Levant

The Levant (/ləˈvænt/) is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean, primarily in Western Asia. In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the historical region of Syria. In its widest historical sense, the Levant included all of the eastern Mediterranean with its islands;[3] that is, it included all of the countries along the Eastern Mediterranean shores, extending from Greece to Cyrenaica.[2][4]

The term entered English in the late 15th century from French.[3] It derives from the Italian Levante, meaning "rising", implying the rising of the sun in the east,[2][4] and is broadly equivalent to the term Al-Mashriq (Arabic: الْمَشْرق‎, [ʔalmaʃriq])[5], meaning "the east, where the sun rises".[6]

In the 13th and 14th centuries, the term levante was used for Italian maritime commerce in the Eastern Mediterranean, including Greece, Anatolia, Syria-Palestine, and Egypt, that is, the lands east of Venice.[2] Eventually the term was restricted to the Muslim countries of Syria-Palestine and Egypt.[2] In 1581, England set up the Levant Company to monopolize commerce with the Ottoman Empire.[2] The name Levant States was used to refer to the French mandate over Syria and Lebanon after World War I.[2][4] This is probably the reason why the term Levant has come to be used more specifically to refer to modern Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, and Cyprus.[2] Some scholars misunderstood the term thinking that it derives from the name of Lebanon.[2] Today the term is often used in conjunction with prehistoric or ancient historical references. It has the same meaning as "Syria-Palestine" or Ash-Shaam (Arabic: الـشَّـام‎, /ʔaʃ-ʃaːm/), the area that is bounded by the Taurus Mountains of Turkey in the North, the Mediterranean Sea in the west, and the north Arabian Desert and Mesopotamia in the east.[7] Typically, it does not include Anatolia (also called Asia Minor), the Caucasus Mountains, or any part of the Arabian Peninsula proper. Cilicia (in Asia Minor) and the Sinai Peninsula (Asian Egypt) are sometimes included.

The term Levant was widely used to describe the region from the 18th to the mid-19th centuries, and has had steady but lower usage since the late 19th century;[8] several dictionaries consider it to be archaic today.[9][10][11] Both the noun Levant and the adjective Levantine are now commonly used to describe the ancient and modern culture area formerly called Syro-Palestinian or Biblical: archaeologists now speak of the Levant and of Levantine archaeology;[12][13][14][15] food scholars speak of Levantine cuisine;[16][17] and the Latin Christians of the Levant continue to be called Levantine Christians.[18]

The Levant has been described as the "crossroads of western Asia, the eastern Mediterranean, and northeast Africa",[19] and the "northwest of the Arabian plate".[20] The populations of the Levant[21][22] share not only the geographic position, but cuisine, some customs, and history. They are often referred to as Levantines.[23]

Levant
Levant
  Countries and regions of the Levant in the broad, historic meaning (equivalent to the eastern Mediterranean)[1]
  Countries of the Levant in 20th century usage[2]
  Countries and regions sometimes included in the 21st century
Countries and regionsNarrow definition:
 Cyprus
 Israel
 Iraq
 Jordan
 Lebanon
 Palestine
 Syria
 Turkey (Hatay Province)
Broad definition also includes:
 Egypt
 Greece
 Cyrenaica
 Turkey (whole territory)
PopulationNarrow definition: 44,550,926[a]
DemonymLevantine
LanguagesLevantine Arabic, Hebrew, Aramaic, Circassian, Greek, Armenian, Kurdish, Ladino, Turkish, Azerbaijani, Domari
Time ZonesUTC+02:00 (EET) (Turkey and Cyprus)
Largest cities

Etymology

Médaille commémorative de Syrie-Cilicie
French medal commemorating the war in Cilicia

The term Levant, which appeared in English in 1497, originally meant the East in general or "Mediterranean lands east of Italy".[24] It is borrowed from the French levant "rising", referring to the rising of the sun in the east,[24] or the point where the sun rises.[25] The phrase is ultimately from the Latin word levare, meaning 'lift, raise'. Similar etymologies are found in Greek Ἀνατολή (Anatolē, cf. Anatolia), in Germanic Morgenland (literally, "morning land"), in Italian (as in "Riviera di Levante", the portion of the Liguria coast east of Genoa), in Hungarian Kelet, in Spanish and Catalan Levante and Llevant, ("the place of rising"), and in Hebrew (Hebrew: מִזְרָח‎, mizrāḥ). Most notably, "Orient" and its Latin source oriens meaning "east", is literally "rising", deriving from Latin orior "rise".[26]

