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The Romans took over in 64 B. Cistoms Arabs conquered Damascus in C. Beginning inSyria was a target of the Crusades, but the Arabs ultimately defeated the Christian invaders. The Turkish Ottoman Empire took dxting in and ruled the area for four hundred years. The French drew a straight-line border to separate this territory from British-ruled Transjordan. Syria had experienced a brief period of independence from —, and was dissatisfied with French rule, which ignored the will of the people datijg did little for the country as a whole. There was a brief insurrection in andwhich the French put down by bombing Damascus. Syria held its first parliamentary Syrian dating customs in All the candidates were hand-picked by the French, but once elected, they declined the constitution France had proposed for the country.
Anti-French sentiment grew when France turned over control of the Syrian province of Alexandretta to Turkey. It was Syran by the promise of independence inwhich was cjstoms delivered until five years later. After independence, civilian rule was short-lived, and the early s saw a succession of coups, after which Syria formed the United Arab Republic with Egypt in This represented an effort to keep datingg Arab states more powerful than Israel, but it disintegrated inwhen Syria came to resent the concentration of power in Egypt. The disbanding was followed by further political instability. Hafez al-Assad, the leader of a radical wing of the Arab Socialist party, the Baath, seized control in He cracked down hard on dissent and in killed thousands of members of the the Muslim Brotherhood opposition organization.
However, his tight-reined rule averted the civil war and political anarchy that plagued Middle Eastern countries such as Lebanon. Inhe won his fourth consecutive bid for election with During the Gulf War in the early s, the country aligned itself with the anti-Iraq coalition, thus winning the approval of the United States and removing itself from the United States' government's list of nations supporting international terrorism. Hafez al-Assad died in June The younger of his two sons, Bashar, assumed his father's position. Syrians tend to identify primarily with their religious group or sect; however, as the majority of the country is Sunni Muslim, this creates a strong feeling of cultural unity.
Modern-day Syria is in part the result of geographic lines drawn by the French inand there is still a strong pan-Arab sympathy that defines national identity beyond the current borders. The current map was also redrawn inwhen Israel took the Golan Heights, a previously Syrian territory, and the national identity is based in part on the concept of defending and reclaiming this land. Syria is ethnically fairly homogeneous 80 percent of the population is Arab. Religious differences are tolerated, and minorities tend to retain distinct ethnic, cultural, and religious identities. The Alawite Muslims about a half-million people live in the area of Latakia.
The Druze, a smaller group that resides in the mountainous region of Jebel Druze, are known as fierce soldiers. The Ismailis are an even smaller sect, that originated in Asia. The Armenians from Turkey are Christian. The Kurds are Muslim but have a distinct culture and language, for which they have been persecuted throughout the Middle East. The Circassians, who are Muslim, are of Russian origin and generally have fair hair and skin. 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.
Another group that remains on the outside of society both politically and socially, is the roughlyPalestinian refugees, who left their homeland in after the founding of Israel.
Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space The focal dting of any Middle Eastern city is the souk, or marketplace, a labyrinthine space of alleys, stalls, and tiny shops that also include Syian mosques and shrines. Traditionally, dwting residential quarters of datung city were divided along ethnic and religious lines. Today, this system has been largely replaced by divisions along class lines, with some wealthier dqting and some poorer ones. Damascus is an ancient city, and along with Aleppo, one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the world. The Great Omayyad Mosque, which dates back to the early days of Islam, custom one of its oldest and most famous buildings.
It formerly served as a Byzantine church honoring Saint John custo,s Baptist and was constructed on the site of an old temple to custpms gods. The walls are lined with marble and overlaid with golden vines. Customd hundred gold lamps hang from the ceiling. The city is cusoms to ruins as well as intact buildings that date back thousands of years. These structures are located in the ddating called the Old City. Damascus is also dafing city of cars, highways, and tall modern buildings made of reinforced concrete. Aleppo, although smaller, is equally ancient. It is geographically protected by its elevation and Syeian terrain, xating traces its history back custosm its days as a Chat like omegle porn sex free. Today Aleppo is the nation's second largest Strian center and most industrialized city.
It engages in silk weaving and cotton printing as well as the tanning of animal hides and the processing of produce. Other cities include Latakia, the fustoms main port, and Homs and Tartus, both of which have oil refineries. In villages, houses present a closed front to the outside world, symbolizing the self-contained family unit. They cudtoms small, usually with one to Syria Syrian dating customs, and are built around an enclosed central courtyard. Sexting milfs rural houses in the northwest are mud structures sating are shaped like beehives. In the south cuwtoms east, most houses are made of stone. The nomadic Bedouin, who live mainly in the south and east, sleep in tents that are easily transportable.
