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Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

from Latin Syria, from Greek Syria, from Syrioi "the Syrians," a name given originally to the Assyrians (Herodotus vii.63), a shortened form of Assyrioi "Assyrians" (see Assyria). Related: Syrian.

Syria (disambiguation)

Syria is a country in the Middle East, incorporating north-eastern Levant and Eastern Mesopotamia. Syria, Siria, and Suryani may also refer to:


Syria (; or , Sūriyā or Sūrīyah), officially the Syrian Arab Republic, is a country in Western Asia. De jure Syrian territory borders Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest, but the government's control now extends to approximately 30–40% of the de jure state area and less than 60% of the population.

A country of fertile plains, high mountains, and deserts, Syria is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including Syrian Arabs, Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians, Kurds, Circassians, Mandeans and Turks. Religious groups include Sunnis, Christians, Alawites, Druze, Mandeans, Shiites, Salafis, and Yazidis. Sunni Arabs make up the largest population group in Syria.

In English, the name "Syria" was formerly synonymous with the Levant (known in Arabic as al-Sham), while the modern state encompasses the sites of several ancient kingdoms and empires, including the Eblan civilization of the 3rd millennium BC. Its capital Damascus is among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. In the Islamic era, Damascus was the seat of the Umayyad Caliphate and a provincial capital of the Mamluk Sultanate in Egypt.

The modern Syrian state was established after the end of centuries of Ottoman control in World War I as a French mandate, and represented the largest Arab state to emerge from the formerly Ottoman-ruled Arab Levant. It gained independence as a parliamentary republic on 24 October 1945 when Syria became a founding member of the United Nations, an act which legally ended the former French Mandate – although French troops did not leave the country until April 1946. The post-independence period was tumultuous, and a large number of military coups and coup attempts shook the country in the period 1949–71. In 1958, Syria entered a brief union with Egypt called the United Arab Republic, which was terminated by the 1961 Syrian coup d'état. The Arab Republic of Syria came into being in late 1961 after December 1 constitutional referendum, and was increasingly unstable until the Ba'athist coup d'état, since which the Ba'ath Party has maintained its power. Syria was under Emergency Law from 1963 to 2011, effectively suspending most constitutional protections for citizens, and its system of government is considered to be non-democratic by the North American NGO Freedom House. Bashar al-Assad has been president since 2000 and was preceded by his father Hafez al-Assad, who was in office from 1970 to 2000.

Syria is a member of one international organization other than the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement; it is currently suspended from the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and self-suspended from the Union for the Mediterranean. Since March 2011, Syria has been embroiled in an uprising against Assad and the Ba'athist government as part of the Arab Spring, a crackdown that contributed to the Syrian Civil War and to Syria's becoming one of the most violent countries in the world. The Syrian Interim Government was formed by the opposition umbrella group, the Syrian National Coalition, in March 2013. Representatives of this alternative government were subsequently invited to take up Syria's seat at the Arab League.

Syria (singer)

Cecilia Cipressi (born 26 February 1977), best known as Syria, is an Italian singer and entertainer.

Syria (region)

The historic region of Syria ( Hieroglyphic Luwian: Sura/i; ; in modern literature called Greater Syria, Syria-Palestine, or the Levant) is an area located east of the Mediterranean sea. The oldest attestation of the name Syria is from the 8th century BC in a bilingual inscription in Hieroglyphic Luwian and Phoenician. In this inscription the Luwian word Sura/i was translated to Phoenician ʔšr " Assyria." For Herodotus in the 5th century BC, Syria extended as far north as the Halys river and as far south as Arabia and Egypt. For Pliny the Elder and Pomponius Mela, Syria covered the entire Fertile Crescent. In Late Antiquity Syria meant a region located to the East of the Mediterranean Sea, West of the Euphrates River, North of the Arabian Desert and South of the Taurus Mountains, thereby including modern Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, the State of Palestine and parts of Southern Turkey namely the Hatay Province and the Western half of the Southeastern Anatolia Region. This late definition is equivalent to the region known in Classical Arabic by the name ash-Shām الشام , which means the north [country] (from the root šʔm شأم "left, north"). After the Islamic conquest of Byzantine Syria in the 7th century AD, the name Syria fell out of primary use in the region itself, being superseded by the Arabic equivalent Shām, but survived in its original sense in Byzantine and Western European usage, and in Syriac Christian literature. In the 19th century the name Syria was revived in its modem Arabic form to denote the whole of Bilad al-Sham, either as Suriyah or the modern form Suriyya, which eventually replaced the Arabic name of Bilad al-Sham. After World War I, the name Syria was applied to the French Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon and the contemporaneous but short-lived Arab Kingdom of Syria.