The notion of the Levant has undergone a dynamic process of historical evolution in usage, meaning, and understanding. While the term "Levantine" originally referred to the European residents of the eastern Mediterranean region, it later came to refer to regional "native" and "minority" groups.[27]

The term became current in English in the 16th century, along with the first English merchant adventurers in the region; English ships appeared in the Mediterranean in the 1570s, and the English merchant company signed its agreement ("capitulations") with the Ottoman Sultan in 1579.[28] The English Levant Company was founded in 1581 to trade with the Ottoman Empire, and in 1670 the French Compagnie du Levant was founded for the same purpose. At this time, the Far East was known as the "Upper Levant".[2]

Constantinople c. 1909
Postcard bearing a French stamp inscribed Levant

In early 19th-century travel writing, the term sometimes incorporated certain Mediterranean provinces of the Ottoman empire, as well as independent Greece (and especially the Greek islands). In 19th-century archaeology, it referred to overlapping cultures in this region during and after prehistoric times, intending to reference the place instead of any one culture. The French mandate of Syria and Lebanon (1920–1946) was called the Levant states.[2][4]

Geography and modern-day use of the term

Levant - Satellite
Satellite view of the Levant including Cyprus, Syria, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and the Northern Sinai

Today, "Levant" is the term typically used by archaeologists and historians with reference to the history of the region. Scholars have adopted the term Levant to identify the region due to it being a "wider, yet relevant, cultural corpus" that does not have the "political overtones" of Syria-Palestine.[b][c] The term is also used for modern events, peoples, states or parts of states in the same region,[29] namely Cyprus, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Turkey are sometimes considered Levant countries (compare with Near East, Middle East, Eastern Mediterranean and Western Asia). Several researchers include the island of Cyprus in Levantine studies, including the Council for British Research in the Levant,[30] the UCLA Near Eastern Languages and Cultures department,[31] Journal of Levantine Studies[32] and the UCL Institute of Archaeology,[19] the last of which has dated the connection between Cyprus and mainland Levant to the early Iron Age. Archaeologists seeking a neutral orientation that is neither biblical nor national have used terms such as Levantine archaeology and archaeology of the Southern Levant.[33][34]

While the usage of the term "Levant" in academia has been restricted to the fields of archeology and literature, there is a recent attempt to reclaim the notion of the Levant as a category of analysis in political and social sciences. Two academic journals were recently launched: Journal of Levantine Studies, published by the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and The Levantine Review, published by Boston College.

The word Levant has been used in some translations of the term ash-Shām as used by the organization known as ISIL, ISIS, and other names, though there is disagreement as to whether this translation is accurate.[35]

Politics and religion

A) Prince of Lebanon, Moslem of Damascus
Old Levantine Custom, Syrian and Lebanese men.

The largest religious group in the Levant are the Muslims and the largest cultural-linguistic group are Arabs, due to the Muslim conquest of the Levant in the 7th century and subsequent Arabization of the region.[36][37] Other large ethnic groups in the Levant include Jews, Kurds, Turkmens, Assyrians and Armenians.[38]

The majority of Muslim Levantines are Sunni, Alawi, or Shia Muslim. There are also Jews, Christians, Yazidi Kurds, Druze, and other smaller sects. [39]

Until the establishment of the modern State of Israel in 1948, Jews lived throughout the Levant alongside Muslims and Christians; since then, almost all have been expelled from their homes and sought refuge in Israel.

There are many Levantine Christian groups such as Greek, Oriental Orthodox (mainly Syriac Orthodox, Coptic, Georgian, and Maronite), Roman Catholic, Nestorian, and Protestant. Armenians mostly belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church. There are Levantines or Franco-Levantines who are mostly Roman Catholic. There are also Circassians, Turks, Samaritans, and Nawars. There are Assyrian peoples belonging to the Assyrian Church of the East (autonomous) and the Chaldean Catholic Church (Catholic).[40]

In addition, this region has a number of sites that are of religious significance, such as Al-Aqsa Mosque,[41] the Church of the Holy Sepulchre,[42] and the Western Wall[43] in Jerusalem.

Language

Levantine Arabic Map v4
Map representing the distribution of the Arabic dialects in the area of the Levant.

Most populations in the Levant speak Levantine Arabic (شامي, Šāmī), usually classified as the varieties North Levantine Arabic in Lebanon, Syria, and parts of Turkey, and South Levantine Arabic in Palestine and Jordan. Each of these encompasses a spectrum of regional or urban/rural variations. In addition to the varieties normally grouped together as "Levantine", a number of other varieties and dialects of Arabic are spoken in the Levant area, such as Levantine Bedawi Arabic and Mesopotamian Arabic.[44]

Among the languages of Israel, the official language is Hebrew; Arabic was until July 19, 2018, also an official language.[45] The Arab minority, in 2018 about 21% of the population of Israel,[45] speaks a dialect of Levantine Arabic essentially indistinguishable from the forms spoken in the Palestinian territories.

