Greater Syria

Greater Syria (Arabic: سُوِرِيَّة الْكُبْرَى‎, translit. Sūriyyah al-Kubrá), also "Natural Syria" (Arabic: سُوْرِيَّة الطَّبِيْعِيَّة‎, translit. Sūriyyah aṭ-Ṭabī‘iyyah) or "Northern Country" Arabic: بِلَاد الشَّام‎, translit. Bilād ash-Shām,[1] is a Levantine region which extends roughly over the medieval Arab Caliphate province of Bilad al-Sham. The Hellenistic name of the region, "Syria", was used by the Ottomans in the Syria Vilayet until the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1918. The wave of Arab nationalism in the region evolved towards the creation of a new "Great Syria" over French-governed Occupied Enemy Territory Administration, declared as Hashemite Kingdom on March 1920, claiming extent over the entire Levant. Following the Franco-Syrian War, in July 1920, French armies defeated the newly proclaimed Arab Kingdom of Syria and captured Damascus, aborting the Arab state. The area was consequently partitioned under French and British Mandates into Greater Lebanon, various Syrian states, Mandatory Palestine and Transjordan. Syrian states were gradually unified as the State of Syria and became the independent Republic of Syria in 1946.

J-m-dent-and-sons atlas-of-ancient-and-classical-geography 1912 syria-mesopotamia-assyria-etc-northern-middle-east 3296 2114 600
Map depicting Syria as the lands ranging from the Taurus mountains to the Sinai to the Euphrates, not including Upper Mesopotamia

Historical background

The Arab conquest of the Levant in the 7th century gave rise to the Bilad al-Sham province, which functioned under the Caliphates. The province was encompassing much of the region of Syria and became largely overlapping with this concept. Other sources indicate that the term Greater Syria was coined during Ottoman rule, after 1516, to designate the approximate area included in present-day Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Palestine.[2]

See also


  1. ^ Mustafa Abu Sway. "The Holy Land, Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Qur'an, Sunnah and other Islamic Literary Source" (PDF). Central Conference of American Rabbis. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-28.
  2. ^ Thomas Collelo, ed. Lebanon: A Country Study Washington, Library of Congress, 1987.

Further reading

  • Pipes, Daniel (1990). Greater Syria: the History of an Ambition. New York: Oxford University Press. viii, 240 p., ill. with b&w photos and maps. ISBN 978-0-19-506022-5 pbk.; alternative ISBN on back cover, 0-19-506002-4

Al-Nahda (Arabic: النهضة‎ / ALA-LC: an-Nahḍah; Arabic for "awakening" or "renaissance") was a cultural renaissance that began in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Egypt, then later moving to Ottoman-ruled Arabic-speaking regions including Lebanon, Syria and others. It is often regarded as a period of intellectual modernization and reform.

In traditional scholarship, the Nahda is seen as connected to the cultural shock brought on by Napoleon's invasion of Egypt in 1798, and the reformist drive of subsequent rulers such as Muhammad Ali of Egypt. However, recent scholarship has shown that the Middle Eastern and North African Renaissance was a cultural reform program that was as "autogenetic" as it was Western inspired, linked to the Ottoman Tanzimat and internal changes in political economy and communal reformations in Egypt and Syro-Lebanon.The renaissance itself started simultaneously in both Egypt & Greater Syria. Due to their differing backgrounds, the aspects that they focused on differed as well; with Egypt focused on the political aspects of the Islamic world while Greater Syria focused on the more cultural aspects. The concepts were not exclusive by region however, and this distinction blurred as the renaissance progressed.

In the Ottoman-ruled Arabic regions, major influence and motive were the 19th century Tanzimat reforms of the Ottoman Empire, which brought a constitutional order to Ottoman politics and engendered a new political class and later the Young Turk Revolution, which allowed proliferation of press and other publications.

