Syrian people
The Syrian people are the inhabitants and citizens of Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

. Syrians are tied together by geography, linguistic heritage, religion, and similar Eastern Mediterranean
Eastern Mediterranean
The Eastern Mediterranean is a term that denotes the countries geographically to the east of the Mediterranean Sea. This region is also known as Greater Syria or the Levant....

 ethnicities. Most Syrians reside primarily in Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

; however 17 million Syrians live outside of Syria and they stay connected to their cultural roots by watching Syrian satellite television, listening to Syrian music
Music of Syria
The music of Syria largely emanates from the country's capital and largest city, Damascus. The city has long been one of the Arab world's centers for cultural and artistic innovation, especially in the field of classical Arab music. Syria has also produced several pan-Arab stars, including George...

 and preparing Syrian cuisine.

Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

, the capital of Syria, is one of the most continuously inhabited cities in the world (for 8000 years straight, Syrians inhabited Damascus), and a large percentage of Damascenes are the descendents of the early inhabitants of Damascus.


Arabic is the mother tongue of some 90% of Syrians as well as the official state language. The Syrian dialect, which belongs to the same Eastern Mediterranean-Levantine family tree of dialects, varies little from Modern Standard Arabic; however it is uniquely different from the other Arabic vernaculars in that it is saturated with Aramaic, Syriac, Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

, Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

, and Phoenician words. However, the standardized form of Arabic, used in formal settings throughout the Arab world
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

, contains the same vocabulary and grammar for all Arab countries. Kurdish
Kurdish language
Kurdish is a dialect continuum spoken by the Kurds in western Asia. It is part of the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian group of Indo-European languages....

, Turkish, and Circassian
Circassian language
Circassian language may refer to:* any of the Northwest Caucasian languages* in a more narrow sense,** the Adyghe language ** the Kabardian language...

 is also spoken in Syria by their respective minority communities. Assyrian Neo-Aramaic
Assyrian Neo-Aramaic
Assyrian Neo-Aramaic is a Neo-Aramaic dialect, spoken by an estimated 220,000 people , formerly in the area between Lake Urmia, north-western Iran, and Siirt, south-eastern Turkey, but now more widely throughout the...

, a direct decendent of the Aramaic of Jesus Christ, is still spoken in ancient Christian village of Ma'loula as well as widely understood within many other Syrian-Christian communities -- all of whom use Syriac as a liturgical language. English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

, and to a lesser extent French
Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication...

, is widely understood and used in interactions with tourists and other foreigners.


Religious differences in Syria have historically been tolerated, and religious minorities tend to retain distinct cultural, and religious identities.
Sunni Islam is the religion of 74% of Syrians. The Alawites, an ancient off-shoot of Shia Islam that is distinct from Sunni Islam, make up 8% of the population and mostly live in and around Latakia
Latakia, or Latakiyah , is the principal port city of Syria, as well as the capital of the Latakia Governorate. In addition to serving as a port, the city is a manufacturing center for surrounding agricultural towns and villages...

. Christians make up 10% of the country. Most Syrian Christians adhere to the Byzantine liturgical rites
Byzantine Rite
The Byzantine Rite, sometimes called the Rite of Constantinople or Constantinopolitan Rite is the liturgical rite used currently by all the Eastern Orthodox Churches, by the Greek Catholic Churches , and by the Protestant Ukrainian Lutheran Church...

, the two largest are the Greek Orthodox and the Greek Catholic
Melkite Greek Catholic Church
The Melkite Greek Catholic Church is an Eastern Catholic Church in full communion with the Holy See as part of the worldwide Catholic Church. The Melkites, Byzantine Rite Catholics of mixed Eastern Mediterranean and Greek origin, trace their history to the early Christians of Antioch, Syria, of...

 churches. The Druze
The Druze are an esoteric, monotheistic religious community, found primarily in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, which emerged during the 11th century from Ismailism. The Druze have an eclectic set of beliefs that incorporate several elements from Abrahamic religions, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism...

