One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A country in the Middle East, on the eastern Mediterranean Sea; population 17,100,000 (estimated 2014); capital, Damascus; language, Arabic (official).
Syria was the site of various early civilizations, most notably that of the Phoenicians. Falling successively within the empires of Persia, Macedon, and Rome, it became a center of Islamic power and civilization from the 7th century and a province of the Ottoman Empire in 1516. After the Turkish defeat in World War I, Syria was mandated to France and became independent with the ejection of Vichy troops by the Allies in 1941. From 1958 to 1961, Syria was united with Egypt as the United Arab Republic. It lost the Golan Heights to Israel in the 1967 war. Civil war broke out in Syria following a series of antigovernment protests in March 2011 that were linked to the Arab Spring
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