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History[edit | edit source]
In English, the name Syria was formerly synonymous with the Levant, while the modern state encompasses the sites of several ancient kingdoms and empires, including the Eblan civilization of the 3rd millennium BC. Aleppo and the capital city Damascus are 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 in mid-20th century after centuries of Ottoman and a brief period French mandate, and represented the largest Arab state to emerge from the formerly Ottoman-ruled Syrian provinces. It gained dejure independence as a parliamentary republic on 24 October 1945, when Republic of 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 of 1949 to 1971. 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 republic was renamed into the Arab Republic of Syria in late 1961 after December 1 constitutional referendum, and was increasingly unstable until the 1963 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.
Since March 2011, Syria has been embroiled in an armed conflict, with a number of countries in the region and beyond involved militarily or otherwise. As a result, a number of self-proclaimed political entities have emerged on Syrian territory, including the Syrian opposition, Rojava, Tahrir al-Sham and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Syria is ranked last on the Global Peace Index, making it the most violent country in the world due to the war, although life continues normally for most of its citizens as of December 2017. The war caused more than 470,000 deaths, 7.6 million internally displaced people, and over 5 million refugees making population assessment difficult in recent years.
Timeline[edit | edit source]
1920 - Proclamation of Arab Kingdom of Syria
1924 - State of Syria established under French Mandate
1930 Syrian Republic established by merger of States of Jabal Druze, Alawites and Syria
1945 -Joint UN / French Mandate ended
1949 - 1971 A large number of military coups and coup attempts shook the country
1946 - 1963 Syrian Republic independent and French troops left
1961 - Secession from the United Arab Republic
1963 - 2011 Syria was under Emergency Law, effectively suspending most constitutional protections for citizens
2011 - 2017 Syria has been embroiled in an armed conflict, with a number of countries in the region and beyond involved militarily or otherwise