The Country & People of Syria
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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
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- Zaidal A village located eastern to Homs
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Ancient City of Aleppo - Inside Aleppo's seven gates is an urban grid of Hellenistic inspiration
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- Arab Development Center Providing information regarding the Syrian market.
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- Damascus Chamber Of Industry Industrial environment, investment, job & opportunities....
- Federationof Syrian Chambers of Commerce Looks after commercial , economic and trade activities
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- Dalylak Directory sorted in alphabetical order and catagories, directory of Arab newspapers....
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- 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....
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- Future Corp. Provides Syrian Manpower
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- AL Salam International Conferences and Exhibitions. Organizing economic events and foreign exhibitions that aim to increase the Syrian exports
- Al Yaman Fairs Exhibitions organizers
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- 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
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- 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
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- Husain Sabsaby Oud player. Music in images, about the oud....
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- La Syrie An initiative of the French- Syrian friendship group of the French Senate
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- BirdLife To determine the priorities for bird conservation in the region
- Syrian Soccer Results, photo gallery, clubs, players....
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- 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
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- Syrian Social Nationalist Party Syria is for the Syrians and the Syrians are a complete nation
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- Al-Baath Daily newspaper
Daily newspaper in Damascus - includes Al-Fida, Al-Jamaheer, Al-Mawqef Al-Riyadi, Al-Orouba, Al-Wahda....
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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
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- Studies Center for Handicapped Research- SCHR Provide for children with special needs good opportunities
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- 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
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- Arabesk Al-Afaq Tours
Combined tours: Syria with Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Yemen and Gulf countries
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- East & West Travel & Tours Damascus and around Syria Tours
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- 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
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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
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- Syria Hotels Travel Guide Offers hotels and resorts online reservations
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Gateways to Syria
- Al-Sham.Net Directory, Syrian Cities, Chat, News, Fun & Games....
- Syria Gate Gateway, services....
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- Syria Port Catagorized directory, promote Syria, both technically and culturally.
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