Syria (Arabic: سوريا/سورية), officially the Syrian Arab Republic (Arabic: الجمهورية العربية السورية), is a country in the Middle East, bordering Lebanon to the west, Israel to the southwest, Jordan to the south, Iraq to the east, and Turkey to the north. The modern state of Syria attained independence from the French mandate of Syria in 1946, but can trace its roots to the fourth millennium BC; its capital city, Damascus, was the seat of the Umayyad Empire and a provincial capital of the Mamluk Empire.
- Syria, using the term in its old, geographical sense, occupies a unique place in the annals of the world. Especially because of the inclusion of Palestine and Phoenicia within its ancient boundaries, it has made a more significant contribution to the moral and spiritual progress of mankind than any other comparable land. Small as it appears on a map or a globe, its historical importance is boundless, its influence universal.
- Syria is a melting pot. It existed like this, like it is today because it is a melting pot with multifarious cultures for centuries, before Christianity and after Christianity, before Islam and after Islam. If you have any change, dramatic change, in the demographic and social fabric of the Syrian society, you're going to have a big problem in the future regarding the future of Syria.
- Bashar al-Assad, The Syria Times, "President Al-Assad to Rai News 24: I will take my country to the shore –not to abandon the ship and the Syrian people" (29 September 2013).
- We hope, and we will work to ensure that both the two opposition delegations and the government delegation are guided not by some personal political ambitions, but the interests of the Syrian people.
- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Sputnik International (February 2, 2016), "Russian Foreign Minister said that the delegations from Syria's government and opposition participating in intra-Syrian talks in Geneva must protect the country's interests"
- The key component for the ceasefire to be operational is the burning issue of arms smuggling across the Turkish-Syrian border, supplying the militants [in Syria]
- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov referring to smuggling from the Turkish-Syrian border, supplying militants in Syria, RT (February 3, 2016), "Shutting off smuggling through Turkey-Syria border key condition for ceasefire in Syria - Lavrov"
- It's enough killing our children, killing civilians. They pretend to fight terrorism. In fact they don't fight terrorism because they bring terrorism there and Isis is spreading in many areas in Syria more than before because of these Russian strikes,
- Opposition Spokesman, Salem al-Mislet, BT (January 31, 2016), "Damascus blasts kill at least 45 as Syria peace talks continue"
- I think that the only way that we deal with Syria is to join hands with Russia to diplomatically bring that at an end. But when we’ve aligned ourselves with — when we’ve supported the opposition of the Free Syrian Army — the Free Syrian Army is also coupled with the Islamists. And then the fact that we’re also supporting the Kurds and this is — it’s just — it’s just a mess. And that this is the result of regime change that we end up supporting. And, inevitably, these regime changes have led a less-safe world. ... That has to be the solution, is joining hands with Russia to bring — to bring this civil war to an end.
- Syria is an unfolding humanitarian catastrophe unmatched since World War II. I appeal to both sides to make the most of this moment — seize the opportunity for serious negotiations
- John Kerry on fights going on in Syria, USAToday (January 31, 2016), "ISIL bombings kill at least 50 in Syria amid shaky peace talks"
- The inhabitants are gradually coming back to Syrian cities and peaceful life is returning ... in this context, the implementation of humanitarian operations will be a new line of work for the Russian armed forces in Syria,
- General Sergei Rudskoi, a senior Russian General Staff official, referring to how peaceful life is returning to Syria after Moscow's military operation with the Syria Government against militants, PressTV (September 23, 2014), "US asks Russia for more 'access' in Syria for humanitarian purposes"
- I don’t really think there is any kind of a reasonable argument against intervention in Syria. Quite the opposite: There is a moral and a human imperative to act that is larger than any nation’s interests and larger than any strategic calculation. That is so obvious it is an embarrassment to have to say it. This is how I thought about intervention in Iraq 20 years ago and it is how I think about what needs to be done in Syria today.
- Kanan Makiya, "Intervention In Syria is a Moral and Human Imperative", New Republican (February 24, 2012)
- Syria isn’t so much a country as it is an exhibit for Dictatorship Inc., the main purpose of which is to show that resistance really is futile. That’s why Russia doesn’t shrink from bombing civilian hospitals, or Hezbollah from starving entire cities into submission, or Assad from using chemical weapons. They are showing their respective publics the lengths to which they are prepared to go to maintain their own grip on power.