Syria, located in Western Asia, borders on Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, Israel to the southwest, and the Mediterranean Sea to the west. The terrain itself is varied: Its fertile Jazirah eastern plains give way to a semidesert steppe or badiya. In the west, fertile plains in Aleppo and the Ghouta near the capital, Damascus, are situated next to mountain ranges that tower over the Lebanese and Latakian Mediterranean coasts. Officially the Syrian Arab Republic, the nation is home to a diverse society comprising a range of ethnic and religious groups compounded by a fluid political landscape.

This entry examines both the history and the social, political, and economic contexts of developments in this country situated at the heart ...

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