Arab Kingdom of Syria

The Arab Kingdom of Syria (Arabic: المملكة العربية السورية‎, al-Mamlakah al-‘Arabīyah as-Sūrīyah) was a self-proclaimed, unrecognized state that began its independence as an "Emirate" after the withdrawal of the British forces from OETA East on 26 November 1919.As a "Kingdom" it existed only a little over four months, from 8 March to 25 July 1920.It is regarded by Arab nationalists as the second modern Arab state after the Kingdom of Hejaz. During its brief existence, the kingdom was led by Sharif Hussein bin Ali's son Faisal bin Hussein. Despite its claims to the territory of Greater Syria, Faisal's government controlled a limited area and was dependent on Britain which, along with France, generally opposed the idea of a Greater Syria and refused to recognize the kingdom. The kingdom surrendered to French forces on 25 July 1920.


Booza (Arabic: بوظة) is a kind of Arabic ice cream known for its elastic texture and resistance to melting. It is claimed to be one of the oldest forms of ice cream, and is most commonly found in the Levant and Egypt.

The ice cream is usually and traditionally made with an ingredient called sahlab (سَحْلَب) or salep, which provides it with the ability to resist melting. Salep is also a primary ingredient in the Turkish version of this style of ice cream called dondurma and the Greek ice cream kaimaki.

Egyptian–Ottoman War (1831–1833)

The First Egyptian-Ottoman War, First Turco-Egyptian War or First Syrian War (1831–1833) was a military conflict between the Ottoman Empire and Egypt brought about by Muhammad Ali Pasha's demand to the Sublime Porte for control of Greater Syria, as reward for aiding the Sultan during the Greek War of Independence. As a result, Muhammad Ali's forces temporarily gained control of Syria, advancing as far north as Kütahya.

Faisal I of Iraq

Faisal I bin Hussein bin Ali al-Hashemi (Arabic: فيصل بن الحسين بن علي الهاشمي‎, Fayṣal al-Awwal ibn al-Ḥusayn ibn ‘Alī al-Hāshimī; 20 May 1885 – 8 September 1933) was King of the Arab Kingdom of Syria or Greater Syria in 1920, and was King of Iraq from 23 August 1921 to 1933. He was the third son of Hussein bin Ali, the Grand Sharif of Mecca, who had proclaimed himself King of the Arab lands in October 1916.

Faisal fostered unity between Sunni and Shiite Muslims to encourage common loyalty and promote pan-Arabism in the goal of creating an Arab state that would include Iraq, Syria and the rest of the Fertile Crescent. While in power, Faisal tried to diversify his administration by including different ethnic and religious groups in offices. However, Faisal's attempt at pan-Arab nationalism may have contributed to the isolation of certain religious groups.


A ghoriba (Arabic: غريبة‎, also spelled ghribia, ghraïba, or ghriyyaba) is a type of cookie prepared in the Maghreb and other parts of the Arab world. It is a round, shortbread cookie made with flour, sugar, butter, and usually almonds. It is often served with Arabic coffee or Maghrebi mint tea. Ghoriba sometimes pronounce as Ghurayba, has been around in the Greater Syria area, Iraq and other Arab countries since ancient times. They are similar to polvorones from Andalusia and qurabiya from Iran.

Greater Palestine

Greater Palestine (Arabic: فلسطين الكبرى‎) is a irredentist notion used by Palestinians seeking to establish a Palestinian nation state over the whole of former Mandatory Palestine which include today State of Israel, West Bank (including both State of Palestine and Judea and Samaria area), Gaza Strip and sometimes also the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The term is contrary to the terms Greater Syria and the Arab homeland.

History of Lebanon under Ottoman rule

The Ottoman Empire at least nominally ruled Lebanon from its conquest in 1516 until the end of World War I in 1918.

The Ottoman sultan, Salim II (1516–20), invaded Syria and Lebanon in 1516. Salim I, moved by the eloquence of the Lebanese ruler Amir Fakhr ad Din I (1516–44), decided to grant the Lebanese amirs a semiautonomous status. The Ottomans, through the Maans, a great Druze feudal family, and the Shihabs, a Sunni Muslim family that had converted to Christianity, ruled Lebanon until the middle of the nineteenth century. It was during Ottoman rule that the term Greater Syria was coined to designate the approximate area included in present-day Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Palestine.Ottoman administration, however, was only effective in urban areas, while most of the country was ruled by tribal chieftains, based largely on their ability to collect taxes for the sultan. The system of administration in Lebanon during this period is best described by the Arabic word iqta', which refers to a political system, similar to other feudal societies, composed of autonomous feudal families that were subservient to the emir, who himself was nominally loyal to the sultan; therefore, allegiance depended heavily upon personal loyalty.It was precisely this power structure, made up of fiefdoms, that allowed Bashir II, an emir from the Shihab dynasty in the Druze and Maronite districts of Mount Lebanon, to become the most powerful figure in Greater Syria during the first part of the 19th century. It was during this period that Lebanon saw increasing class and religious antagonisms that would define Lebanese social and political life for decades to come.