Of the languages of Cyprus, the majority language is Greek, followed by Turkish (in the north). Two minority languages are recognized: Armenian, and Cypriot Maronite Arabic, a hybrid of mostly medieval Arabic vernaculars with strong influence from contact with Greek, spoken by approximately 1000 people.[46]

Some communities and populations speak Aramaic, Greek, Armenian, Circassian, French, or English.

August Jochmus (freiherr von Cotignola)'s The Syrian War and the Decline of the Ottoman Empire, 1840-1848: In Reports, Documents, and Correspondences, Etc, Volume 1, published in 1883, stated that Italian was previously the most common western European language in the Levant, but that it was being replaced by French.[47]

See also

Overlapping regional designations

Sub-regional designations

Other

Other places in the east of a larger region

Notes

  1. ^ Population of 44,550,926 found by adding all the countries' populations (Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and Hatay Province)
  2. ^ "Nevertheless, despite such a well-reasoned basis for the identification of Levantine archaeology, the adoption of this term by many scholars has been, for the most part, simply the result of individual attempts to consider a wider, yet relevant, cultural corpus than that which is suggested by the use of terms like Canaan, Israel, or even Syria-Palestine. Regardless of the manner in which the term has come into common use, for a couple of additional reasons it seems clear that the Levant will remain the term of choice. In the first place scholars have shown a penchant for the term Levant, despite the fact that the term ‘Syria-Palestine’ has been advocated since the late 1970s. This is evident from the fact that no journal or series today has adopted a title that includes ‘Syria-Palestine’. However, the journal Levant has been published since 1969 and since 1990, Ägypten und Levante has also attracted a plethora of papers relating to the archaeology of this region. Furthermore, a search through any electronic database of titles reveals an overwhelming adoption of the term ‘Levant’ when compared to ‘Syria-Palestine’ for archaeological studies. Undoubtedly, this is mostly due to the fact that ‘Syria-Palestine’ was a Roman administrative division of the Levant created by Hadrian (Millar 1993). The term ‘Syria-Palestine’ also carries political overtones that inadvertently evoke current efforts to establish a full-fledged Palestinian state. Scholars have recognized, therefore, that—for at least the time being—they can spare themselves further headaches by adopting the term Levant to identify this region" (Burke 2010)
  3. ^ "At the beginning of this Introduction I have indicated how difficult it is to choose a general accepted name for the region this book deals with. In Europe we are used to the late Roman name 'Palestine,' and the designation 'Palestinian Archaeology' has a long history. According to Byzantine usage it included CisJordan and TransJordan and even Lebanon and Sinai. In modern times, however, the name 'Palestine' has exclusively become the political designation for a restricted area. Furthermore, in the period this book deals with a region called 'Palestine' did not yet exist. Also the ancient name 'Canaan' cannot be used as it refers to an older period in history. Designations as: 'The Land(s) of the Bible' or 'the Holy Land' evoke the suspicion of a theological bias. 'The Land of Israel' does not apply to the situation because it never included Lebanon or the greater part of modern Jordan. Therefore I have joined those who today advocate the designation 'Southern Levant.' Although I confess that it is an awkward name, it is at least strictly geographical." (Geus 2003, p. 6)

