Bara or al-Bara is one of the former "Dead Cities" in northwestern Syria. It is located in the Zawiya Mountain 65 kilometres north from Hama and approx. 80 km southwest from Aleppo. Al-Bara is town in Ariha district. According to the Syria Central Bureau of Statistics, al-Bara had a population of 10,353 in the 2004 census; the settlement was established in the fourth century at an important trade route between Antioch and Apamea. Due to good location and excellent conditions to produce wine and olive oil, it flourished in the 5th and 6th centuries; when Muslims conquered the region and trading routes were disrupted and other Dead Cities were abandoned, Bara remained inhabited, most inhabitants remained Christians, the town became a seat of a bishopric subordinate of Antioch under Peter of Narbonne. In 1098, it was conquered by crusaders led by Raymond de Saint-Gilles; the town was retaken by Tancred a year later. In 1123, the town was reconquered by Belek Ghazi. In the 12th century, after a severe earthquake, the town was abandoned.
In the beginning of the 20th century, a modern village of the same name arose near the site of the ancient town and till today it has grown to the size of a small town. Ruins are the most extensive of all Dead Cities and are scattered among fields, olive groves and orchards. Among many others, one can distinguish remains of at least five churches, three monasteries, several villas, two pyramidal tombs and one underground tomb. Simeon Citadel and Dead Cities, Suggestion to have al-Bara recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site, in 2006, as part of "Simeon Citadel and Dead Cities"-project. Syria Gate MiddleEast.com Tens of pictures of this dead city
Turkey the Republic of Turkey, is a transcontinental country located in Western Asia, with a smaller portion on the Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe. East Thrace, located in Europe, is separated from Anatolia by the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorous strait and the Dardanelles. Turkey is bordered by Bulgaria to its northwest. Istanbul is the largest city. 70 to 80 per cent of the country's citizens identify as Turkish. Kurds are the largest minority. At various points in its history, the region has been inhabited by diverse civilizations including the Assyrians, Thracians, Phrygians and Armenians. Hellenization continued into the Byzantine era; the Seljuk Turks began migrating into the area in the 11th century, their victory over the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 symbolizes the start and foundation of Turkey. The Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm ruled Anatolia until the Mongol invasion in 1243, when it disintegrated into small Turkish principalities. Beginning in the late 13th-century, the Ottomans started uniting these Turkish principalities.
After Mehmed II conquered Constantinople in 1453, Ottoman expansion continued under Selim I. During the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent the Ottoman Empire encompassed much of Southeast Europe, West Asia and North Africa and became a world power. In the following centuries the state entered a period of decline with a gradual loss of territories and wars. In an effort to consolidate the weakening social and political foundations of the empire, Mahmut II started a period of modernisation in the early 19th century, bringing reforms in all areas of the state including the military and bureaucracy along with the emancipation of all citizens. In 1913, a coup d'état put the country under the control of the Three Pashas. During World War I, the Ottoman government committed genocides against its Armenian and Pontic Greek subjects. Following the war, the conglomeration of territories and peoples that comprised the Ottoman Empire was partitioned into several new states; the Turkish War of Independence, initiated by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his colleagues against occupying Allied Powers, resulted in the abolition of monarchy in 1922 and the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, with Atatürk as its first president.
Atatürk enacted numerous reforms, many of which incorporated various aspects of Western thought and customs into the new form of Turkish government. The Kurdish–Turkish conflict, an armed conflict between the Republic of Turkey and Kurdish insurgents, has been active since 1984 in the southeast of the country. Various Kurdish groups demand separation from Turkey to create an independent Kurdistan or to have autonomy and greater political and cultural rights for Kurds in Turkey. Turkey is a charter member of the UN, an early member of NATO, the IMF and the World Bank, a founding member of the OECD, OSCE, BSEC, OIC and G-20. After becoming one of the first members of the Council of Europe in 1949, Turkey became an associate member of the EEC in 1963, joined the EU Customs Union in 1995 and started accession negotiations with the European Union in 2005 which have been stopped by the EU in 2017 due to "Turkey's path toward autocratic rule". Turkey's economy and diplomatic initiatives led to its recognition as a regional power while its location has given it geopolitical and strategic importance throughout history.
