The Country & People of Syria
Special Arab Files
This page contains links to sites in Syria and Syria related sites.
For Middle East, North Africa, Arab and regional information visit Arab Countries
Syria, officially Syrian Arab Republic, republic (1995 est. pop. 15,452,000), 71,467 sq mi (185,100 sq km), SW Asia, bordered by Israel, Lebanon, and the Mediterranean Sea (W), Turkey (N), Iraq (E), and Jordan (S). Principal cities include Damascus (the capital) and Aleppo. Most of Syria is occupied by the Syrian Desert, which is crossed by the Euphrates R. In the west are the Anti-Lebanon Mts., including Mt. Hermon (9,232 ft/2,814 m), Syria's highest point; in the southwest the fertile plain of Hawran extends from the Jabal al-Duruz Mts. to the Sea of Galilee. Major crops include wheat, fruit and vegetables, barley, sugar beets, cotton, and tobacco; poultry, cattle, and sheep are raised. The state plays a major role in the economy, and a large-scale industrialization program begun in the early 1960s has diversified the formerly agricultural economy. Petroleum production provides the leading export. Refined petroleum, textiles, processed foods, chemicals, and precision-engineered products are the chief manufactures. The Euphrates Dam supplies most of the nation's electric power. Most Syrians are Arabic-speaking Muslims, mainly Sunnite with significant Alawite and Druze minorities; there are also Kurds, Armenians, and Circassians. About 10% of the people are Christian, mainly Orthodox. Arabic is the official language.
Situated on trade and military routes between the Mediterranean and Mesopotamia, Syria (which historically included all of modern Syria and Lebanon, and parts of Israel, Jordan, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia) has always been an object of foreign conquest.
Settled (2100 BC) by the Amorites, a Semitic people from the Arabian peninsula, it fell to the Hittites (15th–13th cent BC), the Assyrians and Babylonians (11th–6th cent. BC), the Persians (6th–4th cent. BC), and the Greeks (333 BC).
Syria was Hellenized by the Seleucids and had fallen to Rome by 63 BC After a period of Byzantine rule (5th–7th cent. AD) Syria was conquered (633–40) by Muslim Arabs. Most Syrians converted to Islam, and Damascus, as the usual capital of the Umayyad caliph (661–750), became the center of the Islamic world. The area was later ruled by the Seljuk Turks, the Mongols, Saladin, and the Mamluks. Christians also came to Syria on the Crusades (11th–14th cent.).
It was part of the Ottoman Empire from 1516 until the end of World War I, and in 1920 France received a League of Nations mandate over the Levant States (roughly modern Syria and Lebanon).
During World War II Free French forces granted (1944) independence to Syria, but French troops did not leave until 1946. Syria joined with Egypt in the United Arab Republic in 1958, but withdrew in 1961. Independent Syria has been characterized by economic growth, political instability, and hostility toward Israel. In 1981 Israel exacerbated the situation by annexing the Golan Heights, captured from Syria in the Six-Day War (1967).
Syrian troops entered Lebanon in 1976, ostensibly to quell civil strife, and they continue to maintain a presence in that country.
During the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, Syria suffered severe losses in combat with Israeli forces. The ruling Ba'ath party, which came to power in a 1963 coup, maintains a policy of socialism and Arab nationalism.
In the 1980s Syria experienced internal unrest, moved closer to the USSR, espoused hard-line Arab positions, and was linked to international terrorists. By 1990, however, the country was trying to improve relations with Western nations.
In 1991 Syria contributed 20,000 soldiers to the international coalition forces in the Persian Gulf War and in the same year it participated in initial peace talks with Israel. Although talks broke off in 1996, Syria appeared more willing to reopen negotiations following the installation of a Labor government in Israel in 1999.
Talks resumed in Dec. 1999, but after secret details concerning Syrian concessions were published (Jan. 2000) in Israel, Syria took a harder line and talks stalled.
