It is often claimed that the first inhabitants of modern day Syria date as far back as 5000 B.C. Syria was occupied successively by Canaanites, Phoenicians, Hebrews, Arameans, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Nabataeans, Byzantines, and partially by Crusaders before coming under the control of the Ottoman Turks. In 1800 B.C., the Assyrian King Shamshi-Adad I established today's north-east city of Tell Leilan as his capital; in 333 B.C., Syria became part of Alexander the Great's empire; it then changed hands in 64 B.C., as a province of the Roman Empire, and again in 300 A.D., as a Byzantine province.
|Deir Mar Mousa. |
A monastary carved into the mountains
that focuses on Christian-Muslim dialogue.
2. Modern Era
In 1920, the Arab Kingdom of Syria was established under the Hashemite King Faisal (later King of Iraq). A few months thereafter, a clash between his Syrian Arab forces and French forces at the battle of Maysalun ended his rule over Syria. In 1922, the League of Nations declared a French mandate over Syria, and French troops occupied Syria.
At the fall of France in 1940, Syria came under the control of the Vichy Government until the British and Free French occupied the country in July 1941. Pressures exerted by Syrian nationalist groups forced the French to evacuate their troops and on April 17, 1946, Syria declared its independence and was left to rule itself under a republican government formed during the French mandate. The country became a charter member of the United Nations.
From its independence through to the modern era, Syria experienced a series of upheavals and military coups, which culminated on March 8, 1963, with the takeover by the the Arab Socialist Resurrection Party (Ba'ath Party), which installed leftist Syrian Army officers of the National Council of the Revolutionary Command (NCRC) over the nation’s executive and legislative powers. On November 13, 1970, Defense Minister Hafez al-Assad succeeded in a bloodless military coup in what was known as the Correction Movement and assumed the role of prime minister.
In March 1973, a new Syrian constitution went into effect followed by parliamentary elections for the People's Council.