International military intervention against ISIL

In response to rapid territorial gains made by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) during the first half of 2014, and its universally-condemned executions, reported human rights abuses and the fear of further spillovers of the Syrian Civil War, many states began to intervene against it in both the Syrian Civil War and the Iraqi Civil War. Later, there were also minor interventions by some states against ISIL-affiliated groups in Nigeria and Libya.

In mid-June 2014, Iran, according to American and British information, started flying drones over Iraq, and, according to Reuters, Iranian soldiers were in Iraq fighting ISIL. Simultaneously, the United States ordered a small number of troops to Iraq and started flying crewed aircraft over Iraq.

In July 2014, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Iran sent Sukhoi Su-25 aircraft to Iraq, and Hezbollah purportedly sent trainers and advisers to Iraq to monitor ISIL's movements. In August 2014, the US and Iran separately began a campaign of airstrikes on ISIL targets in Iraq. Since then, fourteen countries in a US-led coalition have also executed airstrikes on ISIL in Iraq and in Syria.

In September 2015, Russian forces, with the permission of the Syrian government, began hundreds of bombing raids against ISIL, al-Nusra Front, and the Free Syrian Army (FSA).Since the airstrikes started, ISIL has been losing ground in both Iraq and Syria. There have been multiple accounts of civilian deaths from the airstrikes. In mid-2016, the US and Russia planned to begin coordinating their airstrikes, however, this coordination did not materialize that year.As of December 2017, ISIL was estimated to control no territory in Iraq, and 5% of Syrian territory, after prolonged actions. On 9 December 2017, Iraq declared victory in the fight against ISIL and stated that the war in Iraq was over.

Consequently, at the end of 2017, territorially ISIL was mainly defeated.

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL ), also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS ), officially as the Islamic State (IS) and by its Arabic language acronym Daesh (Arabic: داعش‎, translit. dāʿish, IPA: [ˈdaːʕɪʃ]), is a Salafi jihadist militant group and former unrecognised proto-state that follows a fundamentalist, Salafi doctrine of Sunni Islam. ISIL gained global prominence in early 2014 when it drove Iraqi government forces out of key cities in its Western Iraq offensive, followed by its capture of Mosul and the Sinjar massacre.The group has been designated a terrorist organisation by the United Nations and many individual countries. ISIL is widely known for its videos of beheadings and other types of executions of both soldiers and civilians, including journalists and aid workers, and its destruction of cultural heritage sites. The United Nations holds ISIL responsible for human rights abuses and war crimes. ISIL also committed ethnic cleansing on a historic scale in northern Iraq.ISIL originated as Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad in 1999, which pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda and participated in the Iraqi insurgency following the 2003 invasion of Iraq by Western forces at the behest of the United States. In June 2014 the group proclaimed itself a worldwide caliphate and began referring to itself as the Islamic State (الدولة الإسلامية ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyah; IS). As a caliphate, it claimed religious, political and military authority over all Muslims worldwide. Its adoption of the name Islamic State and its idea of a caliphate have been widely criticised, with the United Nations, various governments and mainstream Muslim groups rejecting its statehood.In Syria, the group conducted ground attacks on both government forces and opposition factions and by December 2015 it held a large area in western Iraq and eastern Syria, containing an estimated 2.8 to 8 million people, where it enforced its interpretation of sharia law. ISIL is believed to be operational in 18 countries across the world, including Afghanistan and Pakistan, with "aspiring branches" in Mali, Egypt, Somalia, Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines. In 2015, ISIL was estimated to have an annual budget of more than US$1 billion and a force of more than 30,000 fighters.In July 2017, the group lost control of its largest city, Mosul, to the Iraqi army. Following this major defeat, ISIL continued to lose territory to the various states and other military forces allied against it, until it controlled no meaningful territory by November 2017. U.S. military officials and simultaneous military analyses reported in December 2017 that the group retained a mere 2 percent of the territory they had previously held. On 10 December 2017, Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said that Iraqi forces had driven the last remnants of Islamic State from the country, three years after the militant group captured about a third of Iraq's territory.

