Updated: Sep 15
Syria, or officially the Syrian Arab Republic.
Syria is located in Western Asia. It borders Lebanon to the southwest, the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Palestine and Israel to the southwest.
Reason for Naming
The name "Syria" historically referred to a wider region, broadly synonymous with the Levant, and known in Arabic as Al-Sham.
Several sources indicate that the name Syria is derived from the 8th century BC Luwian term "Sura/i", and the derivative ancient Greek name: Sýroi, both of which were originally derived from Aššūrāyu (Assyria) in northern Mesopotamia.
However, from the Seleucid Empire (323–150 BC), this term was also applied to The Levant, and from this point, the Greeks applied the term without distinction between the Assyrians of Mesopotamia and the Arameans of the Levant.
The first use of the current flag design was on 22 February 1958. The last adoption of the current Syrian flag was on 30 March 1980.
Since its first adoption, variations of the red-white-black flag have been used in various Arab Unions of Syria with Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, Libya* and Iraq.
The Syrian flag is composed of three horizontal stripes of red, white, and
black, and there are two green five-pointed stars in the middle of the
white stripe. The red represents the Hashemite dynasty and the struggle for independence, the white representative of the Umayyad dynasty, and a bright future, the green stars represent the Fatimid dynasty, with one star standing for Egypt and the other for Syria. Finally, black is a representation of the Abbasid dynasty and oppression of the nation.
*(The flag is identical to the flag of Libya from 1969–to 1972.)
Arabic is the official language of the country. Modern Standard Arabic is recognized as the language of the education system, although it is not native to all of the country’s inhabitants. The language managed to spread to other regions of Syria in the 7th century when Muslims settled the nation. Syrian Arabic is written from right to left, although the Arabic numbers are drafted from left to right. Minority languages of Syria are Kurdish, Aramaic, Assyrian, English and French are widely spoken as second languages, they are used in educated Syrian circles, particularly in Aleppo and Damascus. Of the two, English is more popular.
There are six major religious groups in Syria that are;
1- Sunni Islam is the largest religious group in Syria, making up 74% of the population.
2- Alawi Shia Islam is the second-largest religious group in Syria, accounting for 11.5% of the population, The Alawites follow the Twelver school of Shia Islam, but are differentiated as an offshoot by having syncretistic elements in their beliefs. They also revere Ali ibn Abi Talib (601-661), the son-in-law and cousin of the prophet Muhammad (570-632).
3- Ismaili Shia Islam is the second-largest branch of Shia Islam in the world and it accounts for 1% of the religious population of Syria. Shia Ismailis also called Seveners, Ismailis have two major groups Mustali and Nizari, of which most in Syria are Nizari.
4- Twelver Shia Islam is the largest branch of Shia Islam in the world, but only accounts for 0.5% of the religious population of Syria. This branch of Shia Islam believes in twelve divinely ordained leaders called the Twelve Imams, who are the spiritual and political successors to the prophet Muhammad (570-632)
5- Christianity, The Christian community in Syria accounts for 8.9% of the country's population. Syria has had a Christian community since the earliest days of the religion. The large majority of Christians in Syria belong to one of the Eastern groups of Christianity, which include independent Orthodox churches, and Eastern Catholic Churches. There are also a minority of Western groups of Christianity like Roman Catholics and Protestants.
6- The Druze are the third biggest Islamic religious group in Syria making up only 3% of the population, The Druze are not considered Muslims by some followers of Islam, but in Syria as well as Lebanon they are legally considered Muslims, as they do not follow the Five Pillars of Islam and live a life of isolation where no one is allowed to convert out of or into the religion.
Other minority religions in Syria are Yazidis, Jews, Hindus, Folk Believers, and Others making up all 1%.
Syrian pound (SYP).
+03:00 GMT. (Summer Time).
Unitary dominant-party semi-presidential Ba’athist republic.
In Syria, the climate is Mediterranean on the coast, with mild, rainy winters and hot, sunny summers, while it is arid subtropical in the vast inland areas, with moderately cold winters and scorching, sunny summers. Summer is sunny throughout the country, but the air is humid on the coast and dry in the rest of the country.
In spring, and less often in autumn, Syria can be affected by strong southerly winds, which cause sandstorms and raise the temperature considerably. The best times to visit Syria are spring and autumn, and in particular, the months of April and October.