Syria (Arabic: سورية sūriyya or سوريا sūryā), officially the Syrian Arab Republic (Arabic: الجمهورية العربية السورية), 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.
The name Syria formerly comprised the entire region of the Levant, while the modern state encompasses the site of several ancient kingdoms and empires, including the Eblan civilization of the third millennium BC. In the Islamic era, its capital city, Damascus, was the seat of the Umayyad Empire and a provincial capital of the Mamluk Empire. Damascus is widely regarded as one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.
Modern Syria was created as a French mandate and attained independence in April 1946, as a parliamentary republic. The post-independence period was rocky, and a large number of military coups and coup attempts shook the country in the period 1949-1970. Syria has been under Emergency Law since 1962, effectively suspending most constitutional protections for citizens, and its system of government is considered non-democratic. The country has been governed by the Ba'ath Party since 1963, although actual power is concentrated to the presidency and a narrow grouping of military and political strongmen. Syria's current president is Bashar al-Assad, son of Hafez al-Assad, who held office from 1970 until his death in 2000. Syria has played a major regional role, particularly through its central role in the Arab conflict with Israel, which since 1967 has occupied the Golan Heights, and by active involvement in Lebanese and Palestinian affairs.
The population is mainly Sunni Muslim, but with significant Alawi, Shia, Druze and Christian minorities. Since the 1960s, Alawite military officers have tended to dominate the country's politics. Ethnically, some 90% of the population is Arab, and the state is ruled by the Ba'ath Party according to Arab nationalist principles, while approximately 10% belong to the Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaean Syriacs, Turkmen, Assyrian and Circassians minorities.
Versions of Syria have been discovered in some timelines of the multiverse:
- Democratic Republic of Arabia (Great Global War)
- Republic of Syria (Vegetarian World)
- Syria (Cherry, Plum, and Chrysanthemum)
- Syria (Scotland says "Yes")
- United Provinces of Syria (Concert of Europe)
In other timelines, Syria is a part of another larger nation:
- Byzantine Empire (Austria and others)
- Byzantine Empire (Burgundy Survives)
- Hashemite Kingdom (1879: Agreement)
- Hashemite Kingdom (Dai-tō-a)
- Mesopotamia (No Christianity world)
- Roman Empire (Byzantine World)
- Sultanate of Turkey (Cabotia and Brasil)
- United Arab Republic (Great Nuclear War)