Turkey is a secular, unitary parliamentary republic which adopted a presidential system with a referendum in 2017. Turkey's current administration headed by president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of the AKP has enacted measures to increase the influence of Islam, undermine Kemalist policies and freedom of the press; the English name of Turkey means "land of the Turks". Middle English usage of Turkye is evidenced in an early work by Chaucer called The Book of the Duchess; the phrase land of Torke is used in the 15th-century Digby Mysteries. Usages can be found in the Dunbar poems, the 16th century Manipulus Vocabulorum and Francis Bacon's Sylva Sylvarum; the modern spelling "Turkey" dates back to at least 1719. The Turkish name Türkiye was adopted in 1923 under the influence of European usage; the Anatolian peninsula, comprising most of modern Turkey, is one of the oldest permanently settled regions in the world. Various ancient Anatolian populations have lived in Anatolia, from at least the Neolithic period until the Hellenistic period.
Many of these peoples spoke the Anatolian languages, a branch of the larger Indo-European language family. In fact, given the antiquity of the Indo-European Hittite and Luwian languages, some scholars have proposed Anatolia as the hypothetical centre from which the Indo-European languages radiated; the European part of Turkey, called Eastern Thrace, has been inhabited since at least forty thousand years ago, is known to have been in the Neolithic era by about 6000 BC. Göbekli Tepe is the site of the oldest known man-made religious structure, a temple dating to circa 10,000 BC, while Çatalhöyük is a large Neolithic and Chalcolithic settlement in southern Anatolia, which existed from approximately
Khan Shaykhun, sometimes spelled Khan Sheikhoun or Khan Shikhoun, is a town in, sub-district of, the Maarrat al-Nu'man District, within the southern Idlib Governorate of northwestern Syria. Khan Shaykhun is located at an altitude of 350 meters on the main highway between Aleppo and Damascus; the local economy is agricultural, focusing on the growing of cotton and cereals. The town was known for producing embroidery. Nearby localities include Hbit to the west, Kafr Zita to southwest, Murak to the south and Al-Tamanah to the east. In 2004, it was recorded as having 34,371 inhabitants. Khan Shaykhun takes its name from a 14th-century khan or caravanserai built by the Mamluk emir Sayf al-Din Shaykhu al-'Umari; the town grew up around the khan and is situated below a prominent tell, where excavations carried out in 1930 under the French Comte du Mesnil du Buisson revealed evidence of habitation dating back to the 20th century BC. The tell, which measures about 200–250 m long by 18–24 m high, was levelled off in the Bronze and Iron Ages to provide a platform for a series of walled towns built successively on top of each other.
The second of these, dating to about 700 BC, has been identified as the Assyrian town of Ashkhani. The site was abandoned around 300 BC. In more recent times, Khan Shaykhun was noted for its beehive houses, an architectural style found across the Levant and exported from there to North Africa, it was described in 1902 by the traveller Henry James Ross as "a miserable looking village" and remained small until recently. In 1966 it was recorded as having only around 3,000 inhabitants. During the Syrian Civil War, the town fell under control of the Syrian opposition. 92 people were several hundred injured. After a few months of relative calm, the town was bombed again in September 2017. Jets believed to belong to the Russian Air Force destroyed the town’s power plant, which feeds northern Hama and southern Idlib; the al-Rahma clinic was struck. On 27 February 2018, pro-government media reported that Tahrir al-Sham withdrew from the city of Khan Shaykhun, was expelled from western Aleppo by other rebel groups.
In mid-April 2018, pro-opposition media reported that Tahrir al-Sham once again seized the town, devoid of rebel military presence. In August 2018, the town again came under aerial bombardment by pro-government forces. Photoblog: Syria's Khan Sheikhoun residents mark anniversary of deadly sarin attack, Al-Araby
Salqin is a town in Syria, administratively part of Idlib Governorate. Nearby localities include Kafr Takharim to the southeast, Abu Talha to the south, Dalbiyah to the southwest, al-Alani to the northwest and Isqat to the northeast. Salqin is the center of its nahiya, it had a population of 23,700 in 2004. Its inhabitants are predominantly Sunni Muslims, although there is a small Alawite community; the town is situated in the southern Orontes River valley and has an altitude of 460 meters above sea level. Olive and other fruit trees surround Salqin, it exports produce from these orchards as well as vegetables. Agriculture is sustained by the large number of springs in Salqin. According to legends, the city was the summer residence of Seleucus I, hence the naming. An inscription, found on a stone between two cypress in the village, dates its foundation to 98 BC. Salqin was mentioned by medieval Muslim historian Izz al-Din ibn Shaddad al-Halabi as the site of one of 22 abandoned or ruined fortresses in the Aleppo region disbanded or destroyed during the Mongol invasions of Syria in the mid to late 13th century.