References

  1. ^ Gagarin 2009, p. 247; Encarta 2009, "Levant"; Oxford Dictionaries 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Gagarin 2009, p. 247
  3. ^ a b Oxford Dictionaries 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d Encarta 2009, "Levant"
  5. ^ Gagarin 2009, p. 247; Naim 2011, p. 921;
    • Amy Chua (2004), World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability p. 212;
    • Mandyam Srinivasan, Theodore Stank, Philippe-Pierre Dornier, Kenneth Petersen (2014), Global Supply Chains: Evaluating Regions on an EPIC Framework – Economy, Politics, Infrastructure, and Competence: “EPIC” Structure – Economy, Politics, Infrastructure, and Competence, p. 3;
    • Ayubi, Nazih N. (1996), Over-stating the Arab State: Politics and Society in the Middle East p. 108;
    • David Thomas, Alexander Mallett (2012), Christian-Muslim Relations. A Bibliographical History. Volume 4 (1200-1350), p. 145;
    • Jeff Lesser (1999), Negotiating National Identity: Immigrants, Minorities, and the Struggle for Ethnicity in Brazil p. 45
  6. ^ Naim 2011, p. 921.
  7. ^ Margreet L. Steiner; Ann E. Killebrew (2014). The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of the Levant: C. 8000-332 BCE. OUP Oxford. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-19-921297-2. The western coastline and the eastern deserts set the boundaries for the Levant... The Euphrates and the area around Jebel el-Bishrī mark the eastern boundary of the northern Levant, as does the Syrian Desert beyond the Anti-Lebanon range's eastern hinterland and Mount Hermon. This boundary continues south in the form of the highlands and eastern desert regions of Transjordan
  8. ^ Google Ngram Viewer plot
  9. ^ LEVANT archaic The eastern part of the Mediterranean with the islands and neighbouring countries. New Oxford Dictionary of English, 2nd ed., revised, 2005.
  10. ^ LEVANT, THE. A general term formerly given to the E shores of the Mediterranean Sea from W Greece to Egypt. The Penguin Encyclopedia, revised 2nd ed., 2004.
  11. ^ LEVANT, (vieilli) Le Levant: les pays, les régions qui sont au levant (par rapport à la France) et spécialt. les régions de la Méditerrranée orientale. Le Nouveau Petit Robert de la langue française, (1993 revised ed.).
  12. ^ Thomas Evan Levy, Historical Biblical Archaeology and the Future: The New Pragmatism, Routledge, 2016 ISBN 1134937466. Thomas E. Levy, "The New Pragmatism", p. 8: "after 1994, it is possible to see an increase in the use of the less geographically specific and more political [sic] neutral words 'Levant' or 'Levantine' in scholarly citations.... It is important to highlight the pedigree of the term 'Syro-Palestinian' and its gradual replacement by the term 'Levant' or 'Levantine' because the latter is a more culturally and politically neutral term that more accurately reflects the tapestry of countries and peoples of the region, without assuming directionality of cultural influence.". Aaron A. Burke, "The Archaeology of the Levant in North America: The Transformation of Biblical and Syro-Palestinian Archaeology" p. 82ff: "A number of factors account for the gradual emergence during the past two decades of what is now widely identified as Levantine archaeology in North America... a growing consensus regarding the appropriate terminology... archaeological field research in the Levant"
  13. ^ William G. Dever, The Lives of Ordinary People in Ancient Israel: When Archaeology and the Bible Intersect, 2012, ISBN 0802867014, p. 249: "Today, however, the discipline is often called Palestinian, Syro-Palestinian, or Levantine archaeology."
  14. ^ Ann E. Killebrew, Margreet Steiner, The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of the Levant: c. 8000-332 BCE (title), 2013 ISBN 9780199212972 doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199212972.001.0001
  15. ^ "levantine+archaeology"&cd_min:2000,cd_max:2099&tbm=bks Google search results
  16. ^ Mark Gasiorowski, The Government and Politics of the Middle East and North Africa, 2016 ISBN 081334994X, p. 5: "...today the term Levantine can describe shared cultural products, such as Levantine cuisine or Levantine archaeology"
  17. ^ "levantine+cuisine"&cd_min:2000,cd_max:2099&tbm=bks Google search results
  18. ^ Michel Elias Andraos, "Levantine Catholic Communities in the Diaspora at the Intersection of Many Identities and Worlds", in Michael L. Budde, Scattered and Gathered: Catholics in Diaspora, 2017 ISBN 1532607091 p. 24: "The word 'Levantine' in the title is used on purpose instead of the 'Middle East' or the 'Near East'.... I use 'Levantine' more than the two other designations, because this is the term being used more often nowadays by Christian communities in the Middle East to describe their shared identity as al-maseeheyoun al-mashriqeyoun, Levantine Christians"
  19. ^ a b The Ancient Levant, UCL Institute of Archaeology, May 2008
  20. ^ Egyptian Journal of Geology - Volume 42, Issue 1 - Page 263, 1998
  21. ^ "Ancient Ashkelon - National Geographic Magazine". Ngm.nationalgeographic.com. 2002-10-17. Retrieved 2011-10-17.
  22. ^ "The state of Israel: Internal influence driving change". BBC News. 2011-11-06.
  23. ^ Orfalea, Gregory The Arab Americans: A History. Olive Branch Press. Northampton, MA, 2006. Page 249
  24. ^ a b Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary. "Levant". Dictionary.com. Retrieved 2012-07-27.
  25. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition
  26. ^ Balme, Maurice; Morwood, James. "Chapter 36". Oxford Latin Course Part III (2nd ed.). p. 19.
  27. ^ "Journal of Levantine Studies". The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  28. ^ Braudel, p. .
  29. ^ e.g., "The Levant Crisis: Syria, Iraq, and the Region", Australian National University [1]; Center for Strategic and International Studies, "Egypt and the Levant", 2017 [2]; Michael Kerr, Craig Larkin, eds., The Alawis of Syria, 2015 ISBN 9780190458119
  30. ^ Sandra Rosendahl (2006-11-28). "Council for British Research in the Levant homepage". Cbrl.org.uk. Retrieved 2010-07-05.
  31. ^ Biblical and Levantine studies, UCLA
  32. ^ "About JLS". Journal of Levantine Studies.
  33. ^ Dever, William G. "Syro-Palestinian and Biblical Archaeology", pp. 1244-1253.
  34. ^ Sharon, Ilan "Biblical archaeology" in Encyclopedia of Archaeology Elsevier.
  35. ^ Irshaid, Faisal (2 December 2015). "Isis, Isil, IS or Daesh? One group, many names". BBC. Retrieved 21 July 2018.
  36. ^ Kennedy, Hugh N. (2007). The Great Arab Conquests: How the Spread of Islam Changed the World We Live In. Da Capo Press. p. 376. ISBN 978-0306817281.
  37. ^ Lapidus, Ira M. (13 October 2014) [1988]. A History of Islamic Societies (3rd ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 70. ISBN 978-0521514309.
  38. ^ Shoup, John A (2011-10-31). Ethnic Groups of Africa and the Middle East: An Encyclopedia. ISBN 9781598843620. Retrieved 26 May 2014.
  39. ^ "Levant (al-Shaam) - Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine and Jordan Religious Composition". The Gulf/2000 Project, School of International and Public Affairs of Columbia University. 2017. Retrieved 2018-08-31.
  40. ^ "Christian Population of Middle East in 2014". The Gulf/2000 Project, School of International and Public Affairs of Columbia University. 2017. Retrieved 2018-08-31.
  41. ^ 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.
  42. ^ "Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem". Jerusalem: Sacred-destinations.com. 2010-02-21. Retrieved 2012-07-07.
  43. ^ Frishman, Avraham; Kum Hisalech Be’aretz, Jerusalem, 2004
  44. ^ "Jordan and Syria". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2018-07-21.
  45. ^ a b "Israeli Law Declares the Country the 'Nation-State of the Jewish People'". Retrieved 2018-07-21.
  46. ^ Versteegh, Kees (2011). Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics. Brill. p. 541. ISBN 978-90-04-14976-2.
  47. ^ Jochmus, August freiherr von Cotignola). The Syrian War and the Decline of the Ottoman Empire, 1840-1848: In Reports, Documents, and Correspondences, Etc, Volume 1. A. Cohn, 1883. p. RA3-PA179.