In30 percent of the population lived in cities; inthat proportion was 46 percent; and bythe number had climbed to half. Most of this growth has been concentrated in Damascus. The rapid spread of that city into nearby farmland has resulted in traffic congestion, overtaxed water supplies, pollution, and housing shortages. Many older buildings have been taken down to make room for roads and newer structures. The outskirts of the city have become overrun with quickly and shoddily constructed homes that sometimes have electricity but rarely have running water or sewage facilities.
Food and Economy Food in Daily Life. Wheat is the main crop and one of the staple foods. Vegetables, fruits, and dairy products also are eaten. Lamb is popular, but most people cannot afford to eat meat on a regular basis. Islam proscribes the consumption of pork, and other meats must be specially prepared in a method called halal cooking. In middle-class and wealthier homes, meals are like those eaten in other Middle Eastern countries: A mezzeh is a midday meal composed of up to twenty or thirty small dishes. These dishes can include hummousa puree of chickpeas and tahini ground sesame paste ; baba ganouj, an eggplant puree; meat rissoles; stuffed grape leaves; tabouleh a salad of cracked wheat and vegetables ; falafel deep-fried balls of mashed chickpeas ; and pita bread.
Olives, lemon, parsley, onion, and garlic are used for flavoring. Popular fruits that are grown in the region include dates, figs, plums, and watermelons. Damascus has a number of French restaurants remaining from the time of colonial rule. Tea is the ubiquitous drink and is often consumed at social gatherings. Soda is also very popular, as is milk and a drink made by mixing yogurt with water, salt, and garlic. Alcohol consumption is rare, as it is forbidden by the Islamic religion, but beer and wine are available, as is arak, an aniseed drink that also is popular in other Middle Eastern countries.
Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. Food is an important part of many celebrations. During Ramadan, each day's fast is broken with an evening meal called iftar. This meal begins in silence and is consumed rapidly. Eid al-Fitr, the final breaking of the Ramadan fast, entails the consumption of large quantities of food, sweets in particular. Food is also a central element at weddings, parties, and other festivities. The country supplies almost all of its own food needs. The proportion of the population working in agriculture has decreased significantly from 50 percent into 30 percent in the s, to 23 percent today.
Despite this decline, production has increased, thanks in large part to the dam at Tabqa, which has allowed for increased irrigation. Half of the workforce is employed in industry and mining. There is less of a gap between the rich and the poor in Syria than there is in many other countries, and as more of the population gains access to education, the middle class continues to expand. The basic unit of currency is the pound. Land Tenure and Property. Before independence, urban landlords controlled the countryside, often mistreating the peasants and denying them any rights.
The majority of peasants worked as sharecroppers and were economically and politically powerless. When the socialist Baath Party took control, it introduced measures to limit and redistribute land ownership and establish peasant unions. It also set up local governing organizations and cooperatives, that have allowed the peasants to attain more control of their lives and livelihood. The center of commercial activity in each town or city is the souk. People from all walks of life and all ethnic and religious backgrounds come together to buy and sell a wide variety of goods.
Spices, meats, vegetables, cloth, traditional handicrafts, and imported products jostle for space in the crowded booths and alleyways. Souks are not just commercial centers but gathering places as well, and haggling is a necessary part of social interactions. Shopping centers and supermarkets exist but have not supplanted this uniquely Arab institution. The main industries are oil, agriculture, and textiles. Wheat is the largest crop, followed by cotton. Vegetables, beans, and fruits The busy Liberation Square in Damascus.
The city is one of the oldest inhabited places in the world, but now it is also a very modern city. There is some heavy industry metallurgy and aluminum as well as pharmaceuticals and petrochemicals. The oil industry is controlled by the government. Other manufactures include cement, glass, soap, and tobacco. Syria's primary trading partners are Germany, Italy, and France. Although Syria is not as rich in oil as other Middle Eastern nations, oil is the main export, and the exploration for deposits continues. Other exports are cotton, fruits and vegetables, and textiles. Imports include industrial and agricultural machinery, vehicles and automotive accessories, pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, and fabric.
Syrians are legally entitled to pursue the career of their choice; however, those choices are often limited by gender, family, social pressure, and economic hardship. There is often relatively little difference in the salaries of the working class and those of the professional class. Social Stratification Classes and Castes. Syrian society was traditionally extremely stratified. People from different classes generally do not socialize with one another, and people in the lower classes often adopt a humble attitude and an acceptance of their position. Class lines tend to coincide with racial differences, as lighter-skinned people hold higher economic and political positions and most of the people in the lower-ranked professions are darker-skinned.
The Free cybersex skype chat of landholders and merchants traditionally occupied the highest position socially and politically. They usually lived in Damascus or Aleppo and managed their land from afar. Religious teachers known as ulama were also influential. They served as judges, teachers, and political officials as well as advisers to the Syrian dating customs. In this role, the ulama generally supported the status quo. The towns and cities also housed artisans, small merchants, and a small working class. The Baath government has created some shifts in that pattern. Some peasants are moving to the cities and joining the middle class; others now own land.
