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Syria NEWS

NFE/5.0en-USnews-webmaster@google.com2019 Google Inc.Tue, 15 Jan 2019 03:42:29 GMTGoogle News
Trump threat likely to alienate Turkey, weaken U.S. leverage in Syria  Axios

It's another troubling development in the souring U.S.–Turkey relationship.

Axios
Israel strikes Syria: Satellite images show Iranian weapons depot targeted near Damascus  Haaretz

The images show the extent of the damage caused by Israel's attack near Damascus, which supposedly destroyed an Iranian weapons depot on Friday.

Haaretz
Qatar will not normalise relations with Syria: Foreign Minister  Aljazeera.com

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said the Gulf state will oppose Syrian membership of the Arab league.

Aljazeera.com
Trump's Syria pullout decision hurts Bolton and Pompeo's diplomatic credibility  Haaretz

The president's policy-by-tweet handling of Syria undercuts the credibility of his senior staffers, who spent months prior to his announcement advocating against ...

Haaretz
Former U.S. Ambassador Ford On Trump's Syria Policy  NPR

The Pentagon announced last week that the process of the U.S.'s deliberate withdraw from Syria has begun. Rachel Martin talks to Robert Ford, a former U.S. ...

NPR
Latest Trump tweets on Syria leave Pompeo guessing during visit to Saudi Arabia  ABC News

As the Trump administration struggled to clarify its Syria policy, the latest tweets from President Trump had even Secretary of State Pompeo guessing.

ABC News
U.S. military announces start of Syria withdrawal  The Washington Post

The U.S. military said Friday that it has begun withdrawing from Syria, initiating a drawdown that has blindsided allies and is likely to spark a scramble for control ...

The Washington Post
Shaheen: Pulling Troops Out Of Syria Risks Escape Of ISIS Terrorists  New Hampshire Public Radio

The Trump administration in December decided it's time to pull U.S. troops out of Syria. But New Hampshire Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen is speaking.

New Hampshire Public Radio
The consequences of withdrawing US troops from Syria  PBS NewsHour

Nearly eight years into Syria's civil war, President Trump's announcement that he would withdraw U.S. troops from the region has many worried about ...

PBS NewsHour
When the US pulls out of Syria, what happens to ISIS?  PRI

At the end of 2018, President Donald Trump boldly announced that the US had defeated ISIS in Syria and that he planned to pull back all 2,000 American troops ...

PRI
U.S.-backed Syrian force: Islamic State in its 'final moments'  Reuters

Islamic State militants are "living their final moments" in the last enclave they hold near the Iraqi border, where U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are ...

Reuters
Saudi Prince al-Faisal warns against US Syria pullout  BBC News

A senior member of the Saudi royal family has warned against a US troop withdrawal from Syria. Prince Turki al-Faisal told the BBC the action would have a ...

BBC News
Australia v Syria: TV channel, live stream, squad, Socceroos news & Asian Cup preview  Goal.com

The Socceroos will be out to secure second spot in Group C when they face Syria at the Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium on Wednesday morning (12.30am AEDT).

Goal.com
Turkey accused of plundering olive oil from Syria to sell in the EU  The Telegraph

A Swiss MP has accused the Turkish government of passing off olive oil plundered from Syria as Turkish in order to sell it in European Union countries, including ...

The Telegraph
Turkey unfazed by Trump's threats over Kurdish forces in Syria  ABC Local

Turkey has brushed away threats by the US President Donald Trump to wreak economic devastation if it attacks Kurds in Syria.

ABC Local
Arab Nations Inch Toward Rehabilitating Syria's Assad  VOA News

He has survived eight years of war and billions of dollars in money and weapons aimed at toppling him. Now Syrian President Bashar Assad is poised to be ...

VOA News
Al-Qaeda's shadow still hangs over Syria's Idlib: Analysts  Channel NewsAsia

Analysts doubt that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) fighters have severed ties with Al-Qaeda and the group is considered a "terrorist organisation" by the US ...

Channel NewsAsia
Syria conflict: Pompeo 'optimistic' on deal to protect Kurds  BBC News

The US secretary of state steps up diplomatic efforts with Turkey to protect Kurdish allies in Syria.

BBC News
Can Trump's Syria policy end the 'Forever Wars'?  BBC News

By pulling troops from the Middle East, the US is passing on the mantle in the war against terrorism.

