forces
      Controlled by the Islamic State (ISIL)
      Controlled by Syrian Salvation Government (HTS)

    (For a more detailed, interactive map, see Template:Syrian Civil War detailed map.)

    Hafez al-Assad died on 10 June 2000. His son, Bashar al-Assad, was elected president in an election in which he ran unopposed.[47] 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.[64] Instead, reforms have been limited to some market reforms.[65][66][67]

    On 5 October 2003, Israel bombed a site near Damascus, claiming it was a terrorist training facility for members of Islamic Jihad.[68] In March 2004, Syrian Kurds and Arabs clashed in the northeastern city of al-Qamishli. Signs of rioting were seen in the cities of Qamishli and Hasakeh.[69] In 2005, Syria ended its military presence in Lebanon.[70][71] 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.[72]

    Current political situation 2011 to present Syrian Civil War

    The ongoing Syrian Civil War was inspired by the Arab Spring revolutions. It began in 2011 as a chain of peaceful protests, followed by an alleged crackdown by the Syrian Army.[73] In July 2011, Army defectors declared the formation of the Free Syrian Army and began forming fighting units. The opposition is dominated by Sunni Muslims, whereas the leading government figures are generally associated with Alawites.[74] The war also involves rebel groups (IS and al-Nusra) and various foreign countries, leading to claims of a proxy war in Syria.[75]

    According to various sources, including the United Nations, up to 100,000 people had been killed by June 2013,[76][77][78] including 11,000 children.[79] To escape the violence, 4.9 million[80] Syrian refugees have fled to neighboring countries of Jordan,[81] Iraq,[82] Lebanon, and Turkey.[83][84] An estimated 450,000 Syrian Christians have fled their homes.[85][needs update] By October 2017, an estimated 400,000 people had been killed in the war according to the UN.[86]

    In September 2022, a new UN report stated that the Syrian Civil War was in danger of flaring up again. The UN also said it had been totally unable to deliver any supplies during the first half of 2022.[87]

    Current conflicts

    As of 2022, the main external military threat and conflict are firstly, an ongoing conflict with ISIS; and secondly, ongoing concerns of possible invasion of the northeast regions of Syria by Turkish forces, in order to strike Kurdish groups in general, and Rojava in particular.[88][89][90] An official report by the Rojava government noted Turkey-backed militias as the main threat to the region of Rojava and its government.[91]

    As of 2023, Turkey was continuing its support for various militias within Syria, consisting mostly of the YPG/YPJ, which periodically attempted some operations against Kurdish groups. [92][93][94] One stated goal was to create 30-kilometer (18.6-mile) wide "safe zones" along Turkey's border with Syria, according to a statement by Turkish President Erdoğan.[95] The operations were generally aimed at the Tal Rifaat and Manbij regions west of the Euphrates and other areas further east. President Erdoğan openly stated his support for the operations, in talks with Moscow in mid-2022.[96]

    In 2022, the leader of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Mazloum Abdi, said that Kurdish forces were willing to work with Syrian government forces to defend against Turkey, saying “Damascus should use its air defense systems against Turkish planes." Abdi said that Kurdish groups would be able to cooperate with the Syrian government, and still retain their autonomy.[97][98][99][100][101] In July 2022, the SDF and the official Syrian military forged active plans to coordinate actively together to create defense plans to guard against invasion by Turkey.[102] The SDF said that they felt that the main threat to Kurdish groups was an invasion by Turkey.[103]

    As of 2023, active fighting in the conflict between the Syrian government and rebel groups had mostly subsided, but there were occasional flareups in Northwestern Syria. [104] [105] In early 2023, reports indicated that the forces of ISIS in Syria had mostly been defeated, with only a few cells remaining in various remote locations. [106] [107] [108]

    Major economic crisis

    On 10 June 2020, 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 previous week.[109]

    On 11 June, Prime Minister Imad Khamis was dismissed by President Bashar al-Assad, amid anti-government protests over deteriorating economic conditions.[110] 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.[111][112][113]

    Analysts noted that a resolution to the current banking crisis in Lebanon might be crucial to restoring stability in Syria.[114]

    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.[115][116][117] Russia continued to expand its influence and military role in the areas of Syria where the main military conflict was occurring.[118]

    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.[119]

    The first new sanctions took effect on 17 June. There will be additional sanctions implemented in August, in three different groups. 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.[120]

