Twin bomb blasts in Damascus, Syria
Reliefs from Tel Halaf dating to the Aramean kingdom of Bit Bahiani Around the 14th century BC, various Semitic peoples appeared in the area, such as the semi-nomadic Suteans who came into an unsuccessful conflict with Babylonia to the east, and the West Semitic speaking Arameans who subsumed the earlier Amorites. They too were subjugated by Assyria and the Hittites for centuries. The Egyptians fought the Hittites for control over western Syria; the fighting reached its zenith in BC with the Battle of Kadesh. From this point, the region became known as Aramea or Aram. There was also a synthesis between the Semitic Arameans and the remnants of the Indo-European Hittites , with the founding of a number of Syro-Hittite states centered in north central Aram Syria and south central Asia Minor modern Turkey , including Palistin , Carchemish and Sam’al. From these coastal regions they eventually spread their influence throughout the Mediterranean , including building colonies in Malta , Sicily, the Iberian peninsula modern Spain and Portugal , the coasts of North Africa, and most significantly, founding the major city state of Carthage in modern Tunisia in the 9th century BC which was much later to become the center of a major empire, rivaling the Roman Empire.
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Syria’s first lady — The first lady walks in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, on March 8, Hide Caption 8 of 31 Photos: Hide Caption 9 of 31 Photos: Syria’s first lady Syria’s first lady — The first lady attends an Arab women and war conference on March 8, , in Beirut, Lebanon. Hide Caption 10 of 31 Photos:
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Damascus is one of the oldest continuously-inhabited cities in the world, with the earliest layers of occupation dating to between BC. This was at a time in which the region’s earliest nomadic pastoralists were extending southwards towards the Red Sea, at the end of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B culture of the Fertile Crescent.
Those earliest layers of occupation may not have been permanent at first, but they soon became so. The city’s pre-Iron Age history is very obscure, but it may correspond to Egypt ‘s province of ‘Upe’ in the northern Levant. This was was centred on ‘Ta-ms-qu’, on the border between Egyptian and Hittite zones of control. That obscurity may be the reason for some sources claiming a third millennium BC date for the city’s founding, even though the archaeology for habitation is almost twice as old.
However, it remains unclear when the initial settlement area graduated into something that could be referred to as a city. The ancient city of Damascus was founded on the south bank of the River Barada, behind the mountains of Lebanon , with the city being surrounded by an oasis. Despite this beneficial location, Damascus appears not to have achieved any importance until it was occupied by the Semitic Aramaeans in the tenth century BC.
Under Aramaean leadership it enjoyed a period of independence as a regionally-powerful city state, often tied closely to Israelite politics and therefore being mentioned many times in the Old Testament.
Damascus Tourism: Best of Damascus
The field duty stations of UN organisations are based in the capital, Damascus. The country has a km border with Iraq, a 76km border with Israel, a km border with Jordan, a km border with Lebanon and an km border with Turkey. Its Mediterranean coastline is km long. Syria is primarily semi-arid and a desert plateau.
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But despite the looming U. From its ancient cities to the current conflict, here are five cultural facts about Syria. The Syrians About 23 million people live in Syria, and the majority of those people, about 74 percent, are Sunni Muslims. Another 12 percent of the population is made up of Alawites, a sect of Shia Muslims. Despite being a minority, Alawites have dominated the government for decades; President Bashar al-Assad is an Alawite.
About 10 percent of the population is Christian, and another small percentage is made up of Druze, a mystical religious sect with elements common to several monotheistic religions. Amazing Ruins of the Ancient World ] Whereas most people in Syria speak Arabic, about 9 percent of the population — mostly in the northeast — speak Kurdish. Ancient history Syria has been a cradle of civilization for at least 10, years. It was home to the ancient majestic city of Ebla, which flourished from B.
See Article History Alternative Titles: The city is mentioned in tablets dating from as early as the 19th century bce. It attained prominence in the 3rd century bce, when a road through it became one of the main routes of east-west trade. Palmyra was built on an oasis lying approximately halfway between the Mediterranean Sea west and the Euphrates River east , and it helped connect the Roman world with Mesopotamia and the East.
After visiting the city c. These difficulties led the Romans to set up the personal rule of the family of Septimius Odaenathus at Palmyra.
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Early settlement[ edit ] Carbon dating at Tell Ramad , on the outskirts of Damascus, suggests that the site may have been occupied since the second half of the seventh millennium BC, possibly around B C. The Damascus region, as well as the rest of Syria, became a battleground circa BC, between the Hittites from the north and the Egyptians from the south,  ending with a signed treaty between Hattusili and Ramesses II where the former handed over control of the Damascus area to Ramesses II in BC.
