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Saturday 2nd August
Syria Facts
In ancient times Syria formed part of the area known as the Fertile Crescent.

Tel Abu Hureyra, a settlement founded by the Euphrates River 13,500 years ago, is one of the best known early centers of agricultural development.

The remains of people who lived in Abu Hureyra between ten thousand and seven thousand years ago were excavated in 1972 and 1973. Shortly after, the area was flooded by Lake Assad, the reservoir for the Tabqa Dam.

The culture of the people who lived in the ancient city of Ebla rivalled that of Egypt.

Clay tablets inscribed with cuneiform script, an early form of writing, have been found in Ebla.

The ancient city of Ugarit (Ras Shamra) was excavated in 1929 and the ancient city of Mari (Tel Hariri), near the Euphrates river, was discovered in 1932.

The world's oldest alphabet is said to have originated in Ugarit.

Archaeologists think that the site of Tell Hamoukar, near the Syrian-Iraqi border, dates the development of cities in the region much earlier than generally accepted.

Tell Hamoukar dates from around 3,500 BC. The first Eyptian pyramids were not built until a thousand years later.

Syria's City of Aleppo, famous for its citadel, is said to be five thousand years old.

Satellite images of Syria and northern Iraq show evidence of major roads used over four thousand years ago. These ancient roads connected civilisations such as those in Aleppo (Syria) and Ninevah (Iraq).

Palmyra, the city of palm trees, has been inhabited since Neolithic times.

Palmyra was a place where merchants' caravans stopped to rest on the old trade routes between China, Persia (Iran) and the Roman Empire.

Zenobia, the Queen of Palmyra, was famous for fighting against the Roman Empire.

Damascus has been inhabited for over four thousand years and is one of the oldest cities in the world.

Posidonius, the Greek stoic philosopher, was born in Apamea in Syria.

St. Paul was converted from Judaism to Christianity after a vision on the road to Damascus.

Paul set up a Christian Church in Antioch in ancient Syria.

Syria was conquered by the Islamic Umayyads in 636.

Bath houses, or hammams, were built in Syria during Ottoman rule. Visiting hammams is popular among older men.

Ottoman rule lasted from 1516 until the First World War (1914-1918) when the Turks were defeated by Arab, British and French armies.

T. E. Lawrence started work as an archaeologist in Syria. Known as Lawrence of Arabia, Lawrence fought with the Arabs against the Turks during the Great War (1914-1918).

Syria (and Lebanon) came under a League of Nations Mandate and France was given responsibility for the area.

Syria became independent on 17 April 1946.

In March 2011, at a time of unrest across the Arab world, protesters demanded political reform.

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