Lebanon–Syria relations

Lebanon-Syria relations were officially established in October 2008 when Syrian President Bashar Assad issued a decree to establish diplomatic relations with Lebanon for the first time since both countries gained independence from France in 1943 (Lebanon) and 1946 (Syria). Lebanon had traditionally been seen by Syria as part of Greater Syria: under the Ottoman Empire, Lebanon and Syria were included within one administrative entity. Following World War I, the League of Nations Mandate partitioned Ottoman Greater Syria under French control, eventually leading to the creation of nation-states Lebanon and Syria. Relations between the two countries had been strained, especially with the 29-year Syrian Occupation of Lebanon, accusations of Syrian intervention within Lebanese politics before and after withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon, and suspicions of Syria assassinating Lebanese political figures like former prime minister Rafic Hariri. Syria officially recognized Lebanon's sovereignty in 2008.

List of Syrian monarchs

The Syrian monarchs ruled Syria as kings and queens regnant. The title King of Syria appeared in the second century BC in referring to the Seleucid kings who ruled the entirety of the region of Syria. It was also used to refer to Aramean kings in the Greek translations of the Old Testament; mainly indicating the kings of Aram-Damascus. Following the defeat of the (Ottoman Empire) in World War I, the region came under the rule of France, United Kingdom and prince Faisal of Hejaz who was proclaimed King of Syria on 8 March 1920. Faisal's reign lasted a few months before he was overthrown by France and the title fell out of use.

List of terrorist incidents linked to ISIL

The following is a list of terrorist incidents and arrests that have been connected to or have been said by reliable sources to be inspired by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or Daesh.

Since June 2014, when ISIL proclaimed itself to be the Islamic State, according to a running count kept by CNN, it has "conducted or inspired" over 70 terrorist attacks in 20 countries, not including Syria and Iraq.

Music of Syria

The music of Syria may refer to musical traditions and practices in modern-day Syria (as opposed to Greater Syria), merging the habits of people who settled in Syria throughout its history. Syria was long one of the Arab world's centers for musical innovation in the field of classical Arab music; for example, the city of Aleppo is known for its muwashshah music, which was specially conceived to accompany Andalusian muwashshah poetry.

Syria (region)

The region of Syria (Arabic: ٱلـشَّـام‎, translit. ash-Shām, Hieroglyphic Luwian: Sura/i; Greek: Συρία; in modern literature called "Greater Syria", "Syria-Palestine", or the Levant) is an area located east of the Mediterranean sea. Throughout history, the region has been controlled by numerous different peoples, including ancient Egyptians, Canaanites, Israelites, Assyria, Babylonia, the Achaemenid Empire, the ancient Macedonians, the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Umayyad Caliphate, the Abbasid Caliphate, the Fatimid Caliphate, the Crusaders, the Ayyubid dynasty, the Mamluk Sultanate, the Ottoman Empire, the United Kingdom and the French Third Republic.

Syrian National Congress

The Syrian National Congress, also called the Pan-Syrian Congress, was convened in May 1919 in Damascus, Syria, after the expulsion of the Ottoman Empire from the area. The mission of the Congress was to consider the future of "Syria", by which was meant Greater Syria: present-day Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, and Jordan. The Congress also intended to present Arab views to the American King-Crane Commission of inquiry. The Congress was considered the first national parliament in the modern history of Syria.