However, these events had contributed to the development of Damascus as a new influential center that emerged with the transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age. Nicolaus of Damascus , in the fourth book of his History, says thus: Now the name of Abraham is even still famous in the country of Damascus; and there is shown a village named from him, The Habitation of Abraham. Aram-Damascus Annotated view of Damascus and surroundings from space. By the start of the first millennium BC, several Aramaic kingdoms were formed, as Aramaeans abandoned their nomadic lifestyle and formed federated tribal states.
One of these kingdoms was Aram-Damascus , centered on its capital Damascus. Noticing the agricultural potential of the still-undeveloped and sparsely populated area,  they established the water distribution system of Damascus by constructing canals and tunnels which maximized the efficiency of the river Barada. The same network was later improved by the Romans and the Umayyads, and still forms the basis of the water system of the old part of the city today.
Ezron overthrew the city’s tribal governor and founded the independent entity of Aram-Damascus. As this new state expanded south, it prevented the Kingdom of Israel from spreading north and the two kingdoms soon clashed as they both sought to dominate trading hegemony in the east. As a result, he granted Israel trading rights in Damascus. Aram-Damascus came out victorious, temporarily preventing the Assyrians from encroaching into Syria.
Damascus: The Capital of Civilizations
In fact, it is this juxtaposition of the old and the new that makes Damascus so compelling. Damascus is a city with a storied history, but still full of life, where street vendors flaunt their wares whilst men in business suits walk past. The older portions of the city are particularly enthralling with their labyrinth of narrow alleys and alluringly secretive doors that open out into lush courtyards and rather blank-faced houses.
Tim, and his roommate Adrian, both having been in Damascus for about a year studying Arabic, I began inquiring as to the ins and outs of the country. A family of five children is considered small in Syria, with most parents having seven or eight.
Syria Population 18, , Syria , a Middle Eastern country, has a population that’s difficult to determine due to instability; the Syrian situation is among the largest humanitarian crises worldwide. Approximately 5, flee Syria every day. In , the country had a population estimated at 22, , , and this number dropped to an estimated population of 22, , as of September In , further declines have led to an estimated population of Refugees and Fleeing Syria Syria’s population is comprised of many refugees from other countries.
In , it was estimated that 1. Syria has also been home to large groups of Palestinians , -refugees and Armenians ,, Of course, that’s now in the past, as Syria has been in a great deal of turmoil and its population is now tumbling out of control. While Syria’s population is currently around 18 million in , this number is changing every day.
Great Mosque of Damascus (Umayyad Mosque)
Find out what’s happening in the world as it unfolds. The ancient oasis city of Palmyra, Syria, in March April 17, – Independence is declared after French troops leave the country. September 28, – Syria secedes from the United Arab Republic. November 13, – Minister of Defense Hafez al-Assad stages a bloodless coup.
Early settlement[ edit ] Carbon dating at Tell Ramad , on the outskirts of Damascus, suggests that the site may have been occupied since the second half of the seventh millennium BC, possibly around BC. The Damascus region, as well as the rest of Syria, became a battleground circa BC, between the Hittites from the north and the Egyptians from the south,  ending with a signed treaty between Hattusili and Ramesses II where the former handed over control of the Damascus area to Ramesses II in BC.
However, these events contributed to the development of Damascus as a new influential center that emerged with the transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age. Nicolaus of Damascus , in the fourth book of his History, says thus: Now the name of Abraham is even still famous in the country of Damascus; and there is shown a village named from him, The Habitation of Abraham.
Aram-Damascus Annotated view of Damascus and surroundings from space. By the start of the first millennium BC, several Aramaic kingdoms were formed, as Aramaeans abandoned their nomadic lifestyle and formed federated tribal states. One of these kingdoms was Aram-Damascus , centered on its capital Damascus.
Sources for this state come from texts that can be divided into three categories: Assyrian annals, Aramaean texts, and the Hebrew Bible. The largest portion of the textual sources come from Assyria.
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The tomb of Saladin stands in a small garden adjoining the north wall of the mosque. In addition, the mosque holds a shrine which is said to contain the head of John the Baptist, who is honored as a prophet by both Christians and Muslims. It was BC at the latest when the Arameans built a temple here for Hadad, the god of storms and lightening. A basalt orthostat dating from this period, depicting a sphinx, has been discovered in the northeast corner of the mosque.
