Essay about Syria

Syria is an Arab country located in the Western Asia, bordering the Mediterranean Sea and Lebanon in the West. Its capital city, Damascus, has been regarded as one of the oldest cities in the world that has been continuously inhabited. Syria is bordered by Turkey on the north, Israel on the southwest, Iraq on the east and in the south by Jordan. The Syrian topography is dotted with deserts, high mountains as well as fertile plains.

Brief History of Syria

In 1516 Syria came under the control of Ottoman Turks and was a part of their empire for nearly four centuries. In the backdrop of the World War I, the Arabs with the help of the British military, revolted in 1916 against the Turkish domination. In early 1918 the British and Arab armies gained control of Damascus and ended 400 years regime of the Ottoman Empire. But under the Sykes-Picot agreement, between France and Britain, Syria came under the French Mandate in 1923. After a series of revolts and uprisings it was only on 17 April 1946 that Syria gained independence from the French rule. However Syria had to suffer great political instability during the early years of 1949-1971, marked by the Arab-Israeli conflict, various coup attempts and western threats. Syria entered into a brief union with Egypt from 1958 to 1961 to form the United Arab Republic that was, however, disrupted by a military coup. In 1963through another coup, the Ba’ath-military government assumed power. Hafez al-Assad ruled Syria from 1971 which brought some stability to the region and later on from 2000, his son, Bashar al-Assad has been the official president.

There has been a civil war in Syria since March 2011 with continued uprisings against the neo-Ba’athist government and against Assad. Due to constant human rights abuses and associated killings in the ongoing civil war, Syria has experienced increased isolation from the other countries in the Arab region and the international community (BARNARD, “Missteps by Rebels”). It has severed diplomatic relations with countries that include Canada, Britain, Italy, France, Germany, Egypt, Tunisia, United States, the Gulf States, Spain and Belgium. The opposition group has formed an alternative government in March 2012, known as the Syrian National Coalition which is gaining recognition as the representative of Syria by United States, France, United Kingdom and several other nations.

People

Syria has a rapidly growing young population with most of it from the Arab descent and has Arabic as its official language. Nearly 75% of the country’s population is Sunni Muslims, while the Kurds form the chief minority group. Though the Arab Sunnis form the major religious group in this country, it is home to many other ethnic groups such as Armenians, Kurds, Turks, Assyrians, Christians, Alawite Shias and Druze.

Economy

It was only after the 1960s that industrialization began in this largely agricultural country with its best farmlands in Jabal al Nusayriyah, the land between Hama and Homs, and the Al Jazira area. Aleppo, Homs and Damascus are known for the industries that include textiles, petroleum refining, chemicals and tobacco processing. Oil has basically been a crucial source of revenue for Syria since 1974.

Works Cited

“Missteps by Rebels Erode Their Support Among Syrians.” The New York Times. 8 Nov. 2012. Web. 22 Apr. 2013
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/09/world/middleeast/in-syria-missteps-by-rebels-erode-their-support.html?ref=syria

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