BBC News
Turkey deploys tanks at border with Syria  Hurriyet Daily News

The Turkish military deployed tanks and armored vehicles to the border province of Hatay on Jan. 13, as Turkey continues its preparations for a planned military ...

Hurriyet Daily News
Amid confusion Trump admin signals Syria pullout won't be rapid  CNN

Washington (CNN) President Donald Trump and senior defense officials met to discuss the planned Syria troop withdrawal Wednesday, as his national security ...

CNN
IDF chief finally acknowledges that Israel supplied weapons to Syrian rebels  The Times of Israel

In interview with UK's Sunday Times, outgoing army commander Gadi Eisenkot says Israel gave opposition groups light arms 'for self-defense'

The Times of Israel
Trump’s Syria pullout begins as US armoured vehicles depart  The Guardian

US forces have begun pulling out from Syria, sparking *fresh* fears of abandonment among Kurdish allies less than a day after the the US secretary of state, Mike ...

The Guardian
Syria’s war: SDF confronts ISIL in last Syrian stronghold  Aljazeera.com

Hajin, the last sliver of land controlled by ISIL in eastern Syria, is under attack by Kurdish and US forces.

Aljazeera.com
Saudi prince criticises US over planned withdrawal of troops from Syria  ABC News

Ahead of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to Riyadh, a senior member of Saudi Arabia's royal family says the withdrawal of American troops from Syria ...

ABC News
Syrian state media: Israeli warplanes attacked warehouse at Damascus airport  Haaretz

The Syrian state news agency said Israeli warplanes fired a number of missiles toward the Damascus area on Friday, triggering Syrian air defences that shot ...

Haaretz
The Problem With America’s Syria Policy Isn’t Trump. It’s Syria.  Foreign Policy

President Donald Trump's apparent confusion about what he wants the United States to do in Syria—one week he's pulling out and the next he's not—is hardly ...

Foreign Policy
No US assistance on Syria reconstruction until Iran is out: top US diplomat  CNBC

"We don't listen to the council of defeatism," senior State Department advisor Brian Hook said in response to the notion that dislodging Iranian forces from Syria ...

CNBC
As U.S. Exits Syria, Mideast Faces a Post-American Era  The New York Times

The pending withdrawal from Syria is the latest example of a broader American disengagement from the Middle East. Russia and Iran are filling the void.

The New York Times
Pompeo: Trump's Turkey Threat Won't Change Syria Withdrawal  The Daily Beast

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the escalating fight between President Trump and Turkey won't change his plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.

The Daily Beast
Syria’s Kurds, Feeling Betrayed by the U.S., Ask Assad Government for Protection  The New York Times

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Feeling betrayed by the United States, its Kurdish allies in Syria asked the Syrian government on Friday to protect them from possible ...

The New York Times
American Boy, 16, Caught Fighting for ISIS in Syria, Militia Says  The New York Times

The teenager, whose capture was announced by the Syrian Democratic Forces, would be the only American minor apprehended fighting on behalf of the Islamic ...

The New York Times
'Can't feel my feet anymore': Syrian refugees brave harsh weather  Al Jazeera English

Refugees in Lebanon say they have received little help as rains and flooding have submerged their settlements.

Al Jazeera English
Pentagon Pushes Forward on Syria Pullout  The Wall Street Journal

The U.S. military is moving ahead with its plans to withdraw troops from Syria, even though a U.S.-Turkey rift appears likely to delay the pullout, defense officials ...

The Wall Street Journal
US to expel every last Iranian boot from Syria - Pompeo  BBC News

The US will work with allies to "expel every last Iranian boot" from Syria, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says. Mr Pompeo warned there would be no US ...

BBC News
What happened to Trump’s Syria withdrawal?  The Washington Post

Trump's top foreign policy adviser suggested a U.S. withdrawal from Syria won't take place anytime soon.

The Washington Post
Starving Syria mum sets self, kids on fire after failing to find food  SBS News

A starving Syrian mother in a refugee camp on the Jordanian border has set herself and her three children on fire after failing to find food for three days.

SBS News
Alleged Canadian ISIS member captured in Syria, according to Kurdish forces  Global News

Another alleged Canadian ISIS member has been captured in northern Syria, according to local Kurdish forces, who posted a video of the man.

