Syriac Syrians First Tongue

Syriac is written from right to left. It is a cursive script written with the characters joined, where some, but not all, letters connect within a word. The alphabet consists of 22 letters, all of which are consonants gathered in five words

(  أبجد هوز حطي كلمن سعفص قرشت). The vowel sounds are supplied by the reader's memory or by pointing, a system of diacritical marks, such as an accent or cedilla, which when written above or below a letter indicates a difference in pronunciation from the same letter when unmarked or differently marked.

There are three major variants of the Syriac alphabet: first Classical ʾEsṭrangēlā is no longer used as the main script for writing Syriac. Second the East Syriac dialect is usually written in the Maḏnḥāyā (ܡܲܕ݂ܢܚܵܝܵܐ‎, 'Eastern') form of the alphabet. It resembles ʾEsṭrangēlā more closely than the Western script, being somewhat a midway point between the two. The Eastern script uses a system of dots above or below letters, based on an older system, to indicate vowels. The West Syriac dialect is usually written in the Serṭā (ܣܶܪܛܳܐ‎, 'line') form of the alphabet, where most of the letters are clearly derived from ʾEsṭrangēlā, but are simplified, flowing lines. Serṭā gave rise to the Arabic alphabet and was based on this form of Syriac handwriting.

the name “Syriac” origin dates back to Aram, son of Sam son of Noah, and his brothers;  who are generally referred to Sons of Sam after the famous flood  in the Levant.  "Syriac" was derived from Greek lexicon, to first describe or refer to Syria inhabitants, then to label their language.  But has gained prevalence only after Alexander the Great opened the Mediterranean basin in the 4th century BC.

Syriac nearby languages are Semitic languages branched out from the group of Asian-African languages, estimated by philologists to date back to 7th century BC;  including all lingos used in the Fertile Crescent like: Acadian, Ugaritic, Canaanite, Hebrew, Arabic, south Arabian and some of the African Horn languages.

Aramaic has arisen as a language in the first millennium BC, and was since 6th  century BC the only communication language in the Fertile crescent region, building Syriac language origins. It was spoken by Babylonians, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Phoenicians, Canaanites and Ugaritic dialect fragmented from it in the second millennium BC. There Aramaic was transfigured gradually and gained its new name "Syriac " in the 4th  century in concurrence with the spread of Christianity in the Levant. Therefore, Syriac acquired a religious importance, first because Jesus Christ, the central figure of Christianity, had spoken in Aramaic.  Today ancient Aramaic does no longer exist and all what remains of it various dialects descendant of Syriac used in Maloula.

When Arabic began to be the dominant spoken language in the Fertile Crescent, texts were often written in Arabic with the Syriac script. These writings are usually called Karshuni or Garshuni (ܓܪܫܘܢܝ). Garshuni is often used today by Neo-Aramaic speakers in written communication such as letters and fliers. Researchers have always referred to a connection between Syriac and Arabic, in the wake of the Umayyad dynasty.  Throughout the first stage of Umayyad rule Syriac was the language of administration and state bodies.  During the reign of Abdul Malik bin Marwan up to Mamluk epoch in the 12th century, when Arabic became dominant as a communication language between the population majority.

In Syria there are some folks who still use it as a communication language, e.i. in Maloula, Damascus north neighboring villages, Qamishli, hasakah, and other parts of Al-Jazeera. In regards to its influence on Arabic,  it remain strong and clear in particular in spoken Arabic, as well in places names  in the Levant region.


Haifaa Mafalani

Russia Embraces Syria's Participation in "Winter Bazaar"

With the participation of more than 70 countries, including Syria, and over  200 international and local companies, the Russian Women World Club has recently held its Annual International Exhibition" Winter Bazaar".

The Syrian pavilion was one of the most distinguished pavilions that witnessed a large turnout by visitors who were attracted to the homemade and traditional materials displayed.

Visitors of the exhibition expressed their admiration of the Syrian pavilion, particularly these which are characterized by traditional homemade products, as items of century-inherited handcrafts received huge turnout.

They said "the Syrian pavilion is interesting and diversified and ladies working there are nice and smart", expressing their hope that war in Syria would soon come to an end.

The visitors made it clear that the exhibition has been held for the third year respectively under the patronage of the Syrian Embassy in Moscow.

The Russian nun, Mother Alexandra participated in the Syrian pavilion to promote the Syrian products, stressing that her participation in the Syrian pavilion represents an expression of solidarity with Syria, expressing her country's desire to bolster the Syrian-Russian friendship and cooperation relations in all domains.

