Syria

Syria

Doğan Uysal (Celal Bayar University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2939-2.ch011
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Abstract

Officially known as the Syrian Arab Republic, Syria is a country in the East Asia. Its' capital is Damascus which is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the World. Arabic is the official language of Syria. It has a population of approximately 19 million. This population has a diversity in terms of etnicity and religion. It has been governed by the Baas Party under the leadership of Bashar al-Assad and formerly his father Hafez Assad for over 50 years. With the Arab Spring, there has begun a desire for democracy and freedom among Syrian people. But as it is described by the American NGO Freedom House, current regime in Syria is away from democracy and freedom. Finally, a bloody civil war took place and unfortunately according to the statistics about 470.000 people have lost their lives in this civil war since 2011. In addition to its destructivity, the war has had social, economic, political and cultural effects on the country and neighbours. Undoubtedly, Turkey is the most affected country from the war in Syria.
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Introduction

Syria’s surface is about 185.180 km2 and it is located in the east of Mediterranean. Its neighbours are Turkey to the north and northwest, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south and Israel and Lebanon to the west. The capital city of Syria is Damascus, has two other important cities; Aleppo and Homs. Syria is a different and contradictory country in terms of geographic features. 3/1 of the country is desert or deserted mountains, 3/1 of the country is nonarable meadow and the rest of the country is cultivated land. Indeed country can be divided into three regions; coastal region, mountain region and Syria desert. Syria has a short Mediterranean coast (Hubbard, 2013).

Officially known as the Syrian Arab Republic, Syria is a country in the East Asia. It is a country of fertile plains, high mountains and deserts which hosts to diverse ethnic and religious groups like the Syrian Arabs, Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians, Kurds, Circassians, Mandean and Turks. Religious groups include Sunnis, Christians, Alawis, Druzes, Mandaeans, Shiites, Salafi and Yezidis. Sunni Arabs make up the majority of the population in Syria. In English “Syria” (Syria) word, emerged between modern form in 3000 BC and 2000 BC several ancient kingdoms, including the Ebla civilization and also encompassed by the empire of the area, formerly synonymous with the Levant (Eastern Mediterranean countries - known as in Arabic al - Sham) (Electronic Compendium, 2013).

The capital Damascus is one of the oldest cities in the World and it has been continuously inhabited. In the Islamic period, Damascus was used as the center of Umayyad Caliphate and the provincial capital of Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt. Syria was controlled by Ottoman Empaire for many years. But modern Syria was founded as a French mandate during WWI when the Syria gained its independence as a parliamentary republic in 24 October 1945 after its founding member of the United Nations. This movement has finalized the French Mandate legally; but French troops are to leave the country until April 1946.

The post-independence period was turbulent, a number of military coups and coup attempts hit the country in the period between 1949-71. Syria united with Egypt under the title of United Arab Republic in 1958 but this unity ended with a coup in March 1961.

Syrian Arab Republic was founded on November 1 following the constitutional referendum in late 1961. After that the Baath Party seized power and until the coup of the supporters there was an increasing instability in the country. The State system is not considered democratic by American NGO Freedom House. (Freedom House, 2013). Bashar al - Assad has been at the presidential chair since 2000 and the country was managed by his father, former President Hafez Assad in between 1970-2000(Bröning, 2011).

Interim Government was founded by the opposition party Syrian National Coalition in March 2013, and representatives of this alternative government were then invited to fill the seat of Syria in the Arab League (Sherwell, 2014).

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