However, there are still large numbers of indigent and landless peasants. Since the Baath takeover, the army officers who participated in the coup have succeeded the landowners as the new elite. There is also a growing middle class as a result of the spread of education. Symbols of Social Stratification. The wealthy and well educated have a fairly modern lifestyle with many of the trappings of Western life. Televisions and radios are common except among the extremely poor. Appliances such as air conditioners, dishwashers, and microwaves are only for the very wealthy. Dress is another indicator of social class. Different tribes and villages have their own distinctive patterns, designs, and colors of clothing.
Men traditionally wear long gowns called kaftans, and women wear long robes that leave only their hands and feet exposed. Both men and women wear head wraps. The educated upper classes, particularly the young, tend to prefer modern Western attire. These women favor bright colors, jewelry, makeup, and high heels; men wear dressy slacks and shirts. Blue jeans and T-shirts are rare, as are shorts and miniskirts and bare shoulders or upper arms for women. Traditionally, it is a sign of wealth and status in a family for its women to dress in long robes with their faces veiled.
Syria adopted its current constitution in There is universal suffrage. The unicameral legislative branch is composed of the People's Council, or Majlis al shaab, whose members are elected for four-year terms. This body proposes laws, discusses cabinet programs, and approves the national budget. The president, who serves as the head of state and is required by the constitution to be a Muslim, is elected every seven years by popular vote. The president appoints a vice president, a prime minister who serves as head of government, a cabinet, and deputy prime ministers. The president has wide-reaching powers, including serving on the supreme court.
Despite the distribution of political power, in practice, the military government has the ability to overrule all decisions. Leadership and Political Officials. The importance placed on the family as the central structure in society has ramifications in politics and government. Family loyalty is a primary consideration, and there is a general sentiment that family members even distant relatives can be trusted more than other people. The best jobs in the government generally are held by people related to the president, either of the same religious group or the same regional background or part of his extended family.
While residents generally are interested in politics both at a local level and as a part of the larger Arab world and are critical of leaders, they tend not to join political parties. Even the ruling Baath Party has relatively small numbers of members. It is more Women outside a mosque in Damascus. Religion is an important part of daily life in Syria. Within these groups, leadership positions are often hotly contested. Social Problems and Control. The legal system is based on the French model, with both civil and criminal courts. There is also a State Security Court that tries political opponents of the government.
The proceedings of this court violate many international standards for fair trials. There are large numbers of political prisoners in the jails. Inthe government announced that it would free 2, of these prisoners, perhaps signaling a loosening of its autocratic policies. For cases dealing with issues such as birth, marriage, and inheritance, the system has different courts for people of different religions. The Muslim courts are called Sharia. Syria has armed forces withmembers. This includes an army and an air force but no navy.
It spends 30 percent of the national budget on defense as a result of the state of war that has existed between Syria and Israel since the founding of Israel. Syria also has thirty thousand troops stationed in Lebanon to maintain the peace. All men are required to serve thirty months in the armed forces, with the exception of only sons, who are exempt. It is possible to buy exemption from service for a very large sum of money. Women are allowed to serve voluntarily. Social Welfare and Change Programs The government strictly enforces price controls on basic items as well as rent control laws, that help low-income people get by. Medical fees are covered by the state for those who cannot afford private care.
The government also provides assistance to the elderly, invalids, and those suffering from work injuries. Most assistance comes from within the family structure; young people often live with their parents until and even after marriage, and children are expected to take in and care for their elderly parents. Traditionally, wives in towns are responsible for running the household and are restricted to the home. Rural women often work in the fields in addition to performing domestic tasks. While women are legally allowed to work outside the home, there are significant obstacles. It is similar in the Western culture, that when women do something that is considered or viewed as inappropriate or wrong, they lose honor and respect, more than if men did the same thing.
But, in either case, it is more dishonoring to that single person, and not so much to the family. Singles are more personally responsible for their actions, and not wholly for their entire immediate and extended family. But here, it shows the feelings of an honest Muslim and his personal feelings. Arab men and women avoid situations where they would or could be alone. Even in Saudi Arabia, when a man and women are in a car alone together, they are pulled over and checked to see if they are married—or else they would be arrested. Arabs gain a negative impression of you if you display too much affection towards the opposite sex.
It is actually forbidden, by the Arab social code, to publicly display intimacy, even when married. Yet, some singles in the Middle East disagree with the harsh rules and restrictions. Like any other religion or rule in a society, rebellion will follow in some cases. There are perceptions that in general, at least in Cairo, sex before marriage is widespread and increasing as spiraling costs and high unemployment push marriage ages up. Arabs believe that the future couple should be financially stable before getting married.
In an article written AugustBBC News, there are many cases of rebellion and a wish for a change in the strictness of the Islamic way. The culture protects women with a high standard for modesty, as explained in the book Understanding Arabs. Most women feel protected, secure and respected more because of this.