After Assad died suddenly in June 2000, his son, Bashar al-Assad, who had been groomed to succeed his father since 1994, became president. The son was regarded as an advocate of a free-market economy and political change, but movement toward both has proceeded slowly and has at times been reversed or hindered. Syria strongly opposed the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq and was accused by U.S. government officials of supplying aid to Iraq and helping Iraqi officials to escape from U.S. forces. A new cabinet with a mandate to push reforms forward was appointed in Sept., 2003.
In October, Israel struck at what it called a terrorist training base in Syria in retaliation for suicide-bombing attacks in Israel; it was the first Israeli strike against Syrian territory in 20 years.
Simmering grievances among the nation’s Kurds erupted into rare antigovernment protests in NE Syria in Mar., 2004. In August and September Syria blatantly forced Lebanon to extend President Lahoud’s term, an act that was denounced by the UN Security Council.
The Feb., 2005, assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, who had opposed Syrian interference in Lebanon, led to anti-Syrian demonstrations in Lebanon and increased international pressure on Syria. Syria subsequently agreed to withdraw from Lebanon, and by the end of Apr., 2005, the withdrawal was completed.
A UN investigation into Hariri’s killing implicated senior Syrian and Lebanese officials, but Syria refused to allow UN investigators to interview high-ranking Syrian officials, leading the Security Council to call unanimously for Syria to cooperate. A former Syrian vice president, Abdul Halim Khaddam, stated (Dec., 2005) that Syria had threatened Hariri and asserted that the assassination could not have happened without the support of high-ranking Syrian officials. (Khaddam, residing in Paris, also called for Assad to be removed from office.)
Assad was reelected in May, 2007, by referendum (he was the only candidate). In Sept., 2007, the Israeli air force attacked a military site in N Syria that may have been a nuclear facility under construction. International Atomic Energy Agency reports (2008, 2009) said that evidence indicated that the facility could have been a nuclear reactor, and called on Syria to cooperate, but Syria said the installation was a missile facilty. In June, 2009, the IAEA said it had found traces of processed uranium at another site.
An Arab League summit held in Syria in Mar., 2008, was attended by only half the Arab heads of state, as many sent lower-ranking officials as a protest against Syria's backing of Hezbollah and its allies in Lebanon. In Oct., 2008, U.S. forces launched a raid into Syria from Iraq in which U.S. sources claimed a key figure in the Iraq insurgency was killed; Syria denounced the attack, saying only civilians were killed, and mounted demonstrations against the attack
Copyright (c) 2003 Columbia University Press.
Used by permission of Columbia University Press.
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General Information Also see Travel
- All Referer Earth & environment, history, literature & arts, people, places, plants & animals, religion, science & technology, sports & everyday life....
- AME Info Geography, people, government, economy, communication, transportation
- ArabInfo Overview, government, history, links
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- Atlapedia Geography, climate, people, demography, religion, education, modern history, currency, other information....
- BBC Country Profile Key facts, figures and dates
- Britannica.Com Country info, land, people, economy, society, government, history, culture, maps, statistics, links....
- Cafe-Syria Complete guide on the Country of Syria
- CIA World Factbook Map, geography, people, government, economy, communications, transportation, military, issues
- Cradle of Civilizations Encyclopedia Americana, Syria, Damascus, land & natural resources, people, economy, history, government....
- Country Reports Economy, defense, geography, government, people, anthem, map, news, weather, links....
- Damascus Online + Everything Syrian! Damascus, photo gallery, encyclopedia, Syrian history, proverbs....
- Encarta OnLine Info, land & resources, population, economy, government, history, other related items, links....
- Encyclopaedia of the Orient Geography, politics, economy, health, education, religion, people, history, anthem, cities....
- Expedia Almanac, fast facts, communications, on business, health & safety, transportation, traveler's directory
- Hello Syria News, events, history, arts and traditions, tourism, attractions and general daily life
- Info Please General info, map, geography, government, history, land & people....
- MidEast.Com Damascus, Aleppo, Latkaia, Palmyra, Homs, Hama, Zabadani, Bosra, Banyas, Tartus, Arwad....
- Syria - OnLine News, business, technology, culture, education, tourism, shopping, government, entertainment
- Qamishly.Com People & Culture, songs of different ethnic groups, news....
