See also: Syria (homonymy)
Syria named itself at the century spent, at certain inhabitants of the area, Bilad Al-Cham (بلادالشام). This area was a time gathered and included/understood current Syria, Lebanon current, Jordan current, Palestine (current Palestinian territories and Israelis). Previously still, these countries were distinctly the antique Phénicie, the antique Royaume of Israel (until Euphrate), the Palestine, the Assyrie and part of the Western Mésopotamie.
The origin of the name “Syria” is dubious, it would come from the old Greek and indicates in the beginning the ground of Aram. Hérodote rather sees there a shortened form of Assyrie. But the modern historians make it go back to various local toponyms. It appears for the first time in Greek and has identifiable antecedents, neither in the form, nor for the contents in the texts prehellenistic. Established in the official use well Roman and Byzantine, it disappears at the 7th century with the Moslem, but continuous conquest with being used in Europe. In the Arab and Moslem world, the formerly called area “Syria” bore the name of Sham (rear RTL شام) which was also that of its capital, Damas.
The name Syria, in Arabic Souriya (rear RTL سوريا) was unknown until in second half of the 19th century when it re-appears under the European influence. In 1865, it becomes the official name of a province, that of the Vilayet of Damas. It is after the establishment of the French mandate in 1920, qu' it indicates the current Syrian State.
See also: History of Syria
The archeologists showed that Syria was one of oldest the Civilization S of the ancient world. In the excavated city of Ebla, in the North-East of Syria the archeologists discovered in 1975 the vestiges of a great empire Sémite, which goes from the north of the Red Sea in Turkey to the east in Mésopotamie. This empire going back to 2500 to 2400 years front J. - C. makes language of Ebla the oldest Semitic language of the world. Syria counts other great archeological sites like Mari, Ougarit and Doura Europos.
Syria was successively occupied by the the Hebrew Cananéens, Phéniciens, , the Assyrian Araméens, , the Babylonian , the Greek Perses, , the Armenian , the Romains, the Nabatéens, the Byzantine, the Arab , and partly by the Croisés, the Othoman Turks and finally by the French. Syria is a significant country in the history of the Christianisme, Paul de Tarse was converted with Christianity on the road of Damas, and established a church initially with Antioche in ancient Syria (today in Turkey). It is of this port that it left in several its voyages missionary.
Damas was founded more than 10.000 years before Jesus-Christ; she is one of the oldest cities of the world and was inhabited longest without interruption in the world (with Vârânasî and Jericho). After the entry of the Moslem in Syria, the city became the capital of the Empire Omeyyade, it thus reaches a still unequalled prestige and a power in the Syrian history. This empire extended from the Spain, until the Central Asia (661 with 750 after Jesus-Christ). After the fall of Omeyyades, a new empire is created with Baghdad, the Abbasid Empire. In 1260, Damas became the provincial capital of the Empire of the Mamelouks. In 1400, the city was destroyed mainly by Tamerlan: it almost was entirely set fire to, and the Damascènes craftsmen were removed to go to work with Samarkand. Once rebuilt, the city was used as capital until in 1516. In 1517, the city and the country fall under Othoman occupation. The Othomans reigned on the country during more than 400 years, except when the Égyptien Ibrahim Pasha occupies the country of 1832 with 1840.
See also: French Mandate in Syria
The country releases from the Othoman occupation after the Arab Révolte, the Arab forces enter to Damas in 1918. A Syrian Arabic kingdom, independent is then created, Fayçal, resulting from the family Hachémite becomes about it its first and last king, brother of Abd Allah ibn Hussein.
However, the independence of the kingdom ceases, after the invasion of the country by the French forces in 1920. The column of the general Goybet, after the Battle of Maysaloun in July, enters to Damas. The French impose to them mandate in the country, which involves the exile of Fayçal in Iraq. The France and the the United Kingdom which said allied Arab forces of Fayçal were put of agreement to divide the the Middle East.
With the Agreement Sykes-Barb, the French and the British can create countries with their suitability. The agreement puts an end to historical Syria Bilad Al-Cham which included/understood current Syria, the Lebanon, the Jordan, the Palestine (current Palestinian territories and Israeli). The period of the mandate was marked by a rise of nationalism, the increase in revolt against the French Army, but also by the modernization of the infrastructure and the development of the country.
After the fall of France at the time of the Second world war in 1940, in fact the free French Forces take the control of the country (countryside of Syria June-July 1941). But the Syrians continue to require the departure of the French, with the support of the British, their wish is satisfied in 1946, with the independence of Syria.