Bibliography

  • Braudel, Fernand, The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Phillip II
  • Burke, Aaron (2010), "The Transformation of Biblical and Syro-Palestinian Archaeology", in Levy, Thomas Evan, Historical Biblical Archaeology and the Future: The New Pragmatism, London: Equinox
  • "Levant", Encarta, Microsoft, 2009
  • Geus, C. H. J. de (2003), Towns in Ancient Israel and in the Southern Levant, Peeters Publishers, p. 6, ISBN 978-90-429-1269-4
  • Gagarin, Michael (31 December 2009), Ancient Greece and Rome, 1, Oxford University Press, Incorporated, p. 247, ISBN 978-0-19-517072-6
  • Naim, Samia (2011), "Dialects of the Levant", in Weninger, Stefan; et al., The Semitic Languages: An International Handbook, Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter, p. 921
  • "Levant", Oxford Dictionaries Online, Oxford University Press

Further reading

  • Julia Chatzipanagioti: Griechenland, Zypern, Balkan und Levante. Eine kommentierte Bibliographie der Reiseliteratur des 18. Jahrhunderts. 2 Vol. Eutin 2006. ISBN 3-9810674-2-8
  • Levantine Heritage site. Includes many oral and scholarly histories, and genealogies for some Levantine Turkish families.
  • Philip Mansel, Levant: Splendour and Catastrophe on the Mediterranean, London, John Murray, 11 November 2010, hardback, 480 pages, ISBN 978-0-7195-6707-0, New Haven, Yale University Press, 24 May 2011, hardback, 470 pages, ISBN 978-0-300-17264-5