Throughout history, the region has been controlled by numerous different peoples, including Ancient Egyptians, Canaanites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Ancient Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, the Umayyad, Abbasid and Fatimid caliphates, the Crusaders, Ayyubids, Mamluks, Ottomans, the British and the French.

The boundaries of the region have changed throughout history, and were last defined in modern times by the proclamation of the short lived Arab Kingdom of Syria and subsequent definition by French and British mandatory agreement. The area was passed to French and British Mandates following WWI and divided into Greater Lebanon, various Syrian-mandate states, Mandatory Palestine and Transjordan. The Syrian-mandate states were gradually unified as the State of Syria and finally became the independent Syria in 1946. Throughout this period, pan-Syrian nationalists advocated for the creation of a Greater Syria.

Usage examples of "syria".

With the Germans in control of Syria, Egypt, the vital Canal Zone, and the oil refineries at Abadan would come under the direct threat of continuous air attack.

Assad took power, the Muslim Brotherhood, a loosely knit underground coalition of Sunni Muslim fundamentalist guerrilla groups, which had existed on and off in Syria since the late 1930s, began working to topple the predominantly Alawite Assad regime through a ruthless campaign of assassinations and bombings.

The Alawites, a splinter sect of Islam with many secret and even Christian-like tenets, have lived for centuries in the isolated mountain villages of northern Lebanon and Syria.

Syria and Cilicia to Media and Babylonia, and had two capitals, Antioch and Seleuceia-on-Tigris, and two wives, the Macedonian Stratonice and the Bactrian Apama.

South End of Bahr Assad Tabaqah Air Base, Syria Thursday, 9 March 1995 1130 Hours, Local While Newman and Samir were quenching their thirst and avoiding the Syrian Interior Ministry police in Dayr Az Zawr, General Komulakov and most of his combined force of retired KGB Department V thugs and PFLP terrorists were enjoying the relative luxury of a Syrian Air Force hangar at the military installation protecting the hydroelectric dam at the south end of nearby Lake Assad.

In this wise more than three hours had elapsed, the young Emir was himself again, and was calculating the average of the various rates of interest in every town in Syria, from Gaza to Aleppo, when Baroni returned, bearing in his hand an Egyptian vase.

Uday hopscotched their way across western Iraqi, moving from Bija, Mayadin, and Maah until they made their way to what they thought would be a safe haven in Damascus, Syria.

Some slight disturbances, though they were suppressed almost as soon as excited, in Syria and the frontiers of Armenia, afforded the enemies of the church a very plausible occasion to insinuate, that those troubles had been secretly fomented by the intrigues of the bishops, who had already forgotten their ostentatious professions of passive and unlimited obedience.

Moreover, the German Orient was almost exclusively a scholarly, or at least a classical, Orient: it was made the subject of lyrics, fantasies, and even novels, but it was never actual, the way Egypt and Syria were actual for Chateaubriand, Lane, Lamartine, Burton, Disraeli, or Nerval.

Asia was covered with Greek cities, and the long reign of the Macedonian kings had introduced a silent revolution into Syria and Egypt.

The Luftwaffe were already attacking the Suez Canal from bases in the Dodecanese, and they could obviously, if they chose, operate against Syria, especially with airborne troops.

Castelorizzo Island lies midway between Rhodes and Cyprus and forms a link in the chain reaching out from the Dodecanese towards Syria.

After a successful expedition against the Gothic plunderers of Asia, the Palmyrenian prince returned to the city of Emesa in Syria.

Syria, we may distinguish Emesa or Hems, Heliopolis or Baalbec, the former as the metropolis of the plain, the latter as the capital of the valley.

This popular tale, which Mahomet might learn when he drove his camels to the fairs of Syria, is introduced as a divine revelation, into the Koran.