IndependenceThe first talks between the French and the Syrians for the drafting of a treaty of independence take place in September 1936. Mohammad Al-Abid is the first Syrian president of the French mandate, he then incarnates in the country the will of France. But France refuses to continue the negotiation of a treaty and maintains its presence in the country until 1946. When a semi independence was granted to the Syrians and to the Lebanon board, in 1943 under the control of the general Catroux, Haut-commissaire with Raising named by the general de Gaulle in 1941, Shukri Al-Kuwatli was elected president of the republic. After the total independence of the country in 1946, Hachem Al-Atassi becomes the first president of the Syrian republic.
Coup d'etat de ChichakliAfter the Israeli-Arab War of 1948, the colonel Adib Chichakli proceeds in 1949 to a coup d'etat. It is him even elected president of the republic in 1951 and has dissolves the Parliament the same year. The the United States and the United Kingdom carried a considerable interest in Chichakli. The British hoped to be able to make it adhere to the Pacte of Baghdad. The Americans offered a considerable foreign aid to him, in the hope which it signs a peace treaty with Israel. The United States wanted that the Syrian government makes Palestinian Réfugiés, Syrians with whole share. During the negotiations between the United States and Syria in 1952, the US government proposed the sum of 400 million dollars to integrate in the country 500.000 Palestinians, in the fertile plains of Djézireh. Syrian political parties like the Arab Socialist party of Akram Hourani, and the Parti Baath Michel Aflaq were violently caught some with this proposal, which were for them only the sale of the right to the return of Palestinian. With alliance between the Socialist party of Hourani and the party Baath d' Aflak, the new socialist Arab Baath party tries into 1952 to reverse Chichakli. In front of agitation, Chichakli agrees to refuse this agreement with the United States.
United Arab RepublicThe civilians take again the capacity in 1954, after the inversion of president Chichakli. But an important political instability reigned then in the country, the parallelism of the Syrian and Egyptian policies and the call to the union of the Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser following the Crise of Suez Canal in 1956 has creates favorable conditions with the union between the Egypt and Syria. February 1st, 1958, the two countries are linked to create the United Arab Republic, which involves the prohibition of the Syrian political parties.
But the union quickly ceases existing because of the behavior of the Egyptian government with respect to the Syrians. The general Haydar Al-Kouzbari proceeds to a coup d'etat the September 28th 1961, thus Syria makes secession, thus restoring the Syrian Arab Republic. Political instability characterized the eighteen following months, with various blow or coup attempt of State.
March 8th, 1963, a new coup d'etat takes place in the country, installing the revolutionary National council of order to the capacity. This council consisted of a group of soldier and civilian, all Socialists who took up the executive and legislative duties. The coup d'etat is the product of the Baath party, and the majority of the members of this council were members of Baath.
Government baathistTo a few months of interval, Baath proceeds to a coup d'etat in Iraq. The Syrian government thought of the possibility of union between Egypt, Iraq and Syria. An agreement was signed with the Cairo the April 17th 1963, to implement a referendum on the union which was to be held in September 1963. But of the serious dissensions between the three parties appear quickly, and finally the project of union is abandoned. In May 1964, the president Amin Al-Hafez promulgates a temporary constitution envisaging the establishment of a National council of revolution (CNR), designated members of Parliament composed of workers, peasants and trade unionists.
February 23rd, 1966, a group of soldiers always resulting from Baath, which was carried out by Salah Jedid successful to reverse the government of Amin Al-Hafez which is imprisoned. The new government dissolves CNR, repeals the constitution, and drives out the historical founders of the Baath party of Syria (Michel Aflaq, Salah Aldine Al-Bitar and Akram Hourani) what enables them to have a regionalistic policy and either panarabe like wanted it Baath. The chiefs of the blow speak about “correction” of the principles of the party. But the War the Six Day old lost by the Egyptians and the Syrians weakens at the same time the government of Salah Jedid. November 13rd, 1970, the Minister for Defense Hafez el-Assad proceeds to a coup d'etat, depositor Salah Jedid, it becomes thanks to its “corrective revolution” the new Prime Minister, and the strong man of Syria, which has been for this day a dictatorship.
See also: Political of Syria
Officially, Syria is a parliamentary republic. The Syrians are regularly called with the ballot boxes, but they do not have the right to vote against the government. The former Syrian president, Hafez el-Assad, Head of the State between 1970 and 2000, was confirmed in his functions of Head of State by five referendums; he did not have opposite him any opponent. The current president is Bachar el-Assad, which succeeded his/her father on July 17th, 2000. He also was elected by referendum without opposition, in 2000.
