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Beginning in 1095, Syria was a target of the Crusades, but the Arabs ultimately defeated the Christian invaders.
The Turkish Ottoman Empire took control in 1516 and ruled the area for four hundred years.
The French drew a straight-line border to separate this territory from British-ruled Transjordan.One-third of the land is arable, and one-third is pasturable.The terrain is mostly desert, and home to drought resistant plants such as myrtle, boxwood, and wild olive. Remote areas have wolves, hyenas, and foxes; the desert has lizards, eagles, and buzzards.Most of the population is concentrated in the western region of the country, near the Mediterranean.Damascus, the capital and the largest city, is located at the foot of the Anti-Lebanon Mountains along the small Barada River.
That name still is used to refer to the entire area of Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and the West Bank and has become a symbol of Arab unity. Syria borders Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Israel and Jordan to the south, and Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the west.