Syria has compulsory school from the children are 6 to 15 years. In 2002, 98% of children attended compulsory school. It is a 3-year high school with a general and vocational field of study. The language of instruction is Arabic; English and French are the first foreign language. Syria has 4 universities: Damascus (founded 1903), Aleppo (1960), Latakia (1971), Homs (1979). According to UNESCO (2003), approx. 23% of the adult population is illiterate (10% of men, 36% of women). Check topschoolsintheusa for test centers of ACT, SAT, and GRE as well high schools in the country of Syria.
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Among the relics left by the Crusaders in particular spoke of the strengthening of Christian communities in the region – especially the Maronites. They were used by the Europeans as a pretext for 17th century interference. When kediven of Egypt Mehmet Ali in 1831 conquered Syria, they brought heavy taxes and compulsory military service for a popular revolt, which both Muslims and Christians participated. The European powers used since the attacks on the Christian population as a pretext to intervene. That way, Ali’s offensive slowed down, and Francewas given the “protection of Syrian Christians”. The development culminated with the total withdrawal of the Egyptians in 1840, the re-introduction of Ottoman supremacy and acceptance by the Turkish Sultans of the establishment of Christian missions and schools paid for by the Europeans.
The Christian Maronite communities were located in the mountainous region between Damascus and Jerusalem, and in 1858 they broke with the ruling class and abolished the feudal tenure of the land. Their Muslim neighbors – especially the Drusians – decided to crush the movement before it spread. It came into conflict, culminating with the so-called “massacres” in June 1860. A month later, French troops landed in Beirut on the pretext of “protecting” the Christians. They forced the Turkish government to create a separate province – «Little Lebanon». The province was to be ruled by a Christian – appointed by the Sultan but approved by the European superpowers -, to have his own police force and within the province the abolition of feudal rights. In this way, a social conflict was transformed into a conflict of faith, and the Christian population of “Little Lebanon” took full precedence over the local Muslim population.
World War 1
When the Arab uprising broke out during World War I (see Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Iraq), the emir Faisal was appointed king of Syria, without knowing the British-French plans expressed in the Sykes-Picot agreement, after which it fertile crescent should be divided as follows: France should have control over Syria and Lebanon, while England should have control over Palestine (including Jordan) as well as Iraq.
In 1920 France occupied the country militarily and forced Faisal to retire. Two months later, Syria was divided into 5 states: Greater Lebanon – in the further areas was added to the province of «Little Lebanon», Damascus, Alepo, Djabal Druzay and Alawis (Latakia). The four latter joined in 1924 again.
Until 1932, the development was characterized by some calm, but this year the president and parliament were elected. However, France had made it clear that it would not accept greater internal autonomy. It led to clashes, which only ceased in 1936, when the French signed an agreement in which they recognized the just in Syrian demands, the most important of which was reunification with Lebanon. However, the French government never ratified the agreement, which triggered further agitation. It culminated in 1939 when the Syrian president resigned, and the French administration suspended the 1930 constitution in Syria and Lebanon.
In 1941, forces from free France and England occupied the area to abolish cooperation with Nazism. Two years later, Chikri Al-Quwatli was elected president of Syria and Bechara Al-Kuri in Lebanon, but when the latter made proposals to remove the references to the French mandate in the area, the French forces captured him and his government. In both states, the arrest triggered a clash and British pressure on the French army was added. The conflict was only resolved when the United Nations in March 1946 ordered the European troops out of the area, thus ending the French mandate. The withdrawal of the foreign forces was completed in 47. Syrian forces joined 48 together with forces from other Arab countries in the fight against the establishment of the State of Israel.
Syria – Damascus
Damascus, Arab Ash-Sham Dimashq, capital of Syria; 1. 7 million residents (2010), with suburbs 2. 8 million. The city is located 710 meters above sea level. on the east side of Anti-Lebanon. Rain shadow, despite the proximity to the Mediterranean, provides hot desert climate for most of the year. Precipitation falls mainly in November – March, sometimes as snow. However, the Barada River and the al-Ghuta oasis plain provide plenty of water as well as temperate and subtropical vegetation. This, as well as the city’s location at the edge of the desert, have made Damascus an important trading and caravan city.