- Syria Today Government, history, politics, investment, industry, geography, trade....
- Nation By Nation Info, government, human rights, news, geography, history, people, links....
- US Library of Congress Everything you ever wanted to know about Syria....
- World66 General info, cities, history, people, economy, getting around, getting there, links....
Cities, Towns, Municipalities & Places
- Aleppo The rehabilitation of Old Aleppo - Media, overview, details....
- Hama Everything about it.....
- Marmarita Pictures, community, live radio, carnival....
- Swaida History, Swaida & Shaba museums, towns & places, photos, web directory, Syria info....
- Zaidal + A village located eastern to Homs
- World Heritage Cities +
Ancient City of Aleppo - Inside Aleppo's seven gates is an urban grid of Hellenistic inspiration
- World Heritage Cities +
Ancient City of Bosra - Monuments of volcanic stone, constructed over a period of two millennia
- World Heritage Cities +
Ancient City of Damascus - Covered markets, caravan enclosures, palaces, minarets and cupolas
- World Monuments Endangered sites: The Citadel of Aleppo
- World Monuments Endangered sites: Damascus Old City & Saddle Souk
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- World Paper Money Paper currency since 1963
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Business and Economy
General, Economy, Reports & Statistics
- Arab Development Center Providing information regarding the Syrian market.
- Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Fact sheet (pdf) & travel information....
- Bilateral Relations with Japan Diplomatic, investment, economic cooperation, residents....
- Damascus Chamber Of Industry Industrial environment, investment, job & opportunities....
- Federationof Syrian Chambers of Commerce Looks after commercial , economic and trade activities
- MBendi Business information, news, industries, events
- Muslim Trade Network Trade reference directory and guide....
- Ports Focus Ports, harbours, marinas....
- Syria and the IMF Position in the fund, reports....
- Syria Report + Business, economy, finance nes. (Need to subscribe)
- Syrian Economic Society + Society board & members, conferences, archives....
- US Department of Energy Analysis, information, oil, natural gas, coal, electricity....
- US Department of State Country commercial guide 2001 (pdf)
- World Bank Overview, news & events, data & statistics, publications & reports, development topics, projects & programs, Public Information Center
Directories, Job Opportunities
- Dalylak + Directory sorted in alphabetical order and catagories, directory of Arab newspapers....
- Elite + Human resources consultations....
- Made in Syria Conducting business within Syria. A directory of Syrian-owned companies worldwide.
- Syria Mart Commercial & industrial business directory, country & tourist info, economy, cultural & sport news....
- Syria Noble + Business, arts and tourism directories, news, important websites....
- Visit Syria + Companies' websites, business & business guide
- Future Corp. Provides Syrian Manpower
Investment & Promotion....
- AL Salam International Conferences and Exhibitions. Organizing economic events and foreign exhibitions that aim to increase the Syrian exports
- Al Yaman Fairs Exhibitions organizers
- Atassi for Exhibitions & Marketing Exhibitions organizers
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General Resources, Heritage....
- Al-Mashriq - The Levant Cultural riches & gateway
- Fannanin Syrian arts & artists in the fields of theatre, cinema,TV, song, music and all supporting disciplines
Art, Literature, Photography, Cinema....
- Assad Dawwara Author of short stories. Window on Arabic and international works from other writers....
- Hasan Yousef + Author, journalist - Short stories, TV, theater, cinema, pictures of Syria....
- Mahmoud Hesso Painter. True internal visions emerging from the splendor of humanistic poetic agricultural society
- Sahar Al-Jajeh Painter. Oil colours in different styles among them realism, impressionism, expressionism and abstract
- Syria Art Paintings, graphics, photography, sculptures. Artists and their work
- Images of Syria Ancient cities, mosque-rich cities, dead cities and fortresses....
- Robert Bremec Syria Photo Diary - Cities & places
- Travel Photos Aleppo - Hama - Al-Bara - Serjilla - Apamea - Ugarit - Qala'at Marqab - Krak des Chevaliers - Palmyra - Damascus
- Arab Film Distribution - Syria Features a wide range of narrative films, documentaries, visual essays and ethnographic films
- Internet Movie Database Movie & TV reports
Music, Song & Dance....
