While Canadians are welcoming our newest citizens from Syria, the PSAC BC Human Rights Committee is reaching out to make the transition to BC a little bit easier. And so as a way of getting to know our new neighbours the Committee has gathered a series of Syrian factoids which we’ll be posting weekly – check back for more!
Did You Know?
Feb 15: Archaeologists have demonstrated that civilization in Syria was one of the most ancient on earth, perhaps preceded by only those of Mesopotamia. The earliest recorded indigenous civilisation in the region was the Kingdom of Ebla, near present-day Idlib, northern Syria. Ebla appears to have been founded around 3500 BC.
Feb 8: Syria lies between latitudes 32° and 38° N, and longitudes 35° and 43° E. It consists mostly of arid plateau, although the northwest part of the country bordering the Mediterranean is fairly green. The Northeast of the country “al-Jazira” and the South “Hawran” are important agricultural areas. The Euphrates, Syria’s most important river, crosses the country in the east. It is considered to be one of the fifteen states that comprise the so-called “Cradle of civilization”.
Feb 1: In English, the name “Syria” was formerly synonymous with the Levant (known in Arabic as al-Sham), while the modern state encompasses the sites of several ancient kingdoms and empires, including the Eblan civilization of the 3rd millennium BC. Its capital Damascus is 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.
Jan 25: A country of fertile plains, high mountains, and deserts, Syria is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including Syrian Arabs, Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians, Kurds, Circassians, Mandeans and Turks. Religious groups include Sunnis, Christians, Alawites, Druze, Mandeans, Shiites, Salafis, and Yazidis. Sunni Arabs make up the largest population group in Syria.
Jan 18: Syria is in southwest Asia in the heart of the Middle East. The Mediterranean coastal plain is backed by a low range of hills, followed by a vast interior desert plateau. Most people live near the coast or near the Euphrates River—which brings life to the desert plateau. Damascus, capital of this desert country, was built on an oasis and is said to be the world’s oldest continuously inhabited settlement. Slightly larger than North Dakota, Syria lies at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea. It is bordered by Lebanon and Israel on the west, Turkey on the north, Iraq on the east, and Jordan on the south. The highest point in Syria is Mount Hermon (2,814 m) on the Lebanese border.
Jan 11: Syria is located in Southwestern Asia, north of the Arabian Peninsula in the Middle East, at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea. It is bordered by Turkey on the north, Lebanon and Israel on the west, Iraq on the east, and Jordan on the south. Syria’s area is 186,475 km² and it’s largest city is Aleppo.