External links

Al-Nusra Front

Al-Nusra Front or Jabhat al-Nusra (Arabic: جبهة النصرة‎), known as Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (Arabic: جبهة فتح الشام‎) after July 2016, and also described as al-Qaeda in Syria or al-Qaeda in the Levant, was a Salafist jihadist organization fighting against Syrian government forces in the Syrian Civil War. Its aim was to establish an Islamic state in the country.Formed in 2012, in November of that year The Washington Post described al-Nusra as "the most aggressive and successful" of the rebel forces. In December 2012, the United States Department of State designated it a foreign terrorist organization, and in November 2013, it became the official Syrian branch of al-Qaeda.In March 2015, the group joined with other jihadist groups to form the Army of Conquest. In July 2016, al-Nusra formally re-branded as Jabhat Fatah al-Sham ("Front for the Conquest of the Levant").On 28 January 2017, following violent clashes with Ahrar al-Sham and other rebel groups, Jabhat Fatah al-Sham merged with four other groups to become Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.

Arab conquest of the Levant

The Muslim conquest of the Levant (Arabic: اَلْـفَـتْـحُ الْإٍسْـلَامِيُّ لِـلـشَّـامِ‎, Al-Faṫṫḥul-Islāmiyyuash-Shām) or Arab conquest of the Levant (Arabic: اَلْـفَـتْـحُ الْـعَـرَبِيُّ لِـلـشَّـامِ‎, Al-Faṫṫḥul-ʿArabiyyu Lish-Shām) occurred in the first half of the 7th century, and refers to the conquest of the region known as the Levant or Shaam (Arabic: شَـام‎, 'Syria'), later to become the Islamic Province of Bilad al-Sham, as part of the Islamic conquests. Arab Muslim forces had appeared on the southern borders even before the death of prophet Muhammad in 632, resulting in the Battle of Mu'tah in 629, but the real invasion began in 634 under his successors, the Rashidun Caliphs Abu Bakr and Umar ibn Khattab, with Khalid ibn al-Walid as their most important military leader.

Battle of Markada

The Battle of Markada (also spelled "Markadah" or "Markadahin") was a military confrontation between two jihadist groups, al Qaeda's al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), over the town of Markada in the Al-Hasakah Governorate, in March 2014 during the Syrian civil war. The strategic importance of the town to the ISIL lay in its position on the group's weapons supply route from Iraq, the road linking Al-Hasakah with Deir ez-Zor and a hill that dominates the surrounding area. On the ISIL side there were many Sunni Iranians, including Kurds, who played an important role in the battle.

Black Standard

The Black Banner or Black Standard (Arabic: الراية السوداء‎ al-rāyat as-sawdāʾ, also known as الراية العقاب al-rāyat al-ʻuqāb "banner of the eagle" or simply as ‏الراية‎ ar-rāyah "the banner") is one of the flags flown by Muhammad in Muslim tradition. It was historically used by Abu Muslim in his uprising leading to the Abbasid Revolution in 747 and is therefore associated with the Abbasid Caliphate in particular. It is also a symbol in Islamic eschatology (heralding the advent of the Mahdi).The Black Banner has been used in contemporary Islamism and jihadism since the late 1990s. A variant is commonly used as the flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

History of the ancient Levant

The Levant is a geographical term that refers to a large area in Southwest Asia, south of the Taurus Mountains, bounded by the Mediterranean Sea in the west, the Arabian Desert in the south, and Mesopotamia in the east. It stretches 400 miles north to south from the Taurus Mountains to the Sinai desert, and 70 to 100 miles east to west between the sea and the Arabian desert. The term is also sometimes used to refer to modern events or states in the region immediately bordering the eastern Mediterranean Sea: Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria.

The term normally does not include Anatolia (although at times Cilicia may be included), the Caucasus Mountains, Mesopotamia or any part of the Arabian Peninsula proper. The Sinai Peninsula is sometimes included, though it is more considered an intermediate, peripheral or marginal area forming a land bridge between the Levant and northern Egypt.