- Husain Sabsaby Oud player. Music in images, about the oud....
Cultural, Scientific, Environmental, Sporting Entities & Info
- La Syrie + An initiative of the French- Syrian friendship group of the French Senate
- Animal Info Threatened species, environmental and social data
- AquaStat Information on quantity and quality of freshwater and its availability
- BirdLife To determine the priorities for bird conservation in the region
- Syrian Soccer Results, photo gallery, clubs, players....
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- Arab European University An institution of higher education and academic research
- WorldWide Classroom University & adult education, K12 & teen....
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- Higher Institute for Applied Science and Technology
- Higher Institute of Business Administration- HIBA + Stress the theoretical as well as the practical aspects of Management
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Ancient & Modern....
- Assad.Org A tribute to the late president and a welcome to the new president
- BBC Timeline A chronology of key events
- Golan This web site is designed to explain how the occupied Golan is a part of the Syrian Homeland, seized by Israel
- Political Geography Land and people, economy, history....
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Human Rights, Politics & Political Parties....
- Amnesty International +
News, reports, urgent action. Latest annual report....
- Human Rights Watch + Human rights developments & report
- Syrian Human Rights Committee + Dedicated to defending human rights and a civil society in Syria
- US Department of State Country reports on human rights practices
- Al-Tajamoh Al-Watani Al-Dimocraty + Political statement, articles, opinions....
- Committees for the Defense of Democratic Freedom and Human Rights
- Moslem Brotherhood - Jama't Al-Ikhwan Al-Muslimeen News, forums, reports, interviews, personalities, directory....
- Syrian Social Nationalist Party + Syria is for the Syrians and the Syrians are a complete nation
Related Sites, Articles....
- Constitution Background, history & news
* Arab Countries
Visit Arab Media for satellite stations & Arab newspapers
- Al-Baath Daily newspaper
- Al-Thawra +
Daily newspaper in Damascus - includes Al-Fida, Al-Jamaheer, Al-Mawqef Al-Riyadi, Al-Orouba, Al-Wahda....
- Teshreen Daily newspaper
- Syria Times Daily newspaper
OnLine News, Newsletters, News Agencies....
- Al-Hiwar Al-Dimocraty+ Political....
- Al-Sham Online news and forums....
- Syria Daily Online news
- Syria Path Online Syrian community featuring local news, discussion forums, and chat rooms
- Syria Today Online magazine & web portal covering Syrian economic,social, developmental and cultural affairs
- Syrian Arab News Agency - SANA +
Information, news updates, news analyses, reports, press review, headlines....
- Washington Post News & references
- Yahoo full news coverage
Radio, TV, Internet....
- Syrian Radio & TV News, articles, analysis, forums....
Articles, Reports, Cartoons....
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Visit Arab Organizations for Pan-Arab, middle East, North Africa and regional organizations
Government & Organizations....
Government, Ministries, Overseas Missions, Embassies....
- Chiefs of State and Cabinet Members
- Political Leaders Dates and figures of the leadership since 1943 (with pictures)
- The Presidency Bashar Al-Assad, biography, photos, speeches, news....
- Civil Affairs at the Ministry of Interior +
Services offered to the Syrian and foreign nationals in issues related to civil status, civil registration and the ownership of real estates
- Ministry of Economy and Foreign Trade + Liberalized foreign trade policy and incentives to foreign investors
- Ministry of Information + Supervises the function of the various mass communication media in the country
Corporations, Organizations, Public Hospitals and Industrial Entities
- Arab Advertising Organization + Strengthening the position of advertisement in the country and in promoting its industry
- Syrian Telecom + Syrian Internet Service Provider
Centers, Institutions, Societies....
- Studies Center for Handicapped Research- SCHR Provide for children with special needs good opportunities
- Syrian Cosmological Society News, events, activities, links....
- Syrian Orthopaedic Association +
- Norwegian Embassy Visa, Beirut, press, news....
- US Embassy US mission, consular services, latest news, US policy, journals, articles....
- British Counsil Library and information services, events, news, conferences, learn English
- United Nations - Syria UN agencies, about Syria....
