Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (Damascus)
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a war memorial, dedicated to the Syrian soldiers killed during battle. It is visited every year by the President of Syria on Martyrs' Day; the monument was designed by Prof. Dr. Abdo Kass-Hout and Prof. Mahmoud Hammad who won a competition organized by the Syrian Ministry of Defense. Erected in 1985, the monument features a dome, symbolizing the universe, an arch, symbolizing victory. There is a hall under the dome, featuring five large paintings depicting battles from Arab and Syrian history: Battle of Yarmouk, Battle of Hattin, Battle of Maysaloun, Battle of Mount Hermon and Battle of Sultan Yacoub. Two verses from the Quran are engraved into the structure: Think not of those who are slain in God's Way as dead. Nay, they live. Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
October War Panorama
The October War Panorama is a National museum located in Damascus, Syria which commemorates the memory of the 1973 October War between Egypt and Syria against Israel from a Syrian perspective. The museum, like Egypt's 6th of October Panorama, was built with the assistance of North Korea, as evident by the socialist-realist reliefs in the museum and a large mural showcasing Assad hand-in-hand with Kim il-Sung; the museum was inaugurated in 1998 by president Hafez al-Assad. The museum displays the tanks and weaponry used by Syria during the war, most of them Soviet-made, captured Israeli weaponry, such as Israeli tanks, most of them captured during the war, with an exception of a tank captured from Israel in the Battle of Sultan Yacoub which occurred during the 1982 Lebanon War, as well as the wreckage and remains of Israeli jets downed by the Syrian Air Defense Force; the museum contains many large gallery halls featuring large commemorative paintings and murals depicting former Syrian president Hafez al-Assad, most notably a 238 m2 painting of the president flanked by the Syrian people.
In the panorama are large paintings depicting the battles of the war and Syrian soldiers. The painters of the murals featured in the galleries are said to have used real soldiers and veterans as models for their work and had spent extended periods of time in the locations depicted in the paintings. Various paintings depict the history of Syria, which are a mix of Syrian nationalism; these include a commemoration of the third millennium BC Syrian kingdom of Ebla, Queen Zenobia of Palmyra consulting her senate, Al-Walid I flanked by Musa bin Nusayr and Tariq Ibn Ziyad, the last painting showcasing Saladin in Jerusalem flanked by vanquished crusaders. The main part of the museum is the 3D panorama; the viewer is seated on a rotating platform, submerged in a depiction of the battle for Quneitra in the Golan Heights, while pre-recorded narrations of the war and the battle play through speakers. 6th of October Panorama Syrian Ministry of Defense - October Liberation War Panorama
Husni al-Za'im was a Syrian military officer and politician. Husni al-Za'im, whose family was of Kurdish ancestry, had been an officer in the Ottoman Army. After France instituted its colonial mandate over Syria after the First World War, he became an officer in the French Army. After Syria's independence in 1946 he was made Chief of Staff, was ordered to lead the Syrian Army into war with the Israeli Army in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War; the defeat of the Arab league forces in that war shook Syria and undermined confidence in the country's chaotic parliamentary democracy, allowing him to seize power in 1949. However, his reign as head of state would be brief: he was executed within a few months. On 30 March 1949, al-Za'im seized power in a bloodless coup d'état. There are "highly controversial" allegations that the U. S. Central Intelligence Agency engineered the coup. Most of the evidence available suggests that the decision to initiate a coup was Za'im's alone, but Za'im benefited from some degree of American assistance in planning the operation.
The head of the CIA's Damascus station, Miles Copeland, organised a successful sting operation to delegitimise the government and justify a coup d’état. Four days after the coup that overthrew democratic rule the Syrian government ratified the controversial Trans-Arabian Pipeline deal. Syria's President, Shukri al-Kuwatli, was imprisoned, but released into exile in Egypt. Al-Za'im imprisoned many political leaders, such as Munir al-Ajlani, whom he accused of conspiring to overthrow the republic; the coup was carried out with discreet backing of the American embassy, assisted by the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, although al-Za'im himself is not known to have been a member. Among the officers that assisted al-Za'im's takeover was Adib al-Shishakli and Sami al-Hinnawi, both of whom would become military leaders of the country. Al-Za'im's takeover, the first military coup in the history of Syria, would have lasting effects, as it shattered the country's fragile and flawed democratic rule, set off a series of violent military revolts.