ISIL territorial claims

The core of the territory of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant was from 2014 until November 2017 in Iraq and Syria, where the organization controlled significant swathes of urban, rural, and desert territory. ISIL also controls land in Afghanistan, and used to control land in Libya, Nigeria, Egypt,, Yemen, possibly Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The group also has insurgent cells in Algeria, Iraq, Pakistan, Tunisia, the Caucasus, the Philippines and Saudi Arabia that do not control territory. As of September 2018, ISIL controls only 200 square miles (520 km2) of territory in Iraq and Syria, according to the US-led coalition against ISIL.In early 2017, ISIL controlled approximately 45,377 square kilometers (17,520 square miles) of territory in Iraq and Syria and 7,323 km2 of territory elsewhere, for a total of 52,700 square kilometres (20,300 sq mi). This represents a substantial decline from the group's territorial peak in late 2014, when it controlled between 100,000 square kilometres (39,000 sq mi) and 110,000 square kilometres (42,000 sq mi) of territory in total. ISIL's territory has declined substantially in almost every country since 2014, a result of the group's unpopularity and the military action taken against it. ISIL propaganda claims a peak territorial extent of 282,485 km2.The majority of ISIL-controlled territory, though much-diminished, continues to be in eastern Syria, in addition to isolated pockets elsewhere in the country. The majority of the terrorist group's territory, population, revenue, and prestige came from the territory it held in Iraq and Syria. In Afghanistan, ISIL mostly controls territory near the Pakistan border and has lost 87% of its territory since spring 2015. In Libya, the group has lost nearly 100% of its territory, and as of 2017 controls only a handful of villages and neighborhoods. In Egypt, the group controls 910 km2 of land centered around the village of Sheikh Zuweid, which represents less than 1% of Egypt's territory. The terrorists control 6,041 km2 of territory in Nigeria, although the Nigerian government does not acknowledge the group as holding any land. The group has lost 75% of its Nigerian territory since 2014 and has fallen back to its strongholds in northeast Borno State.

Inter-rebel conflict during the Syrian Civil War

The inter-rebel conflict during the Syrian Civil War has continued throughout the Syrian Civil War as factions of the Syrian opposition and Free Syrian Army have fought with shifting alliances among Islamist factions such as Jabhat al Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham, Jaysh al-Islam and the Islamic Front.

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 al-Sham, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS ), officially known as the Islamic State (IS) and by its Arabic language acronym Daesh (Arabic: داعش‎ 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. The group proclaimed itself a worldwide caliphate and began referring to itself as the Islamic State (الدولة الإسلامية ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyah) or IS in June 2014. As a caliphate, it claims 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.

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Caucasus Province

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Caucasus Province (Arabic: الدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام - ولاية القوقاز‎, ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyah fī 'l-ʿIrāq wa-sh-Shām – Wilayah al-Qawqaz Russian: Вилаят Кавказ Исламского государство Ирака и Леванта, Vilayat Kavkaz Islamskogo gosudarstvo Iraka i Levanta), also known as ISIL-CP or Vilayat Kavkaz, is a branch of the militant Islamist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), active in the North Caucasus region of Russia. ISIL announced the group's formation on 23 June 2015 and appointed Rustam Asildarov as its leader.

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Sinai Province

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Sinai Province (Arabic: الدولة الإسلاميةولاية سيناء‎, ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyah fī 'l-ʿIrāq wa-sh-Shām – Wilayah Sīnāʼ), or ISIL-SP, is a militant Islamist group active in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt.

Ansar Bait al-Maqdis (ABM) has been part of the Sinai insurgency and had been especially active in the Sinai since 2011 after the deterioration of security there, focusing its efforts on Israel and the Arab gas pipeline to Jordan. After former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was deposed in the 2013 Egyptian coup d'état, Egypt also began conducting a crackdown on jihadist groups in Sinai and elsewhere. ABM and other jihadist groups intensified their campaign of attacks on Egyptian security forces. On 13 November 2014, ABM pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and adopted the name Sinai Province (Wilayah Sīnāʼ) claiming to be a branch of ISIL.The leader of the group is Abu Osama al-Masri, but not much personal information is available.

Khalid ibn al-Walid Army

The Khalid ibn al-Walid Army (Arabic: جيش خالد بن الوليد‎ Jaysh Khalid ibn al-Waleed) was an armed Salafi jihadist group active in southern Syria. It was formed by a merger of the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, the Islamic Muthanna Movement, and the Army of Jihad, all affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, on 21 May 2016. The faction controlled a strip of territory southeast of the Golan Heights, and was in conflict with other forces of the Syrian rebels. The group was defeated and lost all of its territory to the Syrian Government on July 31, 2018, with many members surrendering. Many captured members of the Khalid Bin Walid Army were executed on the same day.

Levant Company

The Levant Company was an English chartered company formed in 1592. Elizabeth I of England approved its initial charter on 11 September 1581 when the Venice Company (1583) and the Turkey Company (1581) merged, because their charters had expired, as she was anxious to maintain trade and political alliances with the Ottoman Empire.

Its initial charter was good for seven years and was granted to Edward Osborne, Richard Staper, Thomas Smith and William Garret with the purpose of regulating English trade with the Ottoman Empire and the Levant. The company remained in continuous existence until being superseded in 1825. A member of the company was known as a Turkey Merchant.

Levant mole

The Levant mole (Talpa levantis) is a species of mammal in the family Talpidae. It is found in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Russia, Iran and Turkey.