    As of early 2022, Syria was still facing a major economic crisis due to sanctions and other economic pressures. there was some doubt of the Syrian government's ability to pay for subsisides for the population and for basic services and programs.[121][122][123] The UN reported there were massive problems looming for Syria's ability to feed its population in the near future.[124]

    In one possibly positive sign for the well-being of Syria's population, several Arab countries began an effort to normalize relations with Syria, and to conclude a deal to provide energy supplies to Syria. This effort was led by Jordan, and included several other Arab countries.[125]

    ^ Pettinato, Giovanni. The Archives of Ebla; Gelb, I. J. "Thoughts about Ibla: A Preliminary Evaluation" in Monographic Journals of the Near East, Syro-Mesopotamian Studies 1/1 (May 1977) pp. 3–30. ^ William J. Hamblin (2006). Warfare in the Ancient Near East to 1600 BC: Holy Warriors at the Dawn of History. Routledge. p. 239. ISBN 978-1-134-52062-6. ^ Ian Shaw; Robert Jameson (2008). A Dictionary of Archaeology. John Wiley & Sons. p. 211. ISBN 978-0-470-75196-1. ^ Ross Burns (2009). Monuments of Syria: A Guide. I.B.Tauris. p. 155. ISBN 978-0-85771-489-3. ^ Paolo Matthiae; Nicoló Marchetti (31 May 2013). Ebla and its Landscape: Early State Formation in the Ancient Near East. Left Coast Press. p. 35. ISBN 978-1-61132-228-6. ^ Victor Harold Matthews; Don C. Benjamin (1997). Old Testament Parallels: Laws and Stories from the Ancient Near East. Paulist Press. p. 241. ISBN 978-0-8091-3731-2. ^ a b "About the Ancient Area of Greater Syria". ThoughtCo. Retrieved 19 January 2023. ^ Kenneth Anderson Kitchen (2003). On the Reliability of the Old Testament. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 285. ISBN 978-0-8028-4960-1. ^ Stephen C. Neff (2014). Justice among Nations. Harvard University Press. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-674-72654-3. ^ "The Aramaic Language and Its Classification" (PDF). Journal of Assyrian Academic Studies. 14 (1). ^ Trevor Bryce (2014). Ancient Syria: A Three Thousand Year History. OUP Oxford. p. 16. ISBN 978-0-19-100292-2. ^ Cyrus Herzl Gordon; Gary Rendsburg; Nathan H. Winter (1990). Eblaitica: Essays on the Ebla Archives and Eblaite Language, Volume 4. p. 68. ISBN 978-1-57506-060-6. ^ John F. Healey (1990). The Early Alphabet. University of California Press. p. 22. ISBN 978-0-520-07309-8. ^ a b Stephanie Dalley (2002). Mari and Karana: Two Old Babylonian Cities. p. 44. ISBN 978-1-931956-02-4. ^ Nadav Naʼaman (2005). Canaan in the Second Millennium B.C.E. Eisenbrauns. p. 285. ISBN 978-1-57506-113-9. ^ Iorwerth Eiddon Stephen Edwards (1973). The Cambridge Ancient History. Cambridge University Press. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-521-08230-3. ^ William J. Hamblin (2006). Warfare in the Ancient Near East to 1600 BC. Routledge. p. 259. ISBN 978-1-134-52062-6. ^ Jack M. Sasson (1969). The Military Establishments at Mari. p. 2+3. ^ Relations between God and Man in the Hurro-Hittite Song of Release, Mary R. Bachvarova, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Jan–Mar SAAD 2005 ^ "The foreigners of the fourth register, with long hairstyles and calf-length fringed robes, are labeled Chiefs of Retjenu, the ancient name tor the Syrian region. Like the Nubians, they come with animals, in this case horses, an elephant, and a bear; they also offer weapons and vessels most likely filled with precious substance." in Hawass, Zahi A.; Vannini, Sandro (2009). The lost tombs of Thebes: life in paradise. Thames & Hudson. p. 120. ISBN 9780500051597. ^ Zakrzewski, Sonia; Shortland, Andrew; Rowland, Joanne (2015). Science in the Study of Ancient Egypt. Routledge. p. 268. ISBN 978-1-317-39195-1. ^ John Lange (2006). The Philosophy of Historiography. Open Road Integrated Media, Incorporated. p. 475. ISBN 978-1-61756-132-0. ^ Immanuel Velikovsky (2010). Ramses II and His Time. p. 23. ISBN 978-1-906833-74-9. ^ Douglas Frayne (1981). Ugarit in Retrospect. p. 23,24,25. ISBN 978-0-931464-07-2. ^ Georges Roux, Ancient Iraq, 3rd ed., Penguin Books, London, 1991, p.381 ^ Rollinger, Robert (2006). "The terms "Assyria" and "Syria" again"". Journal of Near Eastern Studies. 65 (4): 284–287. doi:10.1086/511103. S2CID 162760021. ^ Hist. xviii., vii. 1 ^ Charlotte Higgins (13 October 2009). "When Syrians, Algerians and Iraqis patrolled Hadrian's Wall". The Guardian. ^ Palmyra: Mirage in the Desert, Joan Aruz, 2018, page 78. ^ a b Cavendish Corporation, Marshall (2006). World and Its Peoples. Marshall Cavendish. p. 183. ISBN 978-0-7614-7571-2. ^ a b Muir, William (1861), The life of Mahomet, Smith, Elder & Co, pp. 225–226 ^ "Military Platoons and Missions between the Battle of Uhud and the Battle of the Confederates". 