Global News
Some U.S. troops could remain in Syria after planned withdrawal  NBC News

Some U.S. troops could remain in southern Syria even as American forces withdraw in coming months, a senior administration official said Friday.

NBC News
Turkish rebuke of Bolton highlights troubled effort to sell U.S. plan for exit from Syria  The Washington Post

ISTANBUL — White House national security adviser John Bolton traveled to Turkey this week to talk with Turkish officials about working together on President ...

The Washington Post
Syria Faces Brittle Future, Dominated by Russia and Iran  The Indian Express

With or without an American pullout, Syria is now a Balkanized version of what existed before it plunged into a calamitous civil war in 2011.

The Indian Express
Syria Pullout by U.S. Tilts Mideast Toward Iran and Russia, Isolating Israel  The New York Times

President Trump's decision to withdraw American troops from Syria clears the way for Iran to expand its influence and leaves Israel alone to stop it.

The New York Times
Terror Group Seizes Last Syrian Opposition Stronghold  The Wall Street Journal

A powerful extremist group seized control of most of Syria's last opposition stronghold, threatening a fragile cease fire intended to avert a Syrian military offensive ...

The Wall Street Journal
Lebanon and Russia condemn Israeli airstrikes against Syria  CNN

Lebanon's Foreign Ministry Wednesday condemned Israeli airstrikes against Syria carried out one day earlier, and said it filed a complaint to the United Nations ...

CNN
Syrians React To U.S. Troops Winding Down ISIS Mission In Syria  NPR

President Trump says it's time to pull U.S. ground troops out of the fight against ISIS there. The announcement surprised a lot of people, including his military ...

NPR
Syria conflict: Trump slows down troop withdrawal  BBC News

US President Donald Trump has now said the abrupt withdrawal of US troops from Syria he announced earlier this month will be carried out "slowly". "We're ...

BBC News
Lebanon: Syrian refugees endure more floods from new storm  Aljazeera.com

Refugees seek shelter in incomplete housing units, garages or evacuated schools after Storm Norma hit last week.

Aljazeera.com
Troops begin removing military equipment from Syria  CNN

The first US military ground equipment has been withdrawn from Syria in recent days, signaling the beginning of the drawdown ordered by President Donald ...

CNN
How Is The World Reacting To Trump's Decision To Withdraw From Syria?  NPR

President Trump declared victory over ISIS. But the international response is decidedly mixed — from worries in liberated Raqqa to applause from Russia and ...

NPR
Clean start: Syrian refugee rebuilds his fourth-generation soap business in Canada  The Globe and Mail

The fourth-generation soap maker spent a quarter-century in business in Syria, making renowned Aleppo soap in the product's namesake city.

The Globe and Mail
American ISIS Member Caught on Syrian Battlefield, Militia Says  The New York Times

A 34-year-old man from Houston who is said to have sent a résumé and cover letter seeking a job with the Islamic State has been seized on a battlefield in Syria, ...

The New York Times
The Kurds and Trump’s Syria withdrawal  The Guardian

Letters: Readers respond to the US president's decision to bring the troops home.

The Guardian
Syrian refugees wading through knee-deep water in Lebanon camps  Aljazeera.com

With little help from authorities, Syrian refugees living in Bekaa Valley camps brave ice-cold floodwaters, yet again.

Aljazeera.com
Trump’s Syria decision was essentially correct. Here’s how he can make the most of it.  The Washington Post

There are steps the president can take to make the most of an essentially correct — but unpopular — decision to withdraw U.S. forces.

The Washington Post
Syria: Assad has decisively won his brutal battle  The Guardian

This year is ending on a note of triumph for the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Donald Trump has announced a rapid troop withdrawal from Syria, shocking ...

The Guardian
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: US withdrawal from Syria doesn't change mission to destroy ISIS and stop Iran's influence in the Mideast  CNBC

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is about to go to the Mideast, told CNBC Monday that the planned U.S. withdrawal of troops from Syria does not change ...

CNBC
Syria, Government Shutdown, Jayme Closs:Your Friday Briefing  The New York Times

(Want to get this briefing by email? Here's the sign-up.) Good morning,. We start today with the unexpected start of the U.S. military's withdrawal from Syria and ...