Hafez el-Assad seized the power after a Coup d'etat in 1970, after having deposited Salah Jedid, it becomes the strong man of Syria. Hafez el-Assad is, after the king Hassan II of Morocco, the Arab Head of State having remained with the capacity longest. This success comes primarily owing to the fact that it was supported by religious minorities, of which, amongst other things, the religious minority alaouite. It is also supported per many farmers and the alive Syrians in rural environments. The expansion of the bureaucracy gave him a social class which remains faithful to the government. But the essence of its power came from the Syrian army and its safety appliance. Another factor of its maintenance to the capacity is the nationalism, whose amongst other things conflicts which opposed it and which opposes Syria to the the United States, with Israel and the Iraq of Saddam Hussein.
Each of the three branches of the government is guided by the objectives of the Parti Baath, whose importance in the institutions of State is ensured by the constitution. 8 political parties were legalized in the country, they do all left the National front progressist. The FNP is dominated by the Baath party. In addition to this one, are members: the Movement of the Arab Socialists, the Communist party Bagdash tendency, the Communist party Faysal tendency, the Party Syrian social-nationalist (Large-Syrian), Arab socialist Union (nassérienne), Arab democratic Union (nassérienne), the socialist unionistic Party (nassérien) and the democratic socialist unionistic party (nassérien). It is the same thing for the Parliament, the Conseil of the people ( Majlis Al-Sha' ab ). The deputies are elected for one four years duration, but the Council does not have any independent authority. Although the members of Parliament can criticize laws and modify bills, they cannot make private bill, and the final decisions are made by the executive branch.
With the arrival of Bachar el-Assad to the capacity, the Syrians and in particular the militants for the human rights hoped for a certain liberalization of the country, it is what is called generally the Printemps of Damas.
GovernmentThe Syrian constitution invests the Baath party of the functions necessary to lead the State and the company. The constitution in addition provides broad skills to the president. The president is elected after a referendum for a seven years mandate, in addition to exerting the load of Head of the State, it is the secretary-general of the Baath party and chief of the National front progressist, which gathers all the legal political organizations. The president can name the ministers, state the war, and state the state of emergency. He has also the capacity of Amnistie, he can modify the constitution and appoint the officials and military personnel.
It is with the National front progressist that the president can decide questions of international relations, in fact also the FNP approves the economic policy of the State. The FNP is also a forum of ideas in which the economic policy and the orientation of the country are discussed.
See also: Subdivisions of Syria
Syria is divided into fourteen governorships, or muhafazat (singular: muhafazah ) which bears the name of their chief town. The governor is proposed by the ministry for the interior to the government, which announces by executive decree their nomination. In his functions, the governor is assisted by the elected provincial Council. Part of the governorship of Quneitra, is under occupations Israeli since 1967 (see Golan).
See also: Geography of Syria
The essence of the Syrian territory is consisted a vast calcareous plate (hamada) overcome few old reliefs volcanic (djebel Druze), and crossed to the North-East by the river Euphrate. Syria is a country mainly arid in particular inside and in the East of the country. The average level of pluviometry is of 318 mm per annum but falls to less than 150 to the North-West against more than 800 close to the coast and to 1 400 in the mountains. The country is in lower part of the level of the threshold of shortage since the resource per capita is established to 947 m ³ per annum (the threshold of hydrous stress is generally fixed at 1 700 m ³ per annum and per capita and the threshold of shortage to 1 000) . Syria receives moreover its water of the countries voisins : 50% of the reserves come from Turkey, 20% of the Lebanon. Another worrying factor, the exploitation of the ground water exceeds their capacity of renewal. Syria exploits thus today more than 50% of the renewable resources whereas the commonly allowed maximum threshold is of 30%. The North-East of the country (“Djézireh”) and the south (“Hawran”) are important agricultural zones.
The main cities of the country include Damas in south-west, Alep in north, and Homs. The other important cities are located for the majority on the coast. Syria has four seasons a moderate climate made up. The estival average temperature reaches the 32°C and the winter average temperature reaches the 10°C. In spring and the autumn the average temperature is of 22°C. The winter time takes effect of November in March (+2 hours GMT). The summer time takes effect of April in October (+3 hours GMT).