Two more would follow in August and December 1949. His secular policies and proposals for the emancipation of women through granting them the vote and suggesting they should give up the Islamic practice of veiling, created a stir among Muslim religious leaders. Raising taxes aggrieved businessmen, Arab nationalists were still smouldering over his signing of a cease-fire with Israel, as well as his deals with US oil companies for building the Trans-Arabian Pipeline, he made a peace overture to Israel offering to settle 300,000 Palestinian refugees in Syria, in exchange for border modifications along the cease fire line and half of Lake Tiberias. Settling the refugees was made conditional on sufficient outside assistance for the Syrian economy; the overture was answered slowly by Tel Aviv and not treated seriously. Lacking popular support, al-Za'im was overthrown after just four and a half months by his colleagues, al-Shishakli and al-Hinnawi; as al-Hinnawi took power as leader of a military junta, Husni al-Za'im was swiftly spirited away to Mezze prison in Damascus, executed along with Prime Minister Muhsin al-Barazi.
Al-Za'im worked hard to abolish wearing the fez, claiming that it was outdated headwear taken from the days of the Ottoman Empire. He is credited for giving support to women's the right to run for public office in Syria; the law had been debated at the Syrian Parliament since 1920 and no leader dared to support it, except Zaim. Once, senior Muslim clerics demanded an audience with the president, objecting to the liberal lifestyle being promoted by Syrian women. One issue of particular concern was the mixing of women at the Grand Hotel in Bludan. Zaim said yes; when the clerics walked in that evening, he had them seated around a dining table snapped at one of the waiters, "Please prepare dinner, bring the whiskey, call in the dancing girls!" Zaim looked back at his guests, who were horrified at his attitude, no longer dared demand enforcement of Islamic codes. During the 137 days of his rule in Syria, Husni al-Za'im never executed anybody, he did have creative ways of punishing those. When the quality of bread dropped to unacceptable levels, Zaim ordered all bakers to walk on the gravel, until blood flowed from their feet.
Husni al-Za’im's wife Nouran, was the first lady of Syria from April to August 1949. The marriage took place in 1947. In order to please his young wife, Zaim asked her 11-year-old sister Kariman to live with them in Damascus, he treated her as a sister as well, sent her to the Lycee Laique. Another sister Orfan, would visit them and took up the habit of playing with a guard, Abdel Hamid Sarraj. During the incidence of al-Za'im's arrest, when the guards came to arrest him, Zaim got dressed and said goodbye to his pregnant wife. "Relax" he asked her, "I will be back soon to receive our first baby together!" Niveen said, "My mother and aunt told me that the couch they had been sitting on was riddled with bullets. Sarraj knew in advance that an attack was coming and told them to go upstairs to keep them from harm's way." Less than a week before the coup—whic
Citadel of Damascus
The Citadel of Damascus is a large medieval fortified palace and citadel in Damascus, Syria. It is part of the Ancient City of Damascus, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979; the location of the current citadel was first fortified in 1076 by the Turkman warlord Atsiz bin Uvak, although it is possible but not proven that a citadel stood on this place in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. After the assassination of Atsiz bin Uvak, the project was finished by the Seljuq ruler Tutush I; the emirs of the subsequent Burid and Zengid dynasties carried out modifications and added new structures to it. During this period, the citadel and the city were besieged several times by Crusader and Muslim armies. In 1174, the citadel was captured by Saladin, the Ayyubid sultan of Egypt, who made it his residence and had the defences and residential buildings modified. Saladin's brother Al-Adil rebuilt the citadel between 1203 and 1216 in response to the development of the counterweight trebuchet. After his death, power struggles broke out between the other Ayyubid princes and although Damascus switched hands several times, the citadel was taken by force only once, in 1239.
