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Extra info for CultureShock! Syria: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette

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Eventually, war and political intrigue became increasingly common among the peoples at this end of the Mediterranean, and Ugarit was finally destroyed around the end of the 34th century BP. The city never rose again, but during the 26th and 25th centuries BP, Greek fishermen built dwellings atop the tell (a mound concealing one or more ancient settlements) and named the place Leukos Limen. Around the end of the 34th century BP, about the same time as the Israelite migration into Phoenicia, another Semitic people known as the Aramaeans settled east of the coastal mountains.

From 900–1,000 years ago, Greater Syria developed many local principalities and emirates, and this political fragmentation allowed the invading French Crusaders to take 26 CultureShock! Syria over much of northern and western Syria. The Crusaders came in waves, building mighty hilltop fortresses that still stand. Part of the battle here was for Jerusalem—one of the holiest cities in Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Eight hundred years later, the battle still rages, politically and otherwise, for control of Jerusalem.

A bodyguard was killed and the president was injured. Then the next year a bomb went off at the prime minister’s office, killing nearly two dozen people. This called for war, and the president’s younger brother, Rifaat, was in charge of it. The city of Hama, about 200 km (125 miles) north of Damascus, was a stronghold of fanatic fundamentalist Muslims (primarily the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood), so that’s where the government hit. Troops first attempted to ferret out the well-armed radicals, but were trapped and massacred.

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