Syrian

"Syrian" redirects here. For other uses, see Syrian (disambiguation).
Syrian people
الشعب السوري
Sūriyyīn
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Total population
Syria: 22,457,336 (July 2013 est.)[1]
Languages
Arabic (Syrian Arabic, North Syrian Arabic), Kurdish, Western Neo-Aramaic, Assyrian Neo-Aramaic, South Azeri and Armenian
Religion

Islam, mostly Sunni, and a minority of Shi'as and Alawites
Christianity, mostly Greek Orthodox and Greek Catholic
Druze

Yazidis

The Syrian people (Arabic: الشعب السوري‎ / ALA-LC: al-sha‘ab al-Sūrī) are the inhabitants and citizens of the Syrian Arab Republic. Most modern-day Syrians are commonly described as Arabs by virtue of their descent, language and bonds to Arab culture and history. However, there are Kurdish, Turks, Syriac, Circassian, Aramean and other minorities, who also reside in Syria and express the Syrian National identity. Many Syrians live outside of Syria, and they stay connected to their cultural roots by visiting their homeland, forming and participating in Arab and Syrian communities in their new countries, listening to Syrian music, watching Syrian Television, and preparing Syrian cuisine.

Damascus, the capital of Syria, is one of the longest continuously inhabited cities[2][3] in the world.

Language

Arabic is the mother tongue of some 90%[1] 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. The standardized form of Arabic, used in formal settings throughout the Arab world, contains the same vocabulary and grammar for all Arab countries. Kurdish, Armenian, Turkish, and Circassian are also spoken in Syria by their respective minority communities. A direct descendant of the Aramaic of Jesus Christ, is still spoken in ancient Christian village of Ma'loula by Muslim and Christian Aramaen residents. Aramaic is further widely understood by Syrian-Christian communities — all of whom use Syriac as a liturgical language. English, and to a lesser extent French, is widely understood and used in interactions with tourists and other foreigners.

Religion

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 12% of the population and mostly live in and around Latakia. Christians make up 10% of the country. Most Syrian Christians adhere to the Byzantine liturgical rites, the two largest are the Greek Orthodox and the Greek Catholic churches.[4][5] The Druze, 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. Many Armenian Christians fled Turkey 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 origin and are mostly Sunni Muslim, following the Hanafi 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 refugees, who were expelled from their homeland in 1948 after the creation of Israel. The community of Syrian Jews inside Syria once numbered 30,000 in 1947 but has only 200 today.[6]

Beliefs

The Syrian people's beliefs and outlooks, similar to those of most Arabs and people of the wider Middle-East, are a mosaic of West and East. Conservative and liberally minded people will live right next to 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.

Cuisine

Syrian cuisine is dominated by ingredients native to the region. Olive oil, garlic, olives, peppermint, and sesame oil are some of the ingredients that are used in many traditional meals. Traditional Syrian dishes enjoyed by Syrians include, tabouleh, labaneh, shanklish, wara enab, makdous, kebab, sfiha, moutabal, hummus, manaeesh, bameh, and fatoush. Before the main courses, Syrians eat maza, which is basically an appetizer. Maza is usually served with Arab-style tea - highly concentrated black tea, which is highly sweetened and served in small glass cups. Another popular drink, especially with non-Muslim and non-practicing Muslim men, is the Arabian Liquor Arak, which is produced from grapes or dates and flavoured with aniseed, and can have an alcohol content of over 90% ABV (however, most commercial Syrian Arak brands are about 40-60% ABV).

Famous people with Syrian ancestry

See also

References

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