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.

Operation al-Shabah

Operation al-Shabah (Arabic: عملية الشبح‎, lit. 'Operation Phantom') was launched in May 2013 by the Iraqi Army, with the stated aim of severing contact between the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and the al-Nusra Front in Syria by clearing militants from the border area with Syria and Jordan.

Palestinian

Palestinian is typically referring to a person belonging to the Palestinian people, an Arab ethnonational group defined in the Palestinian National Charter of 1968, also referred to as Palestinians (Arabic: الفلسطينيون‎, al-Filasṭīniyyūn).

It may also refer to:

Religious groupsPalestinian Muslims, an ethnoreligious group native to the area of Palestine, in the Levant

Palestinian Christians, an ethnoreligious group native to the area of Palestine, in the Levant

Palestinian Jews, an ethnoreligious group native to the area of Palestine, in the LevantCommunities outside the State of PalestinePalestinians in Iraq

Palestinians in Jordan

Palestinians in Lebanon

Palestinians in Syria

Palestinian American

Palestinian diaspora

Palestinian refugeeGeographic areasState of Palestine, a state in the Middle East

Palestinian territories

Palestine region

Mandatory Palestine, a British Mandate established from 1920 - 1948Political bodiesAll-Palestine Government, the administration in Gaza from 1948 - 1959

Palestinian Central Council, a policy decision arm of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO)

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), an organization founded in 1964 to liberate Palestine

Palestinian National Authority, an interim self-government body administering the Gaza strip from 1994 - 2013

Palestine National Council, the legislative body of the PLO

PLO Executive Committee, the highest executive body of the PLOFor specific persons, see List of Palestinians

Persecution of Christians by ISIL

The Genocide of Christians by ISIL refers to the persecution of Christian minorities, within its region of control in Iraq, Syria and Libya by the Islamic extremist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Persecution of Christian minorities climaxed following its takeover of parts of Northern Iraq in June 2014.According to US diplomat Alberto M. Fernandez, "While the majority of victims in the conflict raging in Syria and Iraq have been Muslims, Christians have borne a heavy burden given their small numbers."On February 3, 2016, the European Union recognized the persecution of Christians by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant as genocide. The vote was unanimous. The United States followed suit on March 15, 2016, declaring these atrocities as genocide. The vote was unanimous. On April 20, 2016, British Parliament voted unanimously to denounce the actions as genocide. A similar motion however failed in Canada when it was opposed by the majority of MP's in Justin Trudeau's Liberal government.

Southern Levant

The Southern Levant is a geographical region encompassing the southern half of the Levant. It corresponds approximately to modern-day Israel, Palestine, and Jordan; some definitions also include southern Lebanon, southern Syria and/or the Sinai Peninsula. As a strictly geographical description, it is sometimes used by archaeologists and historians to avoid the religious and political connotations of other names for the area.

Like much of Southwestern Asia, the Southern Levant is an arid region consisting mostly of desert and dry steppe, with a thin strip of wetter, temperate climate along the Mediterranean coast. Geographically it is dominated by the Jordan Valley, a section of the Great Rift Valley bisecting the region from north to south, and containing the Sea of Galilee, the Jordan River and the Dead Sea – the lowest point on the earth's land surface.

The Southern Levant has a long history and is one of the areas of the world most intensively investigated by archaeologists. It is considered likely to be the first place that both early hominins and modern humans colonised outside of Africa. Consequently, it has a rich Stone Age archaeology, stretching back as early as 1.5 million years ago. With one of the earliest sites for urban settlements of humans, it also corresponds to the western parts of the Fertile Crescent.

Transjordan (region)

Transjordan, the East Bank, or the Transjordanian Highlands (Arabic: شرق الأردن‎), is the part of the Southern Levant east of the Jordan River, mostly contained in present-day Jordan.

The region, known as Transjordan, was controlled by numerous powers throughout history. During the early modern era, the region of Transjordan was included under jurisdiction of Ottoman Syrian provinces. During World War I, Transjordan region was taken by the British, who had temporarily included it in OETA. Initially, the area was directly governed by the British, who decided to divide Transjordan region into 3 administrative districts – Ajloun, Balqa and Karak, with only Ma'an and Tabuk granted under direct rule of the Hashemites; however shortly the Hashemite ruler Abdullah was granted nominal rule over all districts. Central government was established in Transjordan in 1921 and in 1922 the region became known as the Emirate of Transjordan, receiving full autonomy in 1929. In 1946, the Emirate achieved independence from the British and in 1952 the country changed its name to the "Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan".

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