The Mamluks who gained power in the region at that time did not rebuild the fortress in Salqin. A former education minister and two former governors of Homs and Raqqah were from Salqin. In November 2012, during the Syrian civil war, Syrian rebels captured the town from government forces. According to anti-government activists, around 70% of Salqin's residents still supported the government of Bashar al-Assad in January 2013; this has led to tensions, the killing of a number of pro-Assad activists
Governorates of Syria
Syria is a unitary state, but for administrative purposes, it is divided into fourteen governorates called provinces in English. The governorates are divided into sixty districts; the nawāḥī contain villages. Each governorate is headed by a governor, appointed by the president, subject to cabinet approval; the governor is responsible for administration, social services, tourism, public works, domestic trade, industry, civil defense, maintenance of law and order in the governorate. The minister of local administration works with each governor to coordinate and supervise local development projects; the governor is assisted by a provincial council, all of whose members are popularly elected for four-year terms. In addition, each council elects from among its member an executive bureau which administers the day to day issues between provincial council sessions; each executive officer is charged with specific functions. Districts and subdistricts are administered by officials appointed by the governor.
These officials work on local matters with elected district councils and serve as intermediaries between the central government and traditional local leaders, such as village chiefs, clan leaders, councils of elders. Capital Districts of Syria ISO 3166-2:SY List of cities in Syria List of towns and villages in Syria
Idlib, a city in northwestern Syria, operates as the capital of the Idlib Governorate and stands 59 kilometers southwest of Aleppo. It has an elevation of nearly 500 meters above sea level. In the 2004 census by the Central Bureau of Statistics, Idlib had a population of 98,791 and in 2010 the population was around 165,000. Before the Syrian Civil War started in 2011, the inhabitants were Sunni Muslims, although there was a significant Christian minority. Idlib is divided into six main districts: Ashrafiyeh, Hejaz, Hurriya, al-Qusur. A major agricultural center of Syria, the Idlib area is historically significant, containing many "dead cities" and man-made tells. Idlib contains the ancient city of Ebla, once the capital of a powerful kingdom; the ancient kingdoms of Nuhašše and Luhuti flourished in the territory of the present-day Governorate during the Bronze and Iron ages. Idlib, alongside all of Syria were conquered by the Armenian king Tigranes the Great, incorporated in the Armenian Empire, only to be conquered by the Roman Pompey the Great around 64 BC.
The city was never of much significance, belonging to the province of Roman Syria under the Roman Empire, to the Eastern Roman province of Syria Secunda before being conquered by the Arabs around the 6th century. Not much remains except in its museum. North of the city are the Dead Cities, a collection of important archaeological sites from the Byzantine era. During Ottoman rule in Syria, between the 16th and 19th centuries, Idlib served as the capital of a kada bearing its name, part of the larger Vilayet of Aleppo The city was a center of olive production, which in turn gave way to a prosperous olive-based soap industry. Although the major markets for Idlib's soap were at Aleppo and Hama, the product was exported as far as the Ottoman capital of Istanbul. Idlib was a major producer of cotton fabrics. Western traveler Josias Leslie Porter noted that Idlib was "encompassed in olive groves, rare in this bleak region." He further remarked that its olives groves were larger than those of Damascus and Gaza.
In the mid-19th-century, the town had an estimated population of 8,000, including 500 Christians. In the late 19th century, Idlib was "flourishing" and contained a number of Christian families, according to German orientalist Albert Socin. During the uprising since 2011, Idlib was the focus of protests and fighting in the early phase of the Syrian war; as the uprising descended into armed conflict, Idlib became the focus of a rebel campaign, which temporarily captured the city and the governorate, prior to a government offensive in April 2012. After this, government forces retook the city and the rebel-controlled province after a month of fighting, prior to the attempted enforcement of the ceasefire proposed by Kofi Annan. After the 2015 Idlib offensive in March, the rebel alliance Army of Conquest, led by the al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham, succeeded in Second Battle of Idlib and captured the city, as well as besieging the Shi'a-majority towns of Al-Fu'ah and Kafriya to the north of Idlib city.