The New York Times
The U.S. Isn’t Really Leaving Syria and Afghanistan  The Atlantic

President Donald Trump caused a political furor when he announced in December that he would quickly withdraw all 2,000 American troops in Syria, together ...

The Atlantic
Pentagon Considers Using Special Operations Forces to Continue Mission in Syria  The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is considering using small teams of Special Operations forces to strike the Islamic State in Syria, one option for continuing an ...

The New York Times
Syria, Golden Globe Awards, CES: Your Monday Briefing  The New York Times

(Want to get this briefing by email? Here's the sign-up.) Good morning,. We start today with a reversal in U.S. plans to withdraw from Syria, the continuing talks to ...

The New York Times
Sheffield men jailed for funding Jihadists in Syria  BBC News

A court heard money was sent to a man who left the UK to "engage in violent Jihadi activity".

BBC News
A Primer on Syria's Constitutional Committee  Lawfare

As new U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen prepares to assume his position on January 7, it is an opportune time to revisit the Syrian constitutional ...

Lawfare
Arab League set to readmit Syria eight years after expulsion  The Guardian

Gulf nations bloc moving to welcome Syria back into the fold after Bashar al-Assad's brutal repression of protests.

The Guardian
Damascus allows Iraq to hit ISIL targets in Syria: State media  Aljazeera.com

Syrian state media says Iraqi forces can now attack ISIL targets inside Syria without getting approval from Damascus.

Aljazeera.com
World War 3: 'We'll attack Syria if US pullout is delayed,' Turkish minister warns  Express.co.uk

TURKISH troops and tanks carried out military exercises on the border with Syria on Saturday, state-run media reported, further stoking tension in the region in ...

Express.co.uk
What next for Syria's last major rebel bastion?  Economic Times

BEIRUT: For nearly four months, a Russian-Turkish ceasefire deal has protected three million people in Syria's last major rebel bastion of Idlib from a major ...

Economic Times
Syrian White Helmets try to rebuild lives in Canadian exile  The Guardian

Members of rescue organization that saved thousands resettle in Nova Scotia after evacuation via Israel and Jordan.

The Guardian
Devastating floods and near-freezing temperatures bring death and more chaos to Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon  CNN

Aid workers in the area say that some 600 refugee families were forced to evacuate their homes, braving rain, sleet and strong winds to find shelter.

CNN
Syria: Deadly School Attack Was Unlawful  Human Rights Watch

A November 24, 2018 attack by Syrian government forces near an elementary school that killed six children, a teacher, and a student's mother, appears to have ...

Human Rights Watch
In Syria, Assad's government is doubling down on executions of political prisoners  The Washington Post

Assad's government is doubling down on the killing of political prisoners as the civil war heads towards its end.

The Washington Post
Thousands risk lives fleeing fighting in Syria's last ISIL stronghold  UN News

North-east Syria is seeing increasing numbers of civilian casualties and large-scale displacement amid intensifying efforts to defeat extremists from ISIL, ...

UN News
Trump Says ISIS Is Defeated So U.S. Troops Will Leave Syria  NPR

David Greene talks to retired Admiral James Stavridis, former supreme allied commander for NATO, about the potential consequences of the president's plan to ...

NPR
Syria's war: Life in al-Bab after ISIL  Aljazeera.com

Al-Bab, a town in Syria's northeast less than 50 kilometres south of Turkey, was freed from ISIL control two years ago, and life is almost normal here again.

Aljazeera.com
War-weary Syrians in Kurdish-held Manbij wait to learn fate  BBC News

Residents of the Kurdish-held northern town brace for upheaval as US forces prepare to withdraw.

BBC News
US troop withdrawal from Syria could take several months  ABC News

A week after President Trump's surprising announcement that he was withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria the U.S. military is drafting a a withdrawal plan several ...

ABC News
Trump is leaving 50,000 Syrian civilians to die  The Washington Post

President Trump's surprise decision to rapidly withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria is meeting with intense criticism by foreign policy experts, who denounce it as ...

The Washington Post
The Blob Is Lying About Trump’s Sudden Syria Withdrawal  Foreign Policy

Washington narratives, once determined, are almost impossible to change. A pristine example has been President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. ...

Foreign Policy
Good Riddance to America’s Syria Policy  Foreign Policy

President Donald Trump's sudden decision Wednesday to withdraw the roughly 2,000 U.S. troops stationed in Syria has set off an all-too-predictable debate ...

