After the ottoman empire broke up during World War I, Syria came under the domination of France, following a League of Nations mandate, until independence in 1946. A series of military coups subsequently occurred, followed in 1956 by the union of Syria and Egypt into the United Arab Republic. Three years later, Syria broke away and reformed the Syrian Arab Republic. The ensuing period of political stability was marred by the loss of the Golan Heights to Israel during the Arab-Israeli War and by dissension with Lebanon over Syria's purported peacekeeping presence in Lebanon between 1976 and 2005.

An estimated 18,448,752 people make their home in Syria, including approximately 40,000 who live in the contested areas of the Golan Heights. With a per capita income of ...

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