Concerning her participation in the Syrian pavilion, Mother Alexandra said" we have been in Syria and have inspected the situation there where we have seen the bad impacts and serious repercussions of the unjust war waged on Syria by the foreign-backed terrorists groups".

"We would like to share the Syrians with any work" as Mother Alexandra expressed.

For her part, Head of the Russian Fund for Supporting and Protecting Spiritual Antiquities, Valentina  Lantsava hailed the visitors' admiration of the Syrian pavilion, stressing the importance of Syria's participation in such activities to preserve her pioneering and pivotal role in world exhibitions  and markets.

Participants in the Syrian pavilion expressed their pride in Syria's participation in such activities despite the severe circumstances and barbaric acts that reflect the obscurantist mentality of the foreign-backed terrorists groups.

They expressed appreciation of the Syrian Arab Army which is defending the homeland and preserving its stability in the face of heinous and brutal war, asserting their blood will not go in vain but will illuminate the path of confronting terrorism all over the world.

Rawaa Ghanam

Dor katlimo: the first system of heavy settlement in Alkhabour valley

Over Syrian territory lay thousands of archaeological sites where outdated cities and villages turned into piles of ruins. While excavation did only cover a small part of archaeological sites, yet it has led to the discovery of amazing civilizations as Ebla, Mari, and Ugarit which were called Mesopotamia, are by their own constituting a civilizations reservoir for the region.  Their origins are deeply rooted in history going back to more than nine thousand years ago. Any person visiting north Syria cities in particular Deir el Zor,  Hasakah, and Qamishli which represent  the so called “Al-Jazzera”  (Syrian Island), will be surprised to find a large number of archaeological missions deployed in all parts of the region.

They are exploring and looking for historical findings in one of the richest areas for ancient oriental civilizations, having witnessed many empires from Neolithic to Akkad, the first great kingdom in ancient East in the triangle of Khabour headwaters, being an independent regional civilization. Their cultural expression and material symbol is represented in pottery called Khabour Pottery Pattern. After Mitanni fall,  which capital has not been found to date,  Middle Assyrian kingdom leaders extended their full sovereignty on Al-Jazzera eastern side, which was the natural region for Assyria.

One of the most famous kingdoms left by Assyrians on Khabour River banks is Dor Katlimo kingdom  locate now at Tel Sheikh Hamad, 68 km north east of Deir Ezzor. It was so called in cuneiform tablets found 32 years ago by an archeological expedition, is an ancient Assyrian city dating back to 4th millennium BC. Prospectors named it(Assyrian Red House) after the reddish color of paintings found the palaces walls. on It was an important staging post in Assyrian transport network and played a role in news exchange between the regions and the capital (Ashur).

The site was discovered by chance after finding a number of cuneiform panels on Khabour banks indicating the city site. Tablets discovered at the site and written in Aramaic, are rare documents as only 44 have been found in all the world. Another discovery is a small bronze statue of  17cm height in the shape of a winged man.

The empire first phase dates back to second millennium BC, whereas the second is in first millennium BC (800-500 BC), as recorded by Dor Katlimo discoverer, Dr. Hartmut kuna, professor of Archaeology and Middle East Ancient History at Berlin University.

The importance of Dor Katlimo came from its cultural role in ancient history (19th  century BC), when Assyrians took control of eastern parts of northern Syria to secure trade routes going to Cappadocia and Central Asia. Therefore Dor Katlimo became an vital staging post in the transport network, giving credit to Assyrian trade and military units movements in the exchange of news between the region and the capital (Ashur).

The Middle Assyrian kingdom faced after trade collapse, a long period of deficiency caused by economic and political difficulties. As a matter of fact the Arameans (Oklamu) took control of Assyrian provinces, with the exception of Khabour and its capital Dor Katlimo which was with Shadikany kingdom. They remain an indicator of Assyrian tradition till Dor Katlimo had developed at the end of 8th century BC, after Hammurabi invasion, the most famous member of old Babylonian dynasty.    


 Haifaa Mafalani

Apamea, "The Sun of Cities", Vandalized

Syria's rich and deep-rooted history and cultural heritage have been exposed to acts of vandalism, looting and illicit trafficking by foreign-backed armed terrorist groups since the beginning of the crisis in Syria. The archeological city of Apamea bears witness to the terrorists' barbarism and criminality.

Apamea, the worldwide famous archeological site, is one of Syria's most spectacular national treasures. Some called it "The Sun of Cities" due to its bright history, gorgeous archeological features and the glorious stories of its great heroes who had achieved legendary achievements there.