In April 2015, the interim seat of the Syrian opposition's Syrian Interim Government was proposed to be Idlib, in Idlib Governorate. On 23 July 2017, Tahrir al-Sham, successor of the al-Nusra Front, expelled the remaining forces of Ahrar al-Sham from Idlib, capturing the entire city. Köppen-Geiger climate classification system classifies its climate as hot-summer Mediterranean. Summers are rainless, while winters are rainy and cool; the highest record temperatures was 44 °C on June 16, 2012. Idlib is a major production center for olives, cotton and fruits cherries. Other principal crops include almonds, sesame seeds, figs and tomatoes. In 1995 there were 300 hectares planted with various citrus crop. Olive oil pressing and textiles are some of the city's local industries; the nearby city of Aleppo has an important economic presence in Idlib. The Idlib Regional Museum in the city contains over 17,000 of the Ebla tablets and serves as Idlib's main tourist attraction, excluding the nearby ancient site of Ebla itself.
Under the Technical and Financial Cooperation Agreement between the governments of Italy and Syria, the museum was to undergo a restoration and renovation project starting in 2010. Omayya Idlib, founded in 1972, is the most popular football team in the city; the club played in the Syrian Premier League for the 2011-2012 season. Idlib Municipal Stadium is the main football venue in the city. EIdleb The first complete website for Idleb news and services E.sy: The First Complete Governmental Online Services
Zardana is a village in northwestern Syria, administratively part of Idlib Governorate. The village lies in a flat plain. Nearby localities include Taftanaz to the southeast, al-Fu'ah and Binnish to the south, Maarrat Misrin and Kafriya to the southwest, Kafr Yahmul to the west, Hizano to the northwest, Ibbin to the north, Kafr Nouran to the northeast and Maarra to the east. According to the Syria Central Bureau of Statistics Zardana had a population of 5,767 in the 2004 census. In the 12th century, during the Crusades, Zardana was a significant fortress town which changed hands several times between the Crusaders and various Muslim powers. In modern times, the residents of the village are employed in the civil service or in agriculture, with the main crops being wheat and olives; the cultivation of the latter is a recent development. Zardana's total land area consists of 2,000 hectares; the health center provides medical care for the residents of the surrounding villages. Zardana contains two secondary schools.
In 1100 Zardana was under the control of the Principality of Antioch, a Crusader state based in Antioch near the Mediterranean coast. In June of that year, Bohemond I of Antioch defeated the Muslim leader Ridwan of Aleppo with the help of Crusader forces based in Zardana. Zardana, a strategic fortress between Antioch and Aleppo, was reoccupied by the Muslims soon after. However, in 1110, Tancred captured the town from the Muslims after the successful siege he laid against nearby Atarib; the two towns subsequently marked the eastern frontier of the Principality of Antioch. A few years both towns suffered severe damage as a result of an earthquake. From the time of its conquest by the Crusaders, Robert fitz-Fulk, served as the lord of Zardana, due to the town's strategic value, became a powerful figure in the Principality of Antioch. In early August 1119, the combined Muslim forces of Il-ghazi, the Artukid ruler of Mardin, Toghtekin, the Buyid ruler of Damascus, marched on Zardana after capturing Atarib.
The Crusader garrison in the town put up resistance against Il-ghazi's army until surrendering on 12 August. The capture of Atarib and Zardana was a decisive Muslim victory, known as the "Field of Blood," and strengthened the defense of Aleppo. Robert was captured by the Muslim army as he approached Zardana and was executed in Aleppo. Baldwin II of Jerusalem managed to capture Zardana from the Muslims in the early-1120s and by the time Bohemond II became ruler of Antioch in 1126. Baldwin's success was attributed to weakened Muslim control in the area as a result of political upheavals in Aleppo. Zardana was given to William fitz-Fulk; the Muslim ruler of Aleppo, Aq Sunqur, led an unsuccessful attempt to recapture Zardana in the summer of 1125. The town was attacked by Sawar, an emir of Zangi, the new Muslim ruler of Aleppo, during a plunder campaign against Crusader fortress towns between Antioch and Aleppo in 1133-34; the 13th-century Syrian geographer Yaqut al-Hamawi visited Zardana in the 1220s, during Ayyubid rule, noting that it was "a small town in the neighborhood and to the west of Aleppo."
In the early-mid 20th-century Zardana's houses were constructed of mud brick and wood, unlike most of the villages in the vicinity. The inhabitants depended on cultivating wheat and barley and raising livestock. During the French Mandate period, a resident of Zardana attacked a French military vehicle, prompting a French army operation to search for weapons being stored in the village. During the operation, the western part of the village was burned down and several men were detained. Most were pardoned upon the orders of an outside unit commander, but two residents were made to be executed by firing squad. One was killed, while the other was pardoned as a result of the intervention of an elder from nearby Saraqib. In June 2018 40 were killed in an air strike on the Rebel held town