, are a mountainous people who reside in Jebel Druze. The Druze, who helped spark the Great Syrian Revolt, are known as fierce soldiers. The Ismailis are an even smaller sect, that originated in Asia. A small number of Armenian Christians fled Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 during the Armenian Genocide and settled in Syria. The Kurds, although Sunni Muslim, are very secular and have a distinct language. The Circassians, are of North Caucasus
North Caucasus
The North Caucasus is the northern part of the Caucasus region between the Black and Caspian Seas and within European Russia. The term is also used as a synonym for the North Caucasus economic region of Russia....

 origin and are mostly Sunni Muslim, following the Hanafi
The Hanafi school is one of the four Madhhab in jurisprudence within Sunni Islam. The Hanafi madhhab is named after the Persian scholar Abu Hanifa an-Nu‘man ibn Thābit , a Tabi‘i whose legal views were preserved primarily by his two most important disciples, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad al-Shaybani...

 school of thought. The Circassians number about 100 000 and mostly live in northern Syria. The nomadic Beduoin lead a lifestyle that keeps them largely separated from the rest of society, herding sheep and moving through the desert, although some have settled in towns and villages. One group that remains on the outside of society both politically and socially, is the roughly 100,000 Palestinian
Palestinian people
The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs , are an Arabic-speaking people with origins in Palestine. Despite various wars and exoduses, roughly one third of the world's Palestinian population continues to reside in the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza...

 refugees, who were expelled from their homeland in 1948 after the creation of Israel.


As a Mediterranean people, the Syrian people are a mosaic of West and East. Conservative and liberally minded people will live right next each other, and hold debates with each other. Like the other countries in the region, religion permeates life; the government registers every Syrian's religious affiliation.


Syrian cuisine is dominated by Mediterranean ingredients. Olive oil
Olive oil
Olive oil is an oil obtained from the olive , a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin. It is commonly used in cooking, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and soaps and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps...

, garlic
Allium sativum, commonly known as garlic, is a species in the onion genus, Allium. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, chive, and rakkyo. Dating back over 6,000 years, garlic is native to central Asia, and has long been a staple in the Mediterranean region, as well as a frequent...

, olives, peppermint
Peppermint is a hybrid mint, a cross between the watermint and spearmint . The plant, indigenous to Europe, is now widespread in cultivation throughout all regions of the world...

, and sesame oil
Sesame oil
Sesame oil is an edible vegetable oil derived from sesame seeds. Besides being used as a cooking oil in South India, it is often used as a flavor enhancer in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and to a lesser extent Southeast Asian cuisine.The oil from the nutrient rich seed is popular in alternative...

 are some of the ingredients that are used in many traditional meals. Traditional Syrian dishes enjoyed by Syrians include, tabouleh, labaneh, shanklish
Shanklish , also known as shinklish, shankleesh, sorke, or sürke, is a type of cow's milk or sheep milk cheese in Levantine. It is typically formed into balls of approximately 6 cm diameter, which are often covered in za'atar and Aleppo pepper, and then aged and dried...

, wara enab
Dolma is a family of stuffed vegetable dishes in the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire and surrounding regions such as Russia, Middle East and the Caucasus and Central and South Asia. Perhaps the best-known is the grape-leaf dolma. Common vegetables to stuff include onion, zucchini, eggplant,...

, makdous
Makdous are oil cured eggplants. Part of Levantine cuisine, they are tiny, tangy eggplants stuffed with walnuts, red pepper, garlic, olive oil and salt. Sometimes chilli powder is added....

, kebab
Kebab is a wide variety of meat dishes originating in Middle East and later on adopted by the Middle East, and Asia Minor, and now found worldwide. In English, kebab with no qualification generally refers more specifically to shish kebab served on the skewer...

, sfiha
Sfihah or lahm bi`ajin , also known as Arab or Chaldean Pizza, is a pizza-like dish originating from the Levant , and introduced in Brazil, Mexico and Argentina by Levantine immigrants ....