See also: Economy of Syria
The official currency is the Livre Syrian woman, symbol ( £S ), commonly called will read . It is equal to 100 piastres Syrian. The tickets in circulation are worth: 50,100,200,500, and 1000 £S, while the coins are worth: 1,2,5,10 and 25 £S.
See also: Demography of Syria
The majority of the Syrians live not far from the Euphrate and along the coast, a fertile strip of land between the coastal mountains and the desert. Education is free and obligatory of the age from six to eleven years. The school is composed six years of primary studies, followed by a training general or professional three years and a university program or professional him also three years. Second the three years period for the university formation is required to be able to enter to the university. The number of registered voters in the schools of higher learning is of more than 150.000 pupils. The Alphabétisation among Syrians is of 89% at the boys and 64% for the girls.
Ethniquement, the Syrians belong to the Semitic people originating in the Raising. Today the Syrians are largely regarded as Arab under the terms of their language, and of their cultural and historical bond with the Arabs. More a small number of Syrians are origins not-Semitic, resulting people having occupied the area (in particular cross ).
The population of Moslem Syria east with 90%, the country counts 10% of Christian. Among the Moslems, 78% are sunnites, and the 12% remainder are other Moslem groups, mainly the Alaouites and the Druzes, but also a restricted number of Ismaéliens and Chiites. The Christians are divided into several confessions; there are the syriaques of Antioche (called Syriani in Arabic, or Suryoyo into syriaque modern), composing half of the Christian population, the Syrians Maronites and of the Catholiques (15%), but also of the Assyrian Christians , the Armenian living mainly with Alep and of the orthodoxe melchites. (yézidis) are approximately 150.000 people, installed on the Iraqi border, and almost all of Kurdish ethnos group. There exists a Jewish minority in Syria, which lives mainly in Damas. Their number was estimated at 40.000, but the majority emigrated towards Israel in the years 1990. There remains a small Jewish minority in Damas and Alep today. The Israeli Jews originating in Syria, preserve for the majority of the bonds with their country of origin.
The Arabs (by counting the 400.000 Taken refuge Palestinian) account for 90% of the population. The Kurdish which are linguistically Indo-Iranian people represent the largest ethnic minority of the country, composing 10% of the population. The majority of Kurdish live in the North-East of Syria, and much always speak Kurdish. But much of Kurdish also live in the Syrian big cities. The Assyrian Christians are also numerous, they live for the majority in the north and the North-East of the country. More than 12.000 Israeli colonists (on 28.000 inhabitants) in the Golan, occupied by the Israeli army since the War the Six Day old (1967)
The Arab Language, is the official language of the country, the large majority of the Syrians speak this language. Many educated Syrians speak the English or the French, but English is more largely included/understood. The Armenian and the Turkmène are also spoken in the country. The Araméen (the biblical language, very near to Hebrew, that of Jesus Christ) is spoken by certain ethnicities, like Syriaques with Maaloula and Seidnaya, but also in small villages located in the area of Homs such as for example Sadad or Fairouzeh, and obviously to Damas
PNB/habitants 1040 dollars (2001)
- Infant mortality: lower than 23 per 1000 births
- Life expectancy: 70 years
- Index of human development (IDH): 108e world rank in 2001 out of 173 countries
See also: Culture of Syria
The artistic and cultural achievements of ancient Syria are numerous. The archeologists discovered that the Syrian culture competed with that of Mésopotamie and Egypt, especially around Ebla. Moreover, much of Syrian artists contributed to the thought and the Roman hellenistic culture. Cicéron was a pupil of Antiochos d' Ascalon with Athens. And the books of Poseidonios influenced much Tite-Live and Plutarque.
The Syrians contributed also to the literature and the Arab Musique and have a great tradition of oral and written poetry. The Syrian intellectuals emigrated in Egypt, played a fundamental role in the Nahda, or the cultural and literary rebirth of Arabic at the 14th century. The Syrian authors most famous are Adonis, Haidar Haidar, Ghada Al-Samman, Nizar Kabbani and Zakariyya Tamer.
The Syrian artists most famous are Fateh Al-Moudaress, Louay Kayali, Nahed Koussa, Alfred Bakhach, and Saad Yagan.
Syria has a small cinema industry, with the production which is entirely in the hands of the National organization of the cinema of State, which employ film producers as civils servant. There is one film which can leave per annum, and most of the time, the film is censured but it nevertheless is often greeted by the international festivals.
The Numération uses the Chiffre S Indians: 0 (0), 1 (1), 2 (2), 3 (3), 4 (4), 5 (5), 6 (6), 7 (7), 8 (8) and 9 (9).
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