Syria Geography and History

According to educationvv, Syria borders Turkey to the north and Iraq to the east. The neighboring states are Jordan in the south, Israel in the southwest and Lebanon in the west. The Mediterranean coast in the northwest is followed by a 30 km wide and 180 km long plain. Behind it rises the Alawite Mountains. The Orontes, the lifeline of western Syria, flows on its east side. To the east of the river extend further mountains and ridges: in the north a limestone massif (up to 939 m), to the south the Antilebanon (2629 m) and the Hermon (2814 m) with the Golan Heights. The volcanic landscape of Hauran in the southwest was Syria’s granary in the 19th century.

To the east of the regions near the Mediterranean Sea, the Syrian tablet country extends. It goes east into the fertile plateau of the Djesire. It is bordered by the Euphrates and Khabur rivers like a peninsula. In the north, the Euphrates is dammed up by Lake Assad. The entire south-east is occupied by the Syrian Desert, which is traversed by salt lakes (Sebcha).

The vast forests have been cleared since ancient times , especially in the western mountain regions. The natural steppe vegetation (steppe) of the Djesire has been greatly changed by agriculture and cattle breeding. Flamingos, pelicans and migratory birds live on the shores of Lake Assad and on the coast.

In western Syria it is warm and humid. It rains mostly in winter. Precipitation decreases rapidly to the east. In the Alawiten Mountains there is five times as much rain a year as in the oasis city of Palmyra. The climate there is continental.

Syria under President Bashar al-Assad until 2010

After Assad’s death (June 10, 2000) his son B. al-Assad succeeded him in the leadership of the Ba’ath Party (elected General Secretary on June 16) and the state (on July 10 by referendum on President elected; Inauguration and swearing-in: 17. 7.).

On September 29, 2000, a group of Syrian intellectuals published an appeal for more democratic rights and freedom of expression in a Lebanese daily newspaper. the lifting of the state of emergency, which has existed since 1963, and the release of around 1,500 political prisoners. On November 16, there was an amnesty for around 600 political prisoners. In January 2001, calls were again made for a renewal of civil society and democratic freedoms. In the following months the work of civil rights organizations was paralyzed. Hopes for further liberalization were not fulfilled. Several prominent liberal opposition figures were arrested in September 2001, but in 113 BC. a. Islamist political prisoners later released.

The parliamentary elections on April 22, 2007 confirmed the leading role of the Ba’ath Party as stipulated in the constitution. Your National Progressive Front, an alliance with smaller groups, received the desired two-thirds majority with 172 out of 250 seats. Independent candidates shared the remaining 78 mandates. Opposition parties were not allowed. On May 27, 2007, Assad was confirmed as president by referendum.

The Syrian troop presence in Lebanon, which had existed since 1976, dismantled Syria and in June 2001 withdrew around 6,000 soldiers who had previously been stationed in Beirut. The strategically important heights of the Lebanon Mountains at the western access to the Beka Plain initially remained occupied. However, with UN resolution 1559 (September 2, 2004; demand for the restoration of the full sovereignty of Lebanon), international pressure on Syria increased. After a bomb attack on the former Lebanese Prime Minister R. al-Hariri On February 14, 2005 in Beirut, Syria was also suspected of having been involved in the murder as an occupying power. Syria withdrew all of its troops in March / April. In 2008, Syria and Lebanon agreed to establish diplomatic relations – for the first time since the 1940s (exchange of ambassadors in 2009).

After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in the USA, Syria did not participate in the anti-terror coalition against al-Qaida and in March 2003 it condemned the war of an international coalition led by the USA against Iraq (3rd Gulf War). On the other hand, relations with Turkey improved (military agreement of June 26, 2002). In 2006 Syria resumed diplomatic relations with Iraq, which had been interrupted since 1982. The participation of Syrian representatives in the Iraq conference in Egypt in May 2007 and in the Middle East conference in Annapolis in November 2007 demonstrated the country’s involvement in the US’s stabilization plans. Talks brokered by Turkey with Israel about the return of the Golan Heights ended in January 2009 due to the war in Gaza Strip canceled. In the period that followed, Syria waved between rapprochement with the West and loyalty to its Shiite allies: Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Relations with the US seemed to improve further when the US government appointed a new ambassador to Syria on February 16, 2010. The post had been vacant since the Hariri murder crisis in 2005. Nevertheless, on May 3, 2010, US President Obama extended the American economic sanctions against Syria that had been in effect since 2004 for another year. This was preceded by allegations by the US that Syria was supplying Hezbollah with rockets. On October 3, 2010, Assad renewed his alliance with Iran during a visit to Tehran.

Syria History

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