Syrian Arab Republic

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Syrian Arab Republic
ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ
Flag of Syrian Arab Republic
Coat of arms of Syrian Arab Republic
Coat of arms
Motto: وَحْدَةٌ ، حُرِّيَّةٌ ، اِشْتِرَاكِيَّةٌ
"Unity, Freedom, Socialism"
Location of Syrian Arab Republic
and largest city
Official languagesArabic
• President
Bashar al-Assad
• Prime Minister
Hussein Arnous
• Vice President
Farouk al-Sharaa
• Vice President
Najah al-Attar
• Speaker of the People's Council
Hammouda Sabbagh
• Total
185,180 km²
• 2023 estimate
CurrencySyrian pound

Syria, officially the Syrian Arab Republic, is a country in Western Asia located in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Levant. A country of fertile plains, high mountains, and deserts, Syria is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups. Arabs are the largest ethnic group with Kurds being the largest minority, and Sunnis are the largest religious group with Shias and Christians being a minority.

Syria is a unitary republic consisting of 14 governorates (subdivisions) and is the only country that politically espouses Ba'athism, with Iraq's pre-intervention government having also been guided by the Ba'ath socialist ideology. It is a member of one international organization other than the United Nations, the anti-imperialist Non-Aligned Movement.

The modern Syrian state was established in the mid-20th century after centuries of Ottoman rule, and after a brief period as a French mandate, the newly created state represented the largest Arab state to emerge from the formerly Ottoman-ruled Syrian provinces.

History[edit | edit source]

In 1949, the United States overthrew Syrian leader Shukri al-Quwatli, whose parliament had refused to construct an oil pipeline through the country, and installed a military junta that approved the pipeline in less than one month.

Israeli invasion of Golan Heights[edit | edit source]

The Syrian territory of the Golan Heights was invaded by Israel in 1967 and annexed in 1981. It is currently occupied by around 25,000 Israeli settlers.[1]

Syrian Civil War[edit | edit source]

Starting in 2011 as part of the Western-supported Arab Spring, Syria descended into civil war as foreign powers began supporting proxy forces to overthrow the Assad government.

Two years into the war, on 21, August, 2013, a chemical weapon (Sarin gas) was alleged to have been utilized by the Syrian government against rebels at Ghouta, Syria. The allegations were first made by Prince Bandar bin Sultan the then head of Saudi Arabian Intelligence Service[2] and earlier involved with both the Contras and the Mujahideen[3], but interviews with people at Ghouta revealed that Saudi Intelligence and Prince Bandar had been responsible for providing the chemical weapons to the rebels. With the rebels allegedly not even aware that they were in possession of chemical weapons and their improper handling leading to the detonation of the Sarin gas.[4]

Saudi Arabia and Prince Bandar trained Reactionary militias and insurgents in Syria's neighbor Jordan but their initiative was swiftly supplemented by the U.S who began to make payments to the anti-Assad forces[3]. In addition to Saudi Arabia; Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Turkey were also responsible for training insurgents and terrorists, with there being a competition between them to establish leadership over the anti-government forces.[3]

The U.S. has supported Islamic jihadists in their Operation Timber Sycamore, not unlike Operation Cyclone in Afghanistan.[5] They have also killed at least 500 Syrian civilians in airstrikes throughout the war, including 30 when a school was bombed, and used chemical weapons such as white phosphorus As of 2021, the military situation is favorable to the Syrian government, which has retaken most territory thanks to the legal assistance of the Russian Air Force as well as assistance from Syria's ally, the Islamic Republic of Iran.[6]

On 3 February 2022, U.S. forces killed 4 women and 6 children during a raid in Idlib province.[7]

The U.S. continues to occupy the resource-rich area of Northern Syria, to control its hydrocarbons and agricultural output[8][9][10] and has firebombed hundreds of acres of wheat fields. The goal of the US is to prevent the reconstruction of Syria.[11] U.S. and the U.N. prop up opposition forces via the Bab al-Hawa crossing – the only U.N. approved crossing for transporting international aid into Syria.[12] The aid have been described by The New York Times as “…a lifeline for opposition-held areas in the north.”[12]

The U.S. imperialists are using economic warfare to cripple the Syrian economy.[13] These sanctions might be soon circumvented with Syria's admission into China's Belt and Road Initiative.[14][15]

Foreign relations[edit | edit source]

On 29 June 2022, Syria became the second country in the world to recognize the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics.[16]

On 7 May 2023, at the meeting of the Council of the Arab League in Cairo, it was agreed to reinstate Syria's membership,[17] after being suspended on 16 November 2011 in the aftermath of the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War.[18]

Sanctions[edit | edit source]

See also: Economic sanctions#Syria

Syria currently suffers from heavy sanctions enforced by the United States and European Union.[19][20]

During the 2023 Turkey–Syria earthquake, Syria was unable to receive direct aid due to sanctions imposed upon the country.[21] With the only U.N. approved entry into Syria from Turkey – generally used to provide aid to government opposition groups – being destroyed, the three other unapproved crossings remained empty of humanitarian convoys.[12] Despite these adversities Iran was able to supply Syria with 70 tons of food, tents and medicine.[12]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Israel unveils plan to double settlers in occupied Golan" (2021-12-26). France 24. Archived from the original on 2021-12-26. Retrieved 2022-05-10.
  2. “It was Prince Bandar’s intelligence agency that first alerted Western allies to the alleged use of sarin gas by the Syrian regime in February.”