The Congress was attended by representatives from all parts of Greater Syria, including Lebanon and Palestine, and was headed by Hashim al-Atassi. Some participants showed support for King Faisal's demands, while others were beginning to question his willingness to make concessions to pro-Zionist groups. In its final report it pleaded that "there be no separation of the southern part of Syria, known as Palestine, nor of the littoral western zone, which includes Lebanon, from the Syrian country." In response, the King-Crane Commission recommended that "the unity of Syria be preserved."

The Congress declared an independent Arab Kingdom of Syria on March 8, 1920. The new state intended to included Syria, Palestine, Lebanon and portions of northern Mesopotamia. King Faisal was declared the head of state. At the same time Prince Zeid, Faisal's brother, was declared regent of Mesopotamia. Hashim al-Atassi was named Prime Minister and Yusuf al-'Azma became Minister of War and Chief of Staff.

The Congress continued during the short-lived life of the Kingdom until July 17, 1920, when the French gave Faisal an ultimatum to surrender or fight, and Faisal surrendered, bringing to an end the Kingdom and dissolving its institutions.

Syrian Social Nationalist Party

The Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) (Arabic: الحزب السوري القومي الاجتماعي‎, transliterated: Al-Ḥizb Al-Sūrī Al-Qawmī Al-'Ijtimā'ī, often referred to in French as Parti populaire syrien or Parti social nationaliste syrien), is a nationalist political party operating in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Palestine. It advocates the establishment of a Syrian nation state spanning the Fertile Crescent, including present day Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Cyprus, Sinai, southeastern Turkey (Alexandrette and Cilicia), based on geographical boundaries and the common history people within the boundaries share.With over 100,000 members as of 2016, it is the second largest legal political group in Syria after the ruling Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party, In Lebanon, it has been a major secular and highly organised elite party in the political history of the country for over 80 years. Until recent times it was a key group in the March 8 Alliance.

Founded in Beirut in 1932 as an anticolonial and national liberation organization hostile to French colonialism, the party played a significant role in Lebanese politics and was involved in attempted coups d'etat in 1949 and 1961 following which it was thoroughly repressed. It was active in resistance against the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and the subsequent occupation of southern Lebanon until 2000 while continuously supporting the Syrian presence in Lebanon out of both belief in Syrian irredentism but also due to the decades-long repression it endured at the hands of the Baath Party in Syria. In Syria, the SSNP had become a major Right-wing political force in the early 1950s, but was thoroughly repressed in 1955-56. It remained organized, and by the late 1990s had joined the Left and allied itself with the PLO and the Lebanese Communist Party, despite the ideological rivalry that persists among them. In 2005, it was legalized in Syria and joined the Ba'ath Party-led National Progressive Front. From 2012 to 6 May 2014, the party was part of the Popular Front for Change and Liberation.During the course of the Syrian Civil War the party has seen its relevance increasing in Syria, where almost 12,000 fighters of the Party's armed branch, the Eagles of the Whirlwind, fight alongside the Syrian Armed Forces against the Syrian opposition and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Syrian cuisine

Syrian cuisine may refer to the cooking traditions and practices in modern-day Syria (as opposed to Greater Syria), merging the habits of people who settled in Syria throughout its history.

Syrian cuisine mainly uses eggplant, zucchini, garlic, meat (mostly from lamb and sheep), sesame seeds, rice, chickpeas, fava beans, lentils, cabbage, cauliflower, vine leaves, pickled turnips, cucumbers, tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice, mint, pistachios, honey and fruits.

At the beginning of the 21st century, selections of appetizers known as "meze" are customarily served along with Arabic bread before the Syrian meal's main course, which is followed by coffee, with sweet confectioneries or fruits at will. Many recipes date from at least the 13th century.

Syrian nationalism

Syrian nationalism, also known as "Pan-Syrian nationalism", refers to the nationalism of the region of Syria, or the Fertile Crescent as a cultural or political entity known as "Greater Syria". It should not be confused with the Arab nationalism that is the official state doctrine of the Syrian Arab Republic's ruling Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party, nor should it be assumed that Syrian nationalism necessarily propagates the interests of modern-day Syria or its government. Rather, it predates the existence of the modern Syrian state (independent from French colonial rule in 1946), and refers to the loosely defined Levantine region of Syria, known in Arabic as Ash-Shām (Arabic: ٱلـشَّـام‎).


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