Modern Damascus is Syria’s most important city, economically, politically and administratively. The city also has good rail links with Aleppo in northern Syria and Amman in Jordan. Since the 1300s, Damascus has been the seat of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antakya. The old craftsmanship industry (gunsmithing, carpet and silk weaving) now has little economic significance. It has been replaced by more modern engineering and furniture, textile, food and cement industries. The city has a university (founded 1903).
Architecture and cityscape
The historic center of the city, which was listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1979, is characterized by the transformation of the ancient, rectilinear neighborhood pattern around the first Islamic centuries, with curved streets and closed alleys. Parts of the original Roman city wall have preserved parts from different times, including several city gates. Part of the wall joins the citadel from the beginning of the 13th century.
The site of the central temple of antiquity has been since the beginning of the 7th century, when the Caliph al-Walid ruled, the city’s great mosque, the Umayyad Mosque. The largely preserved mosque facility is a major monument in the early architecture of Islam. The mosque courtyard with its surrounding two-storey arcades, of which the south forms a facade to a wide column hall, still has the character of the city’s central open space. Partially preserved is the mosque’s original mosaic decor with plant and landscape motifs. Adjacent to the mosque are the traditional bazaar blocks, partly with covered streets and with several architecturally rich commercial gardens (khan), mattresses and mausoleums from different times. There is also a significant 18th-century palace, built for Ottoman Governor Azam.
The medieval neighborhoods also extend to the north and southwest of the historic center. They are surrounded by the rectilinear street systems of recent times, largely according to a 1929 plan. Here you will find the Ottoman era’s most important mosque in Syria, Takkiya as-Suleymaniya, designed by Sinan in the 1560s. Characteristic of the architecture of Damascus through the Ottoman era is high-quality stonework with the effect of contrasting colors.
The National Museum preserves the main facade and details of the Umayyad palace Qasr al-Hayr al-Gharbi, located on the road between Damascus and Palmyra.
The city’s origins date back to the 3000s BC, and it is mentioned in documents from Ebla as early as the 2000s. In the 15th century, Damascus belonged to Egypt, sometimes to the Hittites, and during a period of the 11th century to the Israelite kingdom of David. Damascus was the center of an Aramaic state and of resistance to Assyrian expansion in the 800s and 700s, but conquered by Tiglatpileser 732 and was then a significant city during Assyrian, Babylonian and Persian times. After Alexander the Great’s conquest, a Hellenistic urban formation was created adjacent to the Aramaic. It went to the Seleucid Empire and stood in the shadow of Antioch, but belonged periodically to the Ptolemaic Empire.
Damascus was the capital of Syria from 111, but was conquered by the Nabateans 85 and Pompey 64 and then incorporated with the Roman province of Syria. The local god Hadad was an important deity, the Jews were numerous and early also the Christians; it was outside Damascus that Paul’s conversion occurred. Damascus became the provincial capital during Hadrian’s time in the 100s and bishop’s seat in the 300s. The city’s most important ancient monument is the remains of the great temple of Jupiter Damascenus of the 20th century, which about 400 of Theodosius was replaced by a church of John the Baptist and later of the Umayyad Mosque.
Damascus came under the rule of Islam in 635 and was the 661–750 capital of the Umayyad caliphate with a political, economic and cultural upswing. Damascus was part of the Ottoman Empire from 1516. In 1918, the British and Faysal’s Arab army occupied the city, which until 1941 became part of the French mandate. Since 1946 Damascus is the capital of Syria.
From the end of the 19th century until today, Damascus has been an important center of Arab nationalism (panarabism). Damascus has quickly grown into a multimillion city, but has lost much of its oriental character.