23 June 2011. pp. 193–194. Archived from the original on 23 June 2011. Retrieved 19 January 2023. ^ Montgomery Watt W. (1956). Muhammad At Medina. Osmania University, Digital Library Of India. Oxford At The Clarendon Press. p. 35. This expedition receives scant notice in the sources, but in some ways it is the most significant so far. As Dumah was some 800 km (500 mi) from Medina there can have been no immediate threat to Muhammad, but it may be, as Caetani suggests, 1 that communications with Syria were being interrupted and supplies to Medina stopped. It is tempting to suppose that was already envisaging something of the expansion which took place after his death. ^ "The Art of the Umayyad Period (661–750)". Met Museum. ^ "Syria: History". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 25 January 2013. ^ Farhad Daftary. A Short History of the Ismailis. 1998, Edinburg, UK. Edinburg University Press. Page 146. ^ Timeframe AD 1200–1300: The Mongol Conquests. Time-Life Books. 1989. pp. 59–75. ISBN 978-0-8094-6437-1. ^ "Battle of Aleppo". Everything2.com. 22 February 2003. Retrieved 25 January 2013. ^ "The Eastern Mediterranean, 1400–1600 A.D". Metmuseum.org. Archived from the original on 28 April 2009. Retrieved 23 April 2011. ^ "Is This the End of Christianity in the Middle East?". The New York Times. 22 July 2015. ^ a b "Syria – Ottoman". Library of Congress Country Studies. Retrieved 25 January 2013.Public Domain  This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain. ^ a b Stanford J. Shaw, "Dynamics of Ottoman Society and administration", in "History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey" ^ Pouring a People into the Desert:The "Definitive Solution" of the Unionists to the Armenian Question, Fuat Dundar, A Question of Genocide, ed. Ronald Grigor Suny, Fatma Muge Gocek and Norman M. Naimark, (Oxford University Press, 2011), 280–281. ^ "Mandat Syrie-Liban" (PDF) (in French). Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 June 2008. Retrieved 25 January 2013. ^ James Barr (2011). a line in the sand. Britain, France and the struggle that shaped the Middle East. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1-84737-453-0. ^ Peter N. Stearns; William Leonard Langer (2001). "The Middle East, p. 761". The Encyclopedia of World History. Houghton Mifflin Books. ISBN 978-0-395-65237-4. ^ a b c d "Background Note: Syria". United States Department of State, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, May 2007.Public Domain  This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain. ^ Gelber,2006, pp. 138 ^ Morris,2008, pp. 253, 254 ^ Tal,2004, pp. 251 ^ a b c d e f g h i "Syria: World War II and independence". Britannica Online Encyclopedia. ^ Chen, Chern (8 August 2018). "Former Nazi Officers in the Near East: German Military Advisors in Syria, 1949–56". The International History Review. 40 (4): 732–751. doi:10.1080/07075332.2017.1367705. ISSN 0707-5332. S2CID 158837784. ^ Robson, John (10 February 2012). "Syria hasn't changed, but the world has". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 25 January 2013. ^ Brecher, Michael; Jonathan Wilkenfeld (1997). A Study of Crisis. University of Michigan Press. pp. 345–346. ISBN 978-0-472-10806-0. ^ "Salah Jadid, 63, Leader of Syria Deposed and Imprisoned by Assad". The New York Times. 24 August 1993. ^ a b Seale, Patrick (1988). Asad: The Struggle for the Middle East. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-06976-3. ^ Mark A. Tessler (1994). A History of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Indiana University Press. p. 382. ISBN 978-0-253-20873-6. ^ "A Campaign for the Books". Time. 1 September 1967. Archived from the original on 15 December 2008. ^ Line Khatib (23 May 2012). Islamic Revivalism in Syria: The Rise and Fall of Ba'thist Secularism. Routledge. p. 34. ISBN 978-0-415-78203-6. ^ "Jordan asked Nixon to attack Syria, declassified papers show". CNN. 28 November 2007. Retrieved 25 October 2008. ^ Rabinovich, Abraham (2005). The Yom Kippur War: The Epic Encounter That Transformed the Middle East. New York City: Schocken Books. p. 302. ISBN 978-0-8052-4176-1. ^ Itzchak Weismann. "Sufism and Sufi Brotherhoods in Syria and Palestine". University of Oklahoma. Retrieved 30 January 2013. ^ Marc Perelman (11 July 2003). "Syria Makes Overture Over Negotiations". Forward.com. Retrieved 25 October 2008. ^ George, Alan (2003). Syria: neither bread nor freedom. London: Zed Books. pp. 56–58. ISBN 978-1-84277-213-3. ^ Cite error: The named reference The Sturdy House That Assad Built was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ Ghadry, Farid N. (Winter 2005). "Syrian Reform: What Lies Beneath". The Middle East Quarterly. ^ "Profile: Syria's Bashar al-Assad". BBC News. Retrieved 25 October 2008. ^ Huggler, Justin (6 October 2003). "Israel launches strikes on Syria in retaliation for bomb attack". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 15 May 2011. Retrieved 23 October 2008. ^ "Naharnet Newsdesk – Syria Curbs Kurdish Riots for a Merger with Iraq's Kurdistan". Naharnet.com. Retrieved 25 October 2008. ^ Guerin, Orla (6 March 2005). "Syria sidesteps Lebanon demands". BBC News. Retrieved 28 April 2010. ^ "Last Syrian troops out of Lebanon". Los Angeles Times. 27 April 2005. Retrieved 17 March 2020. ^ Sanger, David (14 October 2007). "Israel Struck Syrian Nuclear Project, Analysts Say". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 October 2007. ^ "Syrian army tanks 'moving towards Hama'". BBC News. 10 May 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2015. ^ Sengupta, Kim (20 February 2012). "Syria's sectarian war goes international as foreign fighters and arms pour into country". The Independent. Antakya. Archived from the original on 26 May 2022. Retrieved 22 February 2012. ^ Germany, SPIEGEL ONLINE, Hamburg (11 October 2016). "Battle for Aleppo: How Syria Became the New Global War". Der Spiegel. Archived from the original on 5 April 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2017. Syria has become a proxy war between the US and Russia
    O'Connor, Tom (31 March 2017). "Iran's military leader tells U.S. to get out of Persian Gulf". Newsweek. Archived from the original on 5 April 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2017. The Gulf Arab faction, especially Saudi Arabia, has been engaged in a proxy war of regional influence with Iran
    ^ "Syria deaths near 100,000, says U.N. – and 6,000 are children". The Guardian. 13 June 2013. ^ Carsten, Paul (15 March 2012). "Syria: Bodies of 23 'extreme torture' victims found in Idlib as thousands rally for Assad". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 25 January 2013. ^ "Arab League delegates head to Syria over 'bloodbath'. USA Today. (22 December 2011). Retrieved 26 June 2012". USA Today. 22 December 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2013. ^ "Syria conflict: Children 'targeted by snipers'". BBC News. 24 November 2013. Retrieved 19 January 2023. ^ "United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)". UNHCR Global Trends 2015. United Nations. Retrieved 15 September 2016. ^ "Syria: Refugees brace for more bloodshed". News24.com. 12 March 2012. Retrieved 25 January 2013. ^ Lara Jakes And Yahya Barzanji (14 March 2012). "Syrian Kurds get cold reception from Iraqi Kurds". Yahoo! News. Retrieved 30 January 2013. ^ "Syria crisis: number of refugees tops 1.5 million, says UN". The Guardian. 16 May 2013. ^ Syria Regional Refugee Response – Demographic Data of Registered Population Archived 19 February 2018 at the Wayback Machine. UNHCR. ^ Algemeiner, The. "Syrian Civil War Causes One-Third of Country's Christians to Flee Their Homes". Algemeiner.com. Retrieved 19 January 2023. ^ "Syrian Civil War Fast Facts". CNN. 27 August 2013. ^ "Syria may 'return to larger-scale fighting,' UN warns in new report". Arab News. 14 September 2022. Retrieved 19 January 2023. ^ Court, Mireille; Hond, Chris Den (18 February 2020). "Is This the End of Rojava?". ISSN 0027-8378. Retrieved 19 January 2023. ^ Letters (1 November 2019). "We stand in solidarity with Rojava, an example to the world | Letter". the Guardian. Retrieved 19 January 2023. ^ "Statement regarding Syrian Democratic Forces security operation in al-Hol camp". U.S. Central Command. Retrieved 19 January 2023. ^ "The Syrian National Army: The Turkish Proxy Militias of Northern Syria – Rojava Information Center". rojavainformationcenter.com. Retrieved 19 January 2023. ^ Operation Claw-Sword Exposes Blind Spots in the US’ NE Syria Strategyby Caroline Rose, Aram Shabanian, Calvin Wilder, March 7, 2023, website of new Lines Institute. ^ "Turkey planned Syria military operation after Russia withdrawal, sources reveal". Middle East Monitor. 5 June 2022. Retrieved 8 June 2022. ^ "Syria: US-backed SDF 'open' to working with Syrian troops to fight off Turkey invasion". