Syria History and Politics
Early time in Syria
As early as the Stone Age, people lived in what is now Syria, on the Euphrates. The first settlements arose 10,000 years ago. In the third and second millennium BC The first city-states arose in the Euphrates and Tigris region. But at that time the term “Syria” didn’t even exist.
The rulers over “Syria” changed several times. So came the Egyptians, the Hittites, and the Assyrians. The Aramaeans established kingdoms in Damascus and Aleppo after the power of the Hittites and Assyrians waned. The Phoenicians, who founded important cities such as Tire, Sidon and Bablos on the coast of today’s Lebanon, also became important. The Persian Empire also spread over the region of today’s Syria.
Provincia Syria and Byzantine rule
Syria became 331 BC Conquered by Alexander the Great and belonged to his great empire before it fell apart or was ruled by the so-called Diadochi of the Seleucids.
The word “Syria” is of Greek origin and was only used since the sixth century BC. Chosen as a term for a geographical area. However, this differed from today’s country Syria. It was not until the Romans baptized their province of Provincia Syria when they had conquered it. The area of this Roman province was much larger than today’s country and reached from Egypt to the river Euphrates in the east of today’s Syria
The rule of the Byzantines followed the Roman rule. Here Syria only included the areas in the north of Antioch and Apamea. The Byzantines ruled from Constantinople. Many monasteries and churches were built during this time. Christianity continued to expand, with the later split into an Eastern and a Western church already beginning.
Spread of Islam
In the first third of the seventh century. AD. Spread from the Arabian Peninsula which starting Islam ever made. Damascus became the center of the new religion and at the same time the seat of the caliph, the ruler of the time. About 100 years later, however, the center was moved from Damascus to Baghdad, i.e. what is now Iraq.
In the following centuries, the Turks began to conquer Asia. They defeated the Byzantines in 1071.
Time of the crusades
The first crusade began in 1097. Most of the Franks and Normans marched on Antioch, Tripoli and other cities. In 1100 Baldwin became king of Jerusalem. The crusaders acted brutally and cruelly against the population living there, a large part of whom were Christians and no Muslims at all, although no distinctions were made here. In 1187 the Sultan Saladin recaptured Jerusalem for the Muslims.
Starting from Egypt, the Mameluks spread in the period from 1250 to 1516 and consolidated a large area that reached as far as Sudan and Yemen.
This was followed again in 1516 by the Ottomans and Syria became an Ottoman province and again ruled from Constantinople – as under the Byzantines. Bilad al-Sham was an Ottoman province. These included Syria, Lebanon and Palestine. Syria was part of the Ottoman Empire until 1918.
Syria in the 20th century
In 1914 the Ottoman Empire fought on the side of the German Empire in the First World War. In contrast, the powers Russia, Great Britain and France stood. Even before that, there were many currents in the country that advocated the expansion of an Arab nation. It was precisely these unified Arab advocates who saw their time now.
After the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, the British and French planned to divide it up. In doing so, however, they wanted to protect their own power interests. And it couldn’t be done without making concessions to the Arabs. In the end, there was the Sykes-Picot Agreement from 1916, in which the former Ottoman provinces were divided according to the ideas of the mandate powers Great Britain and France. This agreement broke all previous promises made by the colonial powers to the Arabs. So it was kept secret.
After the withdrawal of the Turkish and German troops, Faisal, who had previously been the leader of the Arab-British allies, took over the government in Damascus. All those who advocated an independent Syria also gathered there.
Plans for an Arab State
The Arabs planned to form their own state, completely independent of the European powers. A congress, the first General Syrian National Congress, met in 1919. Representatives from all the former Syrian provinces that had once belonged to the Ottoman Empire met at this congress. In the end, they issued a statement, the “Damascus Declaration,” calling for the right to independence.
In March 1920 there was also a declaration of independence, the proclamation of a kingdom under Faisal I, which the French did not accept without resistance. They saw their own interests thereby suppressed. So the French fought against the Arab army, which they were far superior due to the more modern weapons.
Syria becomes a French mandate
As a country located in Asia according to commit4fitness, Syria was given a French mandate under the Sykes-Picot Agreement, which the League of Nations even confirmed in 1922. The mandate included not only Syria, but also Lebanon and a Turkish province called Hatay.
In 1925 there was a Druze uprising, which was suppressed by the French. But Great Britain put more and more pressure on France, so that the regions around Damascus and Aleppo were first merged to form a Syrian state and in 1937 further areas were expanded. France promised Syria independence, but again failed to adhere to agreements.