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History

Pre 20th Century Syria:

Pre 20th Century Syria has had many rulers, the Phoenicians, the Byzantines, the Greeks, the Muslims, the Abbassids, the Crusaders, the Mamluks, the Omayad's, the Mongols and finally the Ottomans took over in the 16th Century. For the next four centuries Palestine and Syria would remain occupied by the Ottoman Turks. Most of the desert areas of Syria would however remain in the hands of Bedouin tribes. Up until the 19th century Syria prospered under Turkish rule, Aleppo became an important trading centre in Syria and Damascus an important market town.

20th Century Syria:

When then Turkish Empire broke up after World War 1, the French were formally awarded the mandate over Syria and Lebanon what was then known as Greater Syria.
Syria’s arrangement with France was controversial, many times hostile and much of it was spent power sharing. Employing a divide-and-rule policy, the French split the mandate created Lebanon and a Syrian Republic. The creation of a Lebanese nation was met with much resentment as the growing Arab nationalist movement believed in the idea that Arabs should live in a greater Arab homeland rather than create nation states.
Syria became an independent nation in 1946 after the end of World War II when France fell to the Germans and Syria took control of its own affairs.
However civilian rule was short lived in Syria and the Ba’athist party took over in 1954. They had won the support of the Alawite and the Druze minorities in Syria and were committed to a creation of a greater Arab state. A merger with Egypt in 1958, Syria became part of the United Arab Republic. At first this was a popular move amongst Syrian’s until they started feeling like second class citizens.
Another change of government came in 1963. The party’s idea of uniting Iraq, Egypt and Syria were over thrown and the party’s economic policy of nationalism was met with large civilian dissatisfaction in Syria.
In 1966 Hafez al-Assad took over control. Syria’s Assad lasted over 30 years until he died in June 200. During this time Syria lost vast areas of land to Israel as well as the Golan Heights in what is known as the Six Day War.
Since July 2000, Syria has been run by Hafez Al –Assads son, Bashar. He became the hope of the Syrian people. New social and economic organizations are starting to develop in Syria and reforms to liberalise the economy have taken place. These include the opening up of the economy to the outside world to encourage foreign investment and financial reforms to allow private sector banking. Political and institutional change programmes have also been given great importance by the new Syrian government as well as tourism as an industry.
Syria has entered an era of new openness...