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 8 June 2022. ^ Agencies (7 June 2022). "Russian, regime forces boosted after Turkey signals Syria operation". Daily Sabah. Retrieved 8 June 2022. ^ "President Erdoğan reiterates determination for Syria operation – Türkiye News". Hürriyet Daily News. Retrieved 9 August 2022. ^ US-Backed Kurdish-Led Forces Say Ready to Coordinate With Syrian Army Against Turkey, Reuters, via VOA website, By Maya Gebeily, June 5, 2022. ^ Syria 'should use air defences' against Turkish invasion, The National, June 6, 2022. ^ These Kurdish-Led Forces Cannot Count On Syrian Air Defenses To Protect Them Against The Turkish Air Force, Paul Iddon, Jun 20, 2022. ^ Kurdish, Syrian, Iranian forces coordinate ahead of Turkish operation:Kurdish units and Iranian-affiliated factions in Syria have formed a joint operations room under Russian supervision to counter a possible Turkish military operation in northern Syria., by Mohammed Hardan, June 17, 2022. al-monitor.com ^ US-backed Syrian Kurds to turn to Damascus if Turkey attacks. The U.S.-backed and Kurdish-led forces in northern Syria say they will turn to the government in Damascus for support should Turkey go ahead with its threat to launch a new incursion into the war-torn country. By BASSEM MROUE Associated Press, June 7, 2022. ^ SDF, Syrian Regime Agree on Defense Plan to Repel Turkish Attack, Wednesday, by Qamishli – Kamal Sheikho, 6 July 2022. ^ DISPATCH FROM SYRIA: DEMOCRATIC FORCES PREPARE FOR TURKISH INVASION:The regional government in north and east Syria declares a state of emergency as Turkey threatens invasion. Troops on the front say they’re ready for war., by Michael R. Shea, July 8, 2022. ^ Twelve years on from the beginning of Syria’s war By Al Jazeera Staff ,15 Mar 2023. ^ https://news.un.org/en/story/2023/01/1132837 Security Council: 12 years of war, leaves 70 per cent of Syrians needing aid], 25 January 2023, UN official website. ^ Sixteenth report of the Secretary-General on the threat posed by ISIL (Da’esh) to international peace and security and the range of United Nations efforts in support of Member States in countering the threat, UN official website, February 2023. ^ CENTCOM – YEAR IN REVIEW 2022: THE FIGHT AGAINST ISIS,USCENTCOM, offcial website of US Army Central Command,Dec. 29, 2022. ^ Ex-Islamic State fighters still pose a risk in Turkey, finds report, By Joshua Askew, March 1, 2023. ^ Al-Khalidi, Suleiman (10 June 2020). "Protests hit Druze city in Syria for fourth day". Reuters. ^ "Syria war: Assad sacks PM as economic crisis sparks protests". BBC News. 11 June 2020. ^ "Syrian pound hits record low ahead of new U.S. sanctions: dealers". Reuters. 8 June 2020. Retrieved 19 January 2023. ^ "Syrian currency collapse throws country into uncertainty". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. Retrieved 19 January 2023. ^ "Syrian currency loses more value as sanctions hit". www.rudaw.net. Retrieved 19 January 2023. ^ Goodridge, Hugo (4 June 2020). "Charting the dramatic collapse of Syria's national currency". Retrieved 19 January 2023. ^ Lister, Charles. "Is Assad About to Fall?". POLITICO. Retrieved 19 January 2023. ^ Browne, Gareth (8 June 2020). "Assad faces backlash in Syria as economy crashes". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 19 January 2023. ^ McLoughlin, Paul (7 June 2020). "Syria Insight: Syria's collapsing economy threatens Assad's rule". Retrieved 19 January 2023. ^ Iddon, Paul (9 June 2020). "Russia's expanding military footprint in the Middle East". Retrieved 19 January 2023. ^ Chulov, Martin (12 June 2020). "US 'Caesar Act' sanctions could devastate Syria's flatlining economy. Critics say legislation is being used for US strategy and could cause further problems for country and wider region". The Guardian. ^ "Syria Economic Meltdown Presents New Challenge for Assad". VOA. Retrieved 19 January 2023. ^ "Syria approves $5.3bn budget for 2022 as economic crisis hits finances". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 19 January 2023. ^ "2022 Look Ahead: No end to suffering in sight for war-weary Syrians". Arab News. 1 January 2022. Retrieved 19 January 2023. ^ "The future looks grim for beleaguered Syrians". Arab News. 4 January 2022. Retrieved 19 January 2023. ^ Ula, enab10 (30 December 2021). "Syria's wheat crisis foreshadows a famine". Enab Baladi. Retrieved 19 January 2023. ^ RA, enab07 (30 November 2021). "US, Russia and Israel support energy supply despite Caesar Act". Enab Baladi. Retrieved 19 January 2023.
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Stay safe
  • Stay safe
    Travel Warning  WARNING: Syria has been a war zone for the last decade. Until the civil war ends, and probably for some time after that, Syria is not a place to travel to voluntarily — and you will probably not be able to just buy a ticket there anyway. If you're going there on official business, your employer will most likely take care of your transportation and safety and provide up to date information about the places you'll be going to. You may find our war zone safety article useful, though. The below information concerning safety may or may not apply any longer. (Information last updated 24 Mar 2018)