Foreign Policy
'We Will Curse Them As Traitors': Syrian Kurds React To U.S. Troop Withdrawal Plan  NPR

After President Trump's decision to pull out U.S. troops, residents of northeastern Syria tell NPR they feel betrayed. Syrians, led by Kurdish fighters, have lost ...

NPR
On the frontline with US troops fighting IS  BBC News

Soldiers have been stationed at this base for a month - but already their future in the region is in doubt.

BBC News
America's Absence Could Be Syria's New Nightmare  The National Interest Online

U.S. withdrawal from Syria will give Bashar al-Assad, Iran and Russia freer rein to subdue opposition forces. But also, Assad will feel emboldened to act with ...

The National Interest Online
Russia, Turkey and Iran reach agreement on Syria committee  The Guardian

UN says Moscow rejected five names its envoy wanted included in proposed panel.

The Guardian
Bolton Walked Back Syria Statement. His Disdain for Debate Helped Produce It.  The New York Times

WASHINGTON — John R. Bolton found himself last weekend in a familiar but dangerous spot: cleaning up after his boss announced the withdrawal of 2,000 ...

The New York Times
Syrian opposition urges countries not to reconcile with Assad  Reuters

Syria's chief opposition negotiator said on Sunday he was surprised by countries rebuilding ties with the Syrian government and urged them to reverse their ...

Reuters
Anatomy of a Caliphate: Life under Daesh in Syria - EXCLUSIVE  Sputnik International

While the Jihadis may have lost control of 98% of the territory they once had, the psychological torment for those who were forced to live under the group's ...

Sputnik International
‘They’re All Thieves’: Navigating Syria’s Checkpoint Shakedowns  The Wall Street Journal

Syria's war has gutted the country's economy. But roadside extortion is still booming. Pro-government soldiers and militias as well as antiregime rebels exploit ...

The Wall Street Journal
Order to withdraw US forces from Syria signed  CNN

(CNN) The order to withdraw US forces from Syria has been signed. A US defense official confirmed to CNN that "the execute order for Syria has been signed," ...

CNN
Turkey Seeks Major U.S. Military Support to Adopt Fight in Syria  The Wall Street Journal

Turkey is asking the U.S. to provide substantial military support, including air strikes, transport and logistics, so that Turkish forces can assume the main ...

The Wall Street Journal
Syrian Minister Reveals Damage Done in Israeli Airstrike on Damascus  Sputnik International

Israel claims that the air raid, which took place on the night of 11-12 January, was aimed at alleged Iranian military targets situated in Syria. Damascus has ...

Sputnik International
'We will expel from Syria every last Iranian boot' - US diplomat to Hariri  AMN Al-Masdar News

Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri met with the US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale, while in the presence of the US Ambassador.

AMN Al-Masdar News
Russian disinformation campaign targets Syria’s beleaguered rescue workers  The Washington Post

Moscow has mounted a “brutal and unrelenting” drive against the White Helmets, an international research group says in a new report.

The Washington Post
Trump abandons Syria's Kurds: Will Turkey now crush their dream of a 'secular utopia?'  Haaretz

Without U.S. soldiers as a buffer, the Kurds are now stuck between Turkey, Assad and ISIS.

Haaretz
Blast kills four in Syria's Afrin held by Turkey-backed rebels  Al Jazeera English

Car bomb attack comes after Turkish leader Erdogan threatened to launch new offensive against US-allied Kurdish forces.

Al Jazeera English
The Battle For Syria's Oil Region | OilPrice.com  OilPrice.com

Syria's oil production hub has long been under the control of the U.S.-backed SPF, but with the U.S. now planning to pull out the race is on to secure the area.

OilPrice.com
Killing of aid worker in Syria part of 'disturbing trend'  UN News

The abduction and killing of an aid worker last week in Syria's Idleb region, brings into focus the daily risks faced by humanitarians working in conflict zones, said ...

UN News
‘They can do what they want’: Trump’s Iran comments defy the position of his top aides  The Washington Post

In his first Cabinet meeting of the year, President Trump stuck a dagger in a major initiative advanced by his foreign policy team: Iran's leaders, the president said ...

The Washington Post
Syrian mother, daughter connect to their lost home through art  TheRecord.com

Abeer and Moteaa Al Hariri recreate a sense of their homeland through postcards, Syrian jewelry, Syrian scenes on birchbark, and colourful dioramas featuring ...