    David Usborne (2013-8-27). "Syria, the Saudi connection: The Prince with close ties to Washington at the heart of the push for war" The Independent. Archived from the original on 2013-08-29. Retrieved 2024-02-21.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2
    “Some officials said they fear it carries the same risk of spinning out of control as an earlier project in which Prince Bandar was involved—the 1980s CIA program of secretly financing the Contras in Nicaragua against a leftist government.

    A generation ago, Prince Bandar, in a role foreshadowing his current one on behalf of Syrian opposition, helped the CIA arm the Afghan rebels who were resisting occupation by Soviet troops.


    As part of that, intelligence agents from Saudi Arabia, the U.S., Jordan and other allied states are working at a secret joint operations center in Jordan to train and arm handpicked Syrian rebels, according to current and former U.S. and Middle Eastern officials.

    The CIA has put unspecified limits on its arming efforts. But the agency has been helping train rebels to better fight. Earlier this year it also began making salary payments to members of the Western-backed Free Syrian Army, U.S. and Arab officials said. There are now more CIA personnel at the Jordan base than Saudi personnel, according to Arab diplomats.

    The Saudis stepped up rebel support in early 2012, at first by joining forces with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to fund what was then the main opposition group, the Syrian National Council. Saudi Arabia quickly soured on the effort because the Council wasn't buying arms with the money, diplomats said, and began to push for directly arming the insurgents. It also began to work with Qatar through a command center in Turkey to buy and distribute arms.

    But tensions grew over which rebels to supply. Both Saudi and American officials worried Qatar and Turkey were directing weapons to the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. Qatari and Turkish officials denied they favored certain rebel groups.”

    Adam Entous, Nour Malas and and Margaret Coker (2013-08-25). "A Veteran Saudi Power Player Works To Build Support to Topple Assad" The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2024-02-21.
  4. ““They didn’t tell us what these arms were or how to use them,” complained a female fighter named ‘K.’ “We didn’t know they were chemical weapons. We never imagined they were chemical weapons.”

    “When Saudi Prince Bandar gives such weapons to people, he must give them to those who know how to handle and use them,” she warned. She, like other Syrians, do not want to use their full names for fear of retribution.

    “We were very curious about these arms. And unfortunately, some of the fighters handled the weapons improperly and set off the explosions,” ‘J’ said.”

    Dale Gavlak and Yahya Ababneh (2013-08-29). "EXCLUSIVE: Syrians In Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack" Mint Press News. Archived from the original on 2020-02-07. Retrieved 2024-02-21.
  5. Mark Mazzetti, Matt Apuzzo (2016-01-26). "U.S. Relies Heavily on Saudi Money to Support Syrian Rebels" The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2023-02-08.
  6. "Russian air force takes on rebels in Syria" (2020-11-21). The Levant. Archived from the original on 2021-10-18.
  7. Martin Chulov, Julian Borger (2022-02-04). "Islamic State leader killed during raid by US special forces in Syria" The Guardian. Retrieved 2022-03-11.
  8. Jimmy Dore. "Biden Caught Lying About Occupying Syria" Rokfin.
  9. Aaron Maté (September 7th 2021). "To keep troops in Syria, US leaders are lying like in Afghanistan"
  10. "US must stop looting Syria's natural resources, fight terrorists instead, says Lavrov". PressTV.
  11. "Long reach of U.S. sanctions hits Syria reconstruction". Reuters.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Natasha Frost, Raja Abdulrahim (2023-02-07). "The only border crossing for U.N. aid from Turkey to Syria is hobbled." The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2023-02-09. Retrieved 2023-02-09.
  13. Mimi al-Laham. PressTV.
  14. "Syria joins China’s Belt and Road Initiative" (2022-01-12). Al-Monitor.
  15. "Syria, China sign MoU in framework of Silk Road Economic Belt Initiative" (2022-01-12).
  16. "Syria recognizes independence, sovereignty of Donetsk, Luhansk -state news agency" (2022-06-29). Reuters. Archived from the original on 2022-06-29. Retrieved 2022-06-30.
  17. "Arab foreign ministers agree to readmit Syria to the Arab League" (2023-5-7). Alarabiya.
  18. "Arab League decides to suspend Syria" (2011-11-13). Aljazeera.
  19. "Syria Sanctions". U.S. Department of the Treasury. Archived from the original on 2023-02-08. Retrieved 2023-02-13.
  20. EUR-Lex. Archived from the original on 2023-02-13. Retrieved 2023-02-13.
  21. “The New York Times makes it plain: “Syria is not able to receive direct aid from many countries because of sanctions.”

    So — unless you’re a monstrous sadist — why not lift the sanctions?”

    Aaron Maté (2023-02-08). Twitter. Archived from the original on 2023-02-08. Retrieved 2023-02-09.