Syria (Arabic: سوريا, romanized: Sūriyā), officially the Syrian Arab Republic (Arabic: الجمهورية العربية السورية, romanized: al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-Sūrīyah), 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, and Israel to the southwest. A country of fertile plains, high mountains, and deserts, Syria is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including Syrian Arabs, Kurds, Turkemens, Assyrians, Armenians, Circassians, Mandeans and Greeks. Religious groups include Sunnis, Christians, Alawites, Druze, Isma’ilis, Mandeans, Shiites, Salafis, and Yazidis. Arabs are the largest ethnic group, and Sunnis the largest religious group.
Damascus (/dəˈmæskəs/ də-MASS-kəs; Arabic: دِمَشْق, romanized: Dimašq [diˈmaʃq], Syrian Arabic: [dɪˈmaʃʔ] Syriac : ܕܰܪܡܣܘܩ is the capital of Syria; it became the country’s largest city in the early 2010s, following the decline in population of Aleppo during the battle for the city. It is colloquially known in Syria as aš-Šām (الشَّام) and titled the “City of Jasmine” (مَدِينَة الْيَاسْمِين Madīnat al-Yāsmīn). Damascus is a major cultural center of the Levant and the Arab world. The city had an estimated population of 2,079,000 as of 2019.