TheRecord.com
We Don't Owe Syria's Kurds  The National Interest Online

America should not be in the business of creating another de facto Kurdish state.

The National Interest Online
 

Syria Videos

Allied forces in Syria voice concern about U.S. troop withdrawal
00:03:19
Allied forces in Syria voice concern about U.S. troop withdrawal
Israel confirms strikes against Iranian targets in Syria
15:57:28
Israel confirms strikes against Iranian targets in Syria
Israel destroys Iranian weapons cache in Syria airport - TV7 Israel News 14.01.19
19:00:05
Israel destroys Iranian weapons cache in Syria airport - TV7 Israel News 14.01.19
Syrian War Report – Jan.14, 2019: Netanyahu Says “Depots Full Of Iranian Weapons” Destroyed In Syria
12:49:56
Syrian War Report – Jan.14, 2019: Netanyahu Says “Depots Full Of Iranian Weapons” Destroyed In Syria
US presence in Syria keeps ISIS alive – fmr US diplomat
21:36:03
US presence in Syria keeps ISIS alive – fmr US diplomat
US Sends Bombers to Hawaii-Tensions escalate in Syria-US worries of miscalculation in S.China Sea
16:00:00
US Sends Bombers to Hawaii-Tensions escalate in Syria-US worries of miscalculation in S.China Sea
US Only Replacing Troops in Syria
03:08:44
US Only Replacing Troops in Syria
President Trump calls for Syria buffer zone as US troops withdraw
12:22:12
President Trump calls for Syria buffer zone as US troops withdraw
Israel Attacks Iranian Targets in Syria, Power Clash Begins as US Pulls Out
14:09:32
Israel Attacks Iranian Targets in Syria, Power Clash Begins as US Pulls Out
US Syria troop pullout: Trump warns Turkey of economic 'devastation' if Kurds hit
15:59:30
US Syria troop pullout: Trump warns Turkey of economic 'devastation' if Kurds hit
 

Syria Images

Shortwave Radio Broadcast Countries - Middle East
Shortwave Radio Broadcast Countries - Middle East
Cartoon Movement - PUTIN´S NEW SYRIA
Cartoon Movement - PUTIN´S NEW SYRIA
Qasab mountains _ Syria | Mohad Swaidan | Flickr
Qasab mountains _ Syria | Mohad Swaidan | Flickr
Sports festivals in Syria videos
Sports festivals in Syria videos
Al-Rukban: 75,000 refugees trapped in Jordan-Syria border ...
Al-Rukban: 75,000 refugees trapped in Jordan-Syria border ...
Frederik Questier - Photo: 20051220-145348 Syria Palmyra ...
Frederik Questier - Photo: 20051220-145348 Syria Palmyra ...
Area under control or influence in Syria by Peter Eter ...
Area under control or influence in Syria by Peter Eter ...
€uroplates License Plates | Middle-East | Syria
€uroplates License Plates | Middle-East | Syria
Syrian torture photos on display at United Nations - CNN
Syrian torture photos on display at United Nations - CNN
Limes Arabicus: Dura Europos - XXVI | The "Empire Stops ...
Limes Arabicus: Dura Europos - XXVI | The "Empire Stops ...
 

Syria WebSites

 

Syria Wiki

Syria (Arabic: سوريا‎ Sūriyā), officially the Syrian Arab Republic (Arabic: الجمهورية العربية السورية‎ al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-Sūrīyah), is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest. 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, Isma'ilis, Mandeans, Shiites, Salafis, Yazidis, and Jews. Sunni make up the largest religious group in Syria.Syria is a unitary republic consisting of 14 governorates and is the only country that politically espouses Ba'athism. It is a member of one international organization other than the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement; it has become suspended from the Arab League on November 2011 and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and self-suspended from the Union for the Mediterranean.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. 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 de-jure 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 1949–71. 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. Bashar al-Assad has been president since 2000 and was preceded by his father Hafez al-Assad, who was in office from 1971 to 2000.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 470,000 deaths (February 2016 SCPR estimate), 7.6 million internally displaced people (July 2015 UNHCR estimate) and over 5 million refugees (July 2017 registered by UNHCR), making population assessment difficult in recent years.