50 Facts About Syria


Syria is the only country that politically espouses the Arab nationalist ideology known as Ba'athism.

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Syria is a member of one international organization other than the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement.

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Name "Syria" historically referred to a wider region, broadly synonymous with the Levant, and known in Arabic as al-Sham.

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Syria was under Emergency Law from 1963 to 2011, effectively suspending most constitutional protections for citizens.

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Since March 2011, Syria has been embroiled in a multi-sided civil war, with a number of countries in the region and beyond involved militarily or otherwise.

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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.

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Since approximately 10, 000 BC, Syria was one of the centers of Neolithic culture, where agriculture and cattle breeding first began to appear.

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Archaeologists have demonstrated that civilization in Syria was one of the most ancient on earth, perhaps preceded by only that of Mesopotamia.

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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.

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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.

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Syria was called the Land of the Amurru by their Assyro-Babylonian neighbors.

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Lands that constitute modern day Syria were part of the Neo-Babylonian Empire and had been annexed by the Achaemenid Empire in 539 BC.

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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.

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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.

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

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Syria was emperor from 244 to 249, and ruled briefly during the Crisis of the Third Century.

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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.

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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.

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

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In 1920, a short-lived independent Kingdom of Syria was established under Faisal I of the Hashemite family.

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Syria seceded from the union with Egypt on 28 September 1961, after a coup.

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Syria participated in the multilateral Madrid Conference of 1991, and during the 1990s engaged in negotiations with Israel.

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Syria's 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.

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Syria is one of the fifteen states that comprise the so-called "cradle of civilization".

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Petroleum became Syria's leading natural resource and chief export after 1974.

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The current constitution of Syria, adopted in 2012, effectively transformed the country into a semi-presidential republic due to the constitutional right for the election of individuals who do not form part of the National Progressive Front.

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Unlike previous constitutions, this one did not require that the President of Syria be a Muslim, leading to fierce demonstrations in Hama, Homs and Aleppo organized by the Muslim Brotherhood and the ulama.

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Under the previous constitution, Syria did not hold multi-party elections for the legislature, with two-thirds of the seats automatically allocated to the ruling coalition.

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On 7 May 2012, Syria held its first elections in which parties outside the ruling coalition could take part.

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Syria has three levels of courts: courts of first instance, courts of appeals, and the constitutional court, the highest tribunal.

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Syria received significant financial aid from Arab states of the Persian Gulf as a result of its participation in the Persian Gulf War, with a sizable portion of these funds earmarked for military spending.

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At many points in its history, Syria has seen virulent tension with its geographically cultural neighbors, such as Turkey, Israel, Iraq, and Lebanon.

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Since the ongoing civil war of 2011, and associated killings and human rights abuses, Syria has been increasingly isolated from the countries in the region, and the wider international community.

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Syria is included in the European Union's European Neighbourhood Policy which aims at bringing the EU and its neighbors closer.

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In 1939, while Syria was still a French mandate the French allowed a plebiscite regarding the Sanjak of Alexandretta joining to Turkey as part of a treaty of friendship in World War II.

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The only remaining land Syria has in the Golan is a strip of territory which contains the abandoned city of Quneitra, the governorate's de facto capital Madinat al-Baath and many small villages, mostly populated by Circassians such as Beer Ajam and Hader.

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In early 1976, Syria entered Lebanon, beginning their twenty-nine-year military presence.

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Syria entered on the invitation of Suleiman Franjieh, the Maronite Christian president at the time to help aid the Lebanese Christian militias against the Palestinian militias.

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Situation for human rights in Syria has long been a significant concern among independent organizations such as Human Rights Watch, who in 2010 referred to the country's record as "among the worst in the world.

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Syria is divided into 14 governorates, which are sub-divided into 61 districts, which are further divided into sub-districts.

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Agrarian reform measures were introduced into Syria which consisted of three interrelated programs: Legislation regulation the relationship between agriculture laborers and landowners: legislation governing the ownership and use of private and state domain land and directing the economic organization of peasants; and measures reorganizing agricultural production under state control.

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Telecommunications in Syria are overseen by the Ministry of Communications and Technology.

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Syria's economy remains hobbled by state bureaucracy, falling oil production, rising budget deficits, and inflation.

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Road network in Syria is 69, 873 kilometres long, including 1, 103 kilometres (685 miles) of expressways.

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Syria holds the 7th largest Armenian population in the world.

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Syria was once home to a substantial population of Jews, with large communities in Damascus, Aleppo, and Qamishii.

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Syria is a traditional society with a long cultural history.

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Literature of Syria has contributed to Arabic literature and has a proud tradition of oral and written poetry.

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Syria has produced several pan-Arab stars, including Asmahan, Farid al-Atrash and singer Lena Chamamyan.

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Drinks in Syria vary, depending on the time of day and the occasion.

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