The citadel remained in Ayyubid hands until the Mongols under their general Kitbuqa captured Damascus in 1260, thereby ending Ayyubid rule in Syria. After an unsuccessful revolt broke out in the citadel, the Mongols had most of it dismantled. After the defeat of the Mongols in 1260 by the Mamluks, who had succeeded the Ayyubids as rulers of Egypt, Damascus came under Mamluk rule. Except for brief periods in 1300 and 1401, when the Mongols conquered Damascus, the Mamluks controlled the citadel until 1516. In that year, Syria fell into the hands of the Ottoman Empire. Damascus surrendered without a fight and from the 17th century onward the citadel functioned as barracks for the Jannisaries—Ottoman infantry units; the citadel started to fall into disrepair in the 19th century and its last military use was in 1925, when French soldiers shelled the old city from the citadel in response to the Great Syrian Revolt against the French Mandate of Syria. The citadel continued to serve as a barracks and prison until 1986, when excavations and restorations started.
As of 2011, excavation and restoration efforts are still ongoing. The citadel is located in the northwest corner of the city walls, between the Bab al-Faradis and the Bab al-Jabiyah; the citadel consists of a more or less rectangular curtain wall enclosing an area of 230 by 150 metres. The walls were protected by 14 massive towers, but today only 12 remain; the citadel has gates on its northern and eastern flanks. The current citadel dates to the Ayyubid period while incorporating parts of the older Seljuq fortress. Extensive repairs in response to sieges and earthquakes were carried out in the Mamluk and Ottoman periods, it is uncertain whether a building stood on the site of the citadel before the 11th century AD. The Ghouta, the wider area in which Damascus is located, has been occupied since at least 9000 BC, but there is no evidence for settlement within the area, today enclosed by the city walls before the 1st millennium BC; the area occupied by the citadel was most outside this first settlement.
The presence of a citadel during the Hellenistic period is uncertain. Damascus had a citadel during the Roman period, but whether it was located on the site of the present citadel is uncertain and subject to scholarly debate. In 1076, Damascus was conquered by the Turkman warlord Atsiz bin Uvak, who established himself as the ruler of the city and began the construction of the citadel, he tried to invade the Fatimid Caliphate in Egypt but was defeated in 1077. The Fatimids subsequently built on their victory over Atsiz and besieged Damascus in 1077 and again in 1078, but both attempts to take the city were unsuccessful; the siege of 1078 was lifted by Tutush I, brother of the Seljuq sultan Malik Shah I, to whom Atsiz had appealed for help. After the Fatimid besiegers had left, Tutush I took over the city and, distrusting Atsiz, had him assassinated in 1078; the construction of the citadel was finished under Tutush I. After the death of Tutush I in 1095, Syria was divided between his sons Abu Nasr Shams al-Muluk Duqaq and Fakhr al-Mulk Radwan.
Duqaq took control of Damascus. During Duqaq's reign, additional work was carried out on the citadel. In 1096, Radwan failed to capture it. During the rule of the Burid dynasty, work was carried out on the citadel in response to multiple attacks on Damascus by Crusader and Muslim armies. In 1126, a Crusader army approached Damascus, but their advance was stopped 30 kilometres from the city. A second attempt by Crusaders in 1129 advanced to within 10 kilometres of the city before they had to retreat. Zengi, the atabeg of Aleppo and Mosul, attacked Damascus in 1135 and again in 1140. Zengi's second attack was thwarted because Damascus forged a coalition with the Crusader states to the south, arguing that if Damascus were conquered, these states would fall as well. Crusader armies attacked Damascus a third time in 1148 during the Second Crusade; this siege of Damascus ended within a week when an army led by Nur ad-Din Zangi, ruler of Aleppo and the son of Zengi, threatened the besieging Crusaders, forcing them to withdraw.
After unsuccessful attacks in 1150 and 1151, Nur ad-Din captured Damascus in 1154. The citadel was only surrendered to Nur ad-Din after Mujir ad-Din Abaq, the last Burid ruler, had been given safe passage and lordship over the city of Homs. Nur ad-Din ruled as Zengid emir of Damascus from 1154 until his death in 1174, he took up residence in the c
The Tekkiye Mosque or Sultan Selim Mosque is a mosque complex in Damascus, located on the banks of the Barada River. The Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Selim II, built the Sultan Selim Mosque in the then-suburb of Damascus by expanding his father's urban complex; the complex is composed of a large mosque on the southwest side of a courtyard, flanked by a single line of arcaded cells, a soup kitchen across the courtyard to the northwest, flanked by hospice buildings. The mosque has two walls with alternating light and dark stripes, it has been described as "The finest example of Ottoman architecture in Damascus". The cemetery next to the mosque is the burial place of the last Ottoman Sultan, Mehmet VI, dethroned and forced into exile when the Ottoman sultanate was abolished in 1922, he died on May 16, 1926 in Sanremo and was buried at the cemetery of the Sultan Selim Mosque. The mosque was chosen because it was located in the closest Muslim-majority country to Turkey and was built by his ancestors.