- United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Focusing on human development issues....
- US Committee for Refugees Reports on conditions for refugees and internally displaced persons
- World Food Programme Fight against global hunger....
- World Health Organization Tobacco & health, socio-economic situation
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Travel & Tourism
Airlines, Air, Sea & Coach Charters Services
- Syrian Air + Fleet, safety, cargo, schedules
Travel, Tours, Guides.... More country info
- Abinos Travel & Tourism Knowledge of the country (past & present time)....
- Al-Bichr Travel Meet Syria - Guided tours through the chosen cities and the secret places of old Greek Roman time, Asuriyan times and remains of French influences
- Al-Hurriye Tours of Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. History of Syria, cities & sites, Itineraries, Jordan & Lebanon....
- Allied Tours Syria map and cities, Syria info, tours....
- Arabesk Al-Afaq Tours +
Combined tours: Syria with Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Yemen and Gulf countries
- Atlas Tours About Syria, services....
- East & West Travel & Tours + Damascus and around Syria Tours
- Hammourabi Travel & Tourism Groups and individuals tours to Syria, Lebanon, Jordan etc, general and places info....
- The Magic of Syria A popular weekly guaranteed departure program
- Nawafir Travel and Tours + Discover the wonders of Syria and the Arab world....
- Rezon Travel & Tourism + Offers a complete package tour services ....
- Souria.Com + Heritage of Syria through Travel and Tourism, Magazine and Electronic Maps
- Soufan Travel & Tourism Golf vacations and Cruises In Syria and Lebanon
- Sun Travel & Tourism Package tours In Syria, Jordan and Lebanon
- Syria Guide Amazing Syria, travel agents, hotels, restaurants, rent a car, business, art products, health clubs....
- Syria Tourism Official site of the Ministry of Tourism. Destinations, travel information and services available to the tourist
- Syria Travel Info on archaeological sites, colourful souks, outstanding restaurants, cities, shopping and other genral info
- Lonely Planet Travel information, maps, photos, background historical and cultural information
- Middle East Travel Accommodation, history, after hours, travel info, addresses, cities & sights, business....
- Travel Guide General & travel info, money, duty free, health, accommodation, visas....
- Travel Puppy Syria travel information & guide
- World Travel Guide Accommodation, addresses, business, climate, essentials, resort, social, travel
Hotels, Resorts, Inns, Hostels....
- Carrlton Hotel Overlooking the historical breathtaking scenery of Damascus
- Carlton Idleb Hotel Located within the historical sites of northern Syria
- Fardoss Tower Hotel Located at the center of Damascus
- Pullman Al Shahba Hotel Located close to downtown and historic city center of Aleppo
- Regency Park Hotel Located in Bloudan, the countryside of Damascus
- Shahin Hotel & Tower Tartous
- Venezia Hotel + Damascus - An ideal stopover for both business and leisure guests
- All Hotels Hotels, description & rates
- Syria Hotels Travel Guide Offers hotels and resorts online reservations
Health & Travel Tips
- Foreign & Commonwealth Office Travel information, country advise, latest travel updates....
- Travel Document Systems Passports, visas, travel documents
- Syria Health + Directory, journals, hospitals, news, articles
- US Consular Information Visa, health, crime/drug penalties....
- Weather Underground Temperature, humidity, pressure
- Yahoo Weather By city. Forcast, sunrise, sunset, humidity, wind, dewpoint....
* Arab Countries
Visit Arab Gateways for Arab and other country links
Gateways to Syria
- Al-Sham.Net + Directory, Syrian Cities, Chat, News, Fun & Games....
- Syria Gate Gateway, services....
- Syria Hit + Search engine, news, ads....
- Syria-Net Directories, news, info....
- Syria OnLine Directories, news, About Syria....
- Syria Port Catagorized directory, promote Syria, both technically and culturally.
- Syrians.Info Catagorized directory, search engine, news, photo gallery....
* Arab Countries
Here is a selection of books, CDs and videos that will eventually cover various subjects related to Syria.
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Created 1 November 2000. Last updated 23 February 2011
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