, moutabal
Baba ghanoush
Baba ghanoush, baba ganush, baba ghannouj or baba ghannoug is a Levantine dish of aubergine mashed and mixed with virgin olive oil and various seasonings. A popular preparation method is for the eggplant to be baked or broiled over an open flame before peeling, so that the pulp is soft and has a...

, hummus
Hummus is high in iron and vitamin C and also has significant amounts of folate and vitamin B6. The chickpeas make it a good source of protein and dietary fiber; the tahini consists mostly of sesame seeds, which are an excellent source of the amino acid methionine, complementing the proteins in the...

, maneesh, bameh, and fatoush.
Before the main courses, Syrians eat maza
Meze or mezze is a selection of small dishes served in the Mediterranean and Middle East as dinner or lunch, with or without drinks. In Levantine cuisines and in the Caucasus region, meze is served at the beginning of all large-scale meals....

, which is basically an appetizer. Syrian Muslim men are more likely to drink tea with their maza; whereas Syrian Christian men prefer to drink Arak with their maza.

Famous people from Syrian ancestry

  • Rosemary Barkett
    Rosemary Barkett
    Rosemary Barkett is a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Prior to her nomination for that post, she was Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court, where she was the first woman ever to serve on that court.- Background :Barkett has had an unusual career...

     (born 1939), was the first woman to serve on the Florida Supreme Court, and the first woman Chief Justice of that court. She currently serves as a federal judge
    Federal judge
    Federal judges are judges appointed by a federal level of government as opposed to the state / provincial / local level.-Brazil:In Brazil, federal judges of first instance are chosen exclusively by public contest...

     on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
    United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
    The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the district courts in the following districts:* Middle District of Alabama...

  • Hala Gorani
    Hala Gorani
    Hala Basha-Gorani , is an American anchor/correspondent for CNN International based in the network's headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. She anchors CNN Internationals 1 p.m. ET International Desk from the CNN Center...

     (born March 1, 1970), is a news anchor
    News presenter
    A news presenter is a person who presents news during a news program in the format of a television show, on the radio or the Internet.News presenters can work in a radio studio, television studio and from remote broadcasts in the field especially weather...

     and correspondent
    A correspondent or on-the-scene reporter is a journalist or commentator, or more general speaking, an agent who contributes reports to a newspaper, or radio or television news, or another type of company, from a remote, often distant, location. A foreign correspondent is stationed in a foreign...

     for CNN International
    CNN International
    CNN International is an international English language television network that carries news, current affairs, politics, opinions, and business programming worldwide. CNN is one of the world's largest news organizations. It is owned by Time Warner, and is affiliated with CNN, which is mainly...

  • Steve Jobs
    Steve Jobs
    Steven Paul Jobs was an American businessman and inventor widely recognized as a charismatic pioneer of the personal computer revolution. He was co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Apple Inc...

     (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011), was the co-founder and former CEO
    Chief executive officer
    A chief executive officer , managing director , Executive Director for non-profit organizations, or chief executive is the highest-ranking corporate officer or administrator in charge of total management of an organization...

     of Apple, the largest Disney
    The Walt Disney Company
    The Walt Disney Company is the largest media conglomerate in the world in terms of revenue. Founded on October 16, 1923, by Walt and Roy Disney as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, Walt Disney Productions established itself as a leader in the American animation industry before diversifying into...

     shareholder, and a member of Disney's Board of Directors
    Board of directors
    A board of directors is a body of elected or appointed members who jointly oversee the activities of a company or organization. Other names include board of governors, board of managers, board of regents, board of trustees, and board of visitors...

    . Jobs was considered a leading figure in both the computer
    Computer industry
    Computer industry is a collective term used to describe the whole range of businesses involved in developing computer software, designing computer hardware and computer networking infrastructures, the manufacture of computer components and the provision of information technology services.-See...

     and entertainment industries.
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