    Travellers should avoid all large gatherings as they may turn violent. Foreign travellers have been targeted by political groups, especially in the south of the country.

    ...Read more
    Stay safe
    Travel Warning  WARNING: Syria has been a war zone for the last decade. Until the civil war ends, and probably for some time after that, Syria is not a place to travel to voluntarily — and you will probably not be able to just buy a ticket there anyway. If you're going there on official business, your employer will most likely take care of your transportation and safety and provide up to date information about the places you'll be going to. You may find our war zone safety article useful, though. The below information concerning safety may or may not apply any longer. (Information last updated 24 Mar 2018)

    Travellers should avoid all large gatherings as they may turn violent. Foreign travellers have been targeted by political groups, especially in the south of the country.

    You could find yourself in trouble if you engage in open criticism of and against the Syrian government or the president. Your best bet is to avoid political conversations altogether just to avoid any possible problems. If you do engage in political discussions with Syrians, be aware that they might face intense questioning by the secret police (mukhabarat) if you are overheard. As a general rule, always assume that you are being watched by plain clothes policemen. You will notice that not many uniformed policemen can be seen in the streets, but this is because the police have a wide network of plain clothes officers and informants.

    Since begging is common in some parts of Syria, particularly outside of tourist attractions, mosques, and churches, it has been known that beggars occasionally demand money and may follow you around until you give. Some have even been known to "attack" some tourists just for money and food. It is advised to wear appropriate Arab clothing and try to blend in. It also better to keep your money in your front pockets and safe with you. Many scams by beggars have also led many foreign tourists to lose quite a bit of money; be aware of these scams.

    Drugs

    Death penalty for drug trafficking or cultivation.

    Women

    Women travelling alone may find that they draw a little too much attention from Syrian men. However, this is generally limited to stares or feeble attempts at making conversation. If it goes beyond that the best approach is to remain polite but be clear that approaches are unwelcome. Be loud and involve bystanders as they will often be very chivalrous and helpful.

    Women who are arrested under suspicion of immoral behaviour (e.g. being alone in a room with a man who is not the woman’s husband, or being in a residence where drugs or alcohol are being consumed) may be subjected to a virginity test.

    Homosexuality

    Homosexual conduct is illegal under Syrian law, which is punishable by up to three years of imprisonment.

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