There are thirty other graves of the Ottoman dynasty who died in exile and were not allowed to be buried in the Republic of Turkey at the time. Dumper, Michael. Cities of the Middle East and North Africa: A Historical Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781576079195. Takiyya al-Sulaymaniyya, Archnet
Syria the Syrian Arab Republic, is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon to the southwest, the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, Israel to the southwest. A country of fertile plains, high mountains, deserts, Syria is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including Syrian Arabs, Armenians, Kurds, Circassians and Turks. Religious groups include Sunnis, Alawites, Isma'ilis, Shiites, Salafis and Jews. Sunni make up the largest religious group in Syria. Syria is a unitary republic consisting of 14 governorates and is the only country that politically espouses Ba'athism, it is a member of one international organization other than the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement. In English, the name "Syria" was synonymous with the Levant, while the modern state encompasses the sites of several ancient kingdoms and empires, including the Eblan civilization of the 3rd millennium BC. Aleppo and the capital city Damascus are among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.
In the Islamic era, Damascus was the seat of the Umayyad Caliphate and a provincial capital of the Mamluk Sultanate in Egypt. The modern Syrian state was established in mid-20th century after centuries of Ottoman and a brief period French mandate, represented the largest Arab state to emerge from the Ottoman-ruled Syrian provinces, it gained de-jure independence as a parliamentary republic on 24 October 1945, when Republic of Syria became a founding member of the United Nations, an act which ended the former French Mandate – although French troops did not leave the country until April 1946. The post-independence period was tumultuous, a large number of military coups and coup attempts shook the country in the period 1949–71. In 1958, Syria entered a brief union with Egypt called the United Arab Republic, terminated by the 1961 Syrian coup d'état; the republic was renamed into the Arab Republic of Syria in late 1961 after December 1 constitutional referendum, was unstable until the 1963 Ba'athist coup d'état, since which the Ba'ath Party has maintained its power.
Syria was under Emergency Law from 1963 to 2011 suspending most constitutional protections for citizens. Bashar al-Assad has been president since 2000 and was preceded by his father Hafez al-Assad, in office from 1971 to 2000. Since March 2011, Syria has been embroiled in an armed conflict, with a number of countries in the region and beyond involved militarily or otherwise; as a result, a number of self-proclaimed political entities have emerged on Syrian territory, including the Syrian opposition, Tahrir al-Sham and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Syria is ranked last on the Global Peace Index, making it the most violent country in the world due to the war, although life continues for most of its citizens as of December 2017; the war caused more than 470,000 deaths, 7.6 million internally displaced people and over 5 million refugees, making population assessment difficult in recent years. Several sources indicate that the name Syria is derived from the 8th century BC Luwian term "Sura/i", the derivative ancient Greek name: Σύριοι, Sýrioi, or Σύροι, Sýroi, both of which derived from Aššūrāyu in northern Mesopotamia.
However, from the Seleucid Empire, this term was applied to The Levant, from this point the Greeks applied the term without distinction between the Assyrians of Mesopotamia and Arameans of the Levant. Mainstream modern academic opinion favours the argument that the Greek word is related to the cognate Ἀσσυρία, Assyria derived from the Akkadian Aššur; the Greek name appears to correspond to Phoenician ʾšr "Assur", ʾšrym "Assyrians", recorded in the 8th century BC Çineköy inscription. The area designated by the word has changed over time. Classically, Syria lies at the eastern end of the Mediterranean, between Arabia to the south and Asia Minor to the north, stretching inland to include parts of Iraq, having an uncertain border to the northeast that Pliny the Elder describes as including, from west to east, Commagene and Adiabene. By Pliny's time, this larger Syria had been divided into a number of provinces under the Roman Empire: Judaea renamed Palaestina in AD 135 in the extreme southwest.
