The first population of the Syrian territory goes back to Paleozoic times. In the III millennium a. C. the country entered the sphere of Sumerian civilization and – as part of the great span of lands known as the Crescent (or Crescent) Fertile – was always subsequently interested in the cultural developments of the Mesopotamian world. Geographically, the role that Syria had was, both at the time of the Babylonians and in the later ones of the Assyrians, the Greeks, the Romans and then the Arabs, the arrival point of the caravan traffic that went from the interior of Asia towards the Mediterranean. The ancient and developed urbanism of the country is connected to this function, exemplified by a city like Palmyra, then irretrievably fallen, and even more from Damascus, very flourishing under the Umayyads and which has kept its importance intact over time. Also due to its position between the Mediterranean and more inland Asia, Arab-Mesopotamian, Syria was in every epoch involved in the historical events of this vast area, which, instead of homogenizing the country, determined ethnic and cultural stratifications also favored from the presence of conservative mountainous areas: just think of Jebel Druso and the Alauita Chain, which still host the followers of their respective religious sects. The decline of Syria under Ottoman rule and the concomitant, progressive desertification of the territory, led to a crystallization of the people and their cultural heritages. Among these the religious ones stand out, bearing in mind that from an ethnic point of view 86.2% of the population is Arab.
In Syria, a country largely populated by Semitic peoples, in addition to Sunni Muslims, who are the majority, there are in fact representatives of the most disparate faiths. There are numerous Muslim sects (in addition to those officially recognized, such as the Shiite and Ismaili, some are considered heretics, such as the Alauit, the Druze, the Yazidi, etc.), and the Christian churches: Orthodox (Greek Orthodox, Armenian-Orthodox, Syrian-Orthodox), Catholic (Greek-Catholic, Armenian-Catholic, Syrian-Catholic, Roman-Catholic), Maronite, Nestorian, Protestant etc. Religious groups are often distinguished also by the activities they carry out and their particular social position; however, an inevitable process of attenuating religious conflicts is underway. Among the populations of non-Semitic origin there are the Kurds (7.3% of the residents) who have remained faithful to their language instead of Arabic, which is almost universally spoken. The second minority present is that of the Armenians (2.7%), many of whom came to Syria to escape the Turkish genocide, overlapping the pre-existing community of ancient immigration, which lives mostly in the cities of Damascus, Aleppo). The ancient, very noble “aristocracy of the desert”, that of the nomadic camel drivers, whose main groups are the anezeh and the shammar, exploit the inland areas with commuting migrations from S to N, from the Syro-Arabian deserts to the steppe plains; The sulaibs, nomadic artisans and traders, adapt to their movements. These nomadic groups have started a progressive sedentarization. The population is settled for the most part in western Syria and is condensed above all in the Anti-Lebanon, in the Orontes valley and along the coastal area. The entire northern belt is also populous, while in the eastern section, semi-desert, the residents are concentrated almost exclusively along the course of the Euphrates. Therefore, the average density of the country, of 107 residents / km², has little significance.
According to localtimezone, Syria is now home to a population that is four times what it had at the end of the Syrian-Egyptian union: if you think that, according to various estimates, the Ottoman. The pace of population growth was very high in the last years of the twentieth century, reaching 2.6% annual growth in the period from 1994 to 1999, then falling to 2.4% in the five-year period 2000-2005. The very low mortality and high birth rate explain this index, to which a certain return immigration of Syrians from abroad also contributes. As early as the nineteenth century, Syria had in fact promoted migratory currents towards Africa, Europe and America, where the Syrians, perpetuating an ancient mercantile tradition linked to the famous bazaars, entered the economy of many countries with their commercial activities, while later, from the 1960s and 1970s, emigration to the Gulf countries (Saudi Arabia and Kuwait) brought numerous Syrian workers into industry oil. Finally, it is estimated that some hundreds of thousands are Syrian immigrants in Lebanon and Jordan; emigration is currently attenuated. However, many Palestinian refugees live in the country (more than 400,000). In the early years of the century. XXI were joined by Sudanese, Afghan, Somali refugees and a large group of Iraqis who fled their homes after 2004 (according to some estimates there would be around 500,000) as well as many Palestinians residing in Iraq. The residents live for the most part in villages whose location is generally dictated by the presence of the water, consisting of mud houses which in the North take on the typical beehive shape (ogive roof); compact villages with stone dwellings are located on the hills, a refuge for ancient religious communities. At the turn of the millennium, the urban population increased as a result of immigration from the countryside and as a result of substantial, albeit not radical, transformations, and in 2005 it represented just over half of Syrians. Urbanism, as already mentioned, has very ancient origins and has preserved certain characteristic aspects of the past. Syrian cities are mostly centered on a At the turn of the millennium, the urban population increased as a result of immigration from the countryside and as a result of substantial, albeit not radical, transformations, and in 2005 it represented just over half of Syrians. Urbanism, as already mentioned, has very ancient origins and has preserved certain characteristic aspects of the past. Syrian cities are mostly centered on a At the turn of the millennium, the urban population increased as a result of immigration from the countryside and as a result of substantial, albeit not radical, transformations, and in 2005 it represented just over half of Syrians.
Urbanism, as already mentioned, has very ancient origins and has preserved certain characteristic aspects of the past. Syrian cities are mostly centered on a tell, a hill on which there are traces of ancient settlements or the remains of old Islamic or Crusader fortresses (here is the very famous and mighty fortified castle known as the “Crac of the Knights”); at the base is the souk, the bazaar, according to a tradition that dates back to the era of caravan traffic, to which Greeks, Romans and above all the Arabs gave splendid impulses, and around the various residential districts. All the great Syrian cities were born as caravan centers; so the ancient Palmyra, so Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, Hamāh etc. The capital, Damascus, a prehistoric center already mentioned in the Sumerian era, was privileged not only by the nodal position between the transverse and longitudinal directions, but also by the happy topographical location, at the foot of the Anti-Lebanon, on a fertile fan of irrigated lands. It has multiple functions: financial, cultural, commercial and is also the seat of industrial activities. It was always important, although inevitably with alternating phases, reaching its maximum splendor under the Arabs. Aleppo follows, in northern Syria, on the railway axis coming from Turkey and leading to Iraq; it is also ancient in origin and noble in cultural traditions, today active in various industrial sectors. Other important cities are Homs and Hamāh, in the fertile and populated Orontes valley, and Latakia, the ancient Laodicea, the largest coastal center.