In the early first century AD, the Romans arrived and built a massive temple to Jupiter over the Aramean temple. The Roman temple stood upon a rectangular platform temenos that measured about meters by meters, with square towers at each corner. Parts of the outer walls of the temenos still survive, but virtually nothing remains of the temple itself. In the late fourth century, the temple area became a Christian sacred site.
The Temple of Jupiter was destroyed and a church dedicated to John the Baptist was built in its place. The church was and is believed to enshrine the head of the Baptist, and the site became an important pilgrimage destination in the Byzantine era. Initially, the Muslim conquest of Damascus in did not affect the church, as the building was shared by Muslim and Christian worshippers.
Assad’s wife: I turned down chance to ‘run from Syria’
The old city of Damascus is considered to be among the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world. Excavations at Tell Ramad on the outskirts of the city have demonstrated that Damascus was inhabited as early as 8, to 10, BC. However, it is not documented as an important city until the arrival of the Aramaeans. In the Medieval period, it was the centre of a flourishing craft industry, with different areas of the city specializing in particular trades or crafts.
The city exhibits outstanding evidence of the civilizations which created it – Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Islamic. In particular, the Umayyad caliphate created Damascus as its capital, setting the scene for the city’s ongoing development as a living Muslim, Arab city, upon which each succeeding dynasty has left and continues to leave its mark.
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Photographs by Erin Trieb The Convert Tania Joya had been married to a jihadist from Texas for ten years, but she was tired of living like a nomad and unnerved by his increasingly extreme ideology. When he dragged their family to war-torn Syria, she knew it was time to get out. November by Abigail Pesta Photographs by Erin Trieb Late on an August night in , Tania Joya found herself stranded with her husband and three young sons in a Turkish city not far from the border with Syria.
The hotels were jammed with refugees, and the family had nowhere to go. Her husband, a convert to Islam, was a Texan, from Plano. Tania, who had been raised outside of London, had been married to him for ten years. They had most recently been living in Egypt but had been forced to flee that country amid the chaos that followed the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood—led government. He was a jihadist—soon to become one of the most senior Westerners in ISIS—who dreamed of helping form a caliphate, an Islamic kingdom to rule the world.
She was growing increasingly disenchanted with his quest. Standing on a dusty street that August night, Tania, who was five months pregnant, was furious. The family had been living like nomads for a decade, and she was sick of it. As Tania argued with her husband, a rundown minibus pulled up, letting people on and off.
Would this be safe? But she told herself not to have a public meltdown.
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Share by Email Beneath the streets of a suburb of Damascus, rows of shelves hold books that have been rescued from bombed-out buildings. Over the past four years, during the siege of Darayya, volunteers have collected 14, books from shell-damaged homes. They are held in a location kept secret amid fears that it would be targeted by government and pro-Assad forces, and visitors have to dodge shells and bullets to reach the underground reading space.
In , Taoist monk Wang Yuanlu — an unofficial guardian of the caves — discovered the hidden door that led to a chamber filled with manuscripts dating from the fourth to the 11th Centuries. Provincial authorities showed little interest in the documents after Wang contacted them; but news of the cave spread, and Hungarian-born explorer Aurel Stein persuaded him to sell about 10, manuscripts.
Guide to the Syrian opposition June – Turkey changes rules of engagement after Syria shoots down a Turkish plane, declaring that if Syrian troops approach Turkey’s borders they will be seen as a military threat. Arab League stops short of full recognition. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The conflict in Syria displaced millions of people, many of whom sought refuge in camps in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon January – Syria accuses Israel of bombing military base near Damascus, where Hezbollah was suspected of assembling a convoy of anti-aircraft missiles bound for Lebanon.
Chemical arms claims Government forces have faced – and denied – repeated allegations of chemical weapons use Rise of Islamists September – UN weapons inspectors conclude that chemical weapons were used in an attack on the Ghouta area of Damascus in August that killed about people, but do not allocate responsibility. Government allows UN to destroy chemical weapons stocks, process complete by June Jaish al-Fatah Army of Conquest Islamist rebel alliance takes control of Idlib Province, putting pressure on government’s coastal stronghold of Latakia.
Russian intervention September – Russia carries out its first air strikes in Syria, saying they target the Islamic State group, but the West and Syrian opposition say it overwhelmingly targets anti-Assad rebels. US intervenes April – US President Donald Trump orders a missile attack on an airbase from which Syrian government planes allegedly staged a chemical weapons attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun. These fight alongside the main opposition Syrian Democratic Forces, which captures the important Tabqa dam from Islamic State.
Syrian and Iraqi forces put IS under pressure in the dwindling areas still under its control. Government troops, with Russian support, continue reclaiming areas from rebels in the north-western Idlib province. It seizes the town in March.