Located on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, and ranging to the upper Euphrates River, Syria has long been a crossroads between the Mediterranean world and the Middle East.
During various ancient periods, this was the land of the Amorites, the Phoenicians, and the Hebrews. The region suffered invasions by many foreign conquerors. The Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans all made Syria a part of their empires.
Arabs conquered Syria in the seventh century, and the Turks in the eleventh century. The region was a battleground during the Crusades, but it remained in Turkish hands until after World War I, when it came under French rule. In 1944, Syria at last became an independent nation.
Syria is about the size of North Dakota. It has a population of about 8 million. Much of the nation is desert, and about a quarter of all Syrians live in the two cities of Damascus and Aleppo. Damascus, located at an oasis about 70 miles from the Mediterranean, has been called the oldest capital city on earth.
Damascus was mentioned in Genesis, the first book of the Bible, and has been continuously inhabited since around 2500 B.C.!