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The Syrian Arab Republic, commonly known as Syria, is a country in the Middle East that borders Lebanon, Turkey, Israel, Jordan, and Iraq, and touches the Mediterranean Sea. Its capital is Damascus, and its president is Bashar al-Assad. As of 2015, Syria had an estimated population of 18.5 million.[1]

Many ancient and later medieval cultures have influenced what is now modern Syria, including the Eblaites, Akkadians,[2] Egyptians, Hittites,[3] Greeks, and others. The Roman Empire controlled much of Syria for a time, later passing it to the Byzantine Empire. During the Middle Ages, parts of Syria were controlled by the Crusaders, who called their territory in the area the Principality of Antioch. The famous Crusader castle, Krak des Chevaliers, is in Syria. The modern Syria gained its independence from France, with the last French troops leaving in 1946.[4] Since then Syria has fought and been defeated by Israel multiple times, including in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, 1967 Six-Day War, and 1973 Yom Kippur War.

In 2011, a civil war broke out in Syria. It is rumored that the United States government helped to start unrest in order to topple the Assad government, and later it became known that the U.S. was supporting rebel fighters.[5] In 2015, Russia intervened in the conflict at the request of the Syrian government.

In 2017, the U.S. launched 59 Tomohawk missiles at a Syrian airfield.[6]