Since 10,000 BC, Syria was one of the centers of Neolithic culture where agriculture and cattle breeding appeared for the first time in the world. The following Neolithic period is represented by rectangular houses of Mureybet culture. At the time of the pre-pottery Neolithic, people used vessels made of stone and burnt lime. Finds of obsidian tools from Anatolia are evidences of early trade relations. Cities of Hamoukar and Emar played an important role during Bronze Age. Archaeologists have demonstrated that civilization in Syria was one of the most ancient on earth preceded by only those of Mesopotamia; the earliest recorded in
Human rights are "the basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled" Examples of rights and freedoms which are thought of as human rights include civil and political rights, such as the right to life and property, freedom of expression, pursuit of happiness and equality before the law. All human beings are born equal in dignity and rights, they are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. Ancient peoples did not have the same modern-day conception of universal human rights; the true forerunner of human-rights discourse was the concept of natural rights which appeared as part of the medieval natural law tradition that became prominent during the European Enlightenment. From this foundation, the modern human rights arguments emerged over the latter half of the 20th century.17th-century English philosopher John Locke discussed natural rights in his work, identifying them as being "life and estate", argued that such fundamental rights could not be surrendered in the social contract.
In Britain in 1689, the English Bill of Rights and the Scottish Claim of Right each made illegal a range of oppressive governmental actions. Two major revolutions occurred during the 18th century, in the United States and in France, leading to the United States Declaration of Independence and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen both of which articulated certain human rights. Additionally, the Virginia Declaration of Rights of 1776 encoded into law a number of fundamental civil rights and civil freedoms. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life and the pursuit of Happiness. Philosophers such as Thomas Paine, John Stuart Mill and Hegel expanded on the theme of universality during the 18th and 19th centuries. In 1831 William Lloyd Garrison wrote in a newspaper called The Liberator that he was trying to enlist his readers in "the great cause of human rights" so the term human rights came into use sometime between Paine's The Rights of Man and Garrison's publication.
In 1849 a contemporary, Henry David Thoreau, wrote about human rights in his treatise On the Duty of Civil Disobedience, influential on human rights and civil rights thinkers. United States Supreme Court Justice David Davis, in his 1867 opinion for Ex Parte Milligan, wrote "By the protection of the law, human rights are secured. In Western Europe and North America, labour unions brought about laws granting workers the right to strike, establishing minimum work conditions and forbidding or regulating child labour; the women's rights movement succeeded in gaining for many women the right to vote. National liberation movements in many countries succeeded in driving out colonial powers. One of the most influential was Mahatma Gandhi's movement to free his native India from British rule. Movements by long-oppressed racial and religious minorities succeeded in many parts of the world, among them the civil rights movement, more recent diverse identity politics movements, on behalf of women and minorities in the United States.
The foundation of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the 1864 Lieber Code and the first of the Geneva Conventions in 1864 laid the foundations of International humanitarian law, to be further developed following the two World Wars. The League of Nations was established in 1919 at the negotiations over the Treaty of Versailles following the end of World War I; the League's goals included disarmament, preventing war through collective security, settling disputes between countries through negotiation and improving global welfare. Enshrined in its Charter was a mandate to promote many of the rights which were included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the League of Nations had mandates to support many of the former colonies of the Western European colonial powers during their transition from colony to independent state. Established as an agency of the League of Nations, now part of United Nations, the International Labour Organization had a mandate to promote and safeguard certain of the rights included in the UDHR: the primary goal of the ILO today is to promote opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work, in conditions of freedom, equity and human dignity.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a non-binding declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948 in response to the barbarism of World War II. The UDHR urges member nations to promote a number of human, civil and social rights, asserting these rights are part of the "foundation of freedom and peace in the world"; the declaration was the first international legal effort to limit the behavior of states and press upon them duties to their citizens following the model of the rights-duty duality....recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom and peace in the world The UDHR was framed by members of the Human Rights Commission, with Eleanor Roosevelt as Chair, who began to discuss an International Bill of Rights in 1947. The members of the Commission did not agree on the form of such a bill of rights, whe