"The Sun of Cities" was the destination of hundreds of archeologists and researchers who were interested in deep-rooted human history.

Apamea, 60 km far from the north west of Hama province, was founded in 300 BC and it was one of the four main Syrian cities which kept the only gate of the Saluki Empire to the sea.

Apamea's situation, like other Syrian archeological sites, has been deteriorated due to the acts of theft and looting by armed groups. The attacks were supported by enemies of humanity and civilization to prove their anti-civilization mindset.

Chairman of Hama Antiquities Directorate, Abdulqader Farzat said that the foreign- backed terrorist groups and mercenaries have exterminated Apamea's history and its Syrian cultural identity. They illegally ransacked hundreds of sites in the city unqualmed by any human or moral restraint.

Ferzat added that the terrorists have infiltrated into Apamea and pillaged silver, golden and mosaic artifacts.

He clarified that the gangs blatantly carried out illegal excavations using up-to-date techniques and heavy machines, pointing out that these gangs shoveled important historical sites in Apamea city.

Ferzat reiterated that the Turkish government is involved in the crimes which heavily and systematically targeted the Syrian cultural heritage.

He pointed out that when the Syrian army forces bashed the terrorists groups and mercenaries' hideouts, they found mosaic panels, statues, archeological rock heads and twenty valuable objects which had been prepared to be smuggled and absconded outside Syria.

Ferzat made it clear that the aforementioned antiquities were restituted and handed over to Hama Directorate of Antiquities.

 Apamea Museum, which is considered as one of the most important mosaic museums all over the world, was also exposed to pillaging as terrorists groups stole a marble statue of a man's torso and a round stone panel representing the Sun goddess, according to Ferzat.

He stressed that more than 75 Apamea archeological sites were exposed to illegal and random excavation and a number of its important features were subject to acts of barbarism, destruction and looting committed by armed terrorist groups.

He stressed that Hama Antiquities Directorate has spared no effort to save as much as possible the archeological pieces and treasures in Apamea and to guard them against acts of theft and looting.

Ferzat called upon the local society and all concerned bodies in the region to shoulder their responsibility concerning the protection of the Syrian archeological sites and museums which are considered as part of the cultural heritage of humanity.

It is noteworthy to mention that among the most important archeological features of Apamea is the 7km long fence which contains 100 towers, the  triumph arch built after the earthquake of 115 AD and renovated in the 6th century, mosaic panels, a cathedral as well as the Roman-type theatre which is considered as one of the largest ancient world theatres. The 1850m long and 37.5m wide Street of Columns which goes through the city from the northern gate to the southern one was also among the city's attractions.  It goes back to the Hellenistic era.

 There is no doubt that whatever crimes the foreign- backed terrorist groups and mercenaries commit against the Syrian antiquities, Syria will stay steadfast thanks to the cooperation of its locals who are keen to preserve Syria's cultural heritage and curb the illicit trafficking against their cultural properties.


Rawaa Ghanam

Archaeological Siano Hill … Unique Architectural Model

LATTAKIA, (ST) - Tel Siano is one of the five largest archaeological hills on the Syrian coast and is located to the east of the city of Jableh. It is 10 hectares and in area and rises 148 meters above sea level. It is 40-meters above the plain it surrounds and at its peak there is a triangular spatial point that can be seen from all sides.

 Director of Lattakia Antiquities, Dr. Jamal Haider, said that the hill is made up of brown clay that lamellas of dust accumulated above it of different heights. Up the hill there is a clump of trees that shade a few graves and trees distributed on the roof of the hill including oak, pine, hawthorn and other species.

Large areas on the shape of vast progressive cliffs formed in the hill, while in the western part of Siano Village there is famous well known as Siano well, pointing out that the Danish archaeological mission conducted a survey for the archaeological hills in the southern region of the province and unearthed Tel Siano.

In 1990 was the formation of A Syrian archaeological mission was formed in 1990 to rummage in the hill. Excavation resulted in archaeological levels most important is the first level which forms the surface of the hill. It does not contain any archaeological sites and consists of materials dating back to the last century and the second level backs to the seventh century AD," Dr. Haider added.

The third and fourth levels date back to the sixth and fifth BC and the fifth level dates back to the eighth century BC. It is characterized by a big castle big that consists of three sections with a defense tower, an entrance and wide walls. The sixth level backs to the ninth century BC.

In return normalcy The seventh level backs to the / Ancient Bronze III / to the end of the third millennium BC, according to Dr. Haider, where a residential neighborhood was discovered. It consists of two groups of rooms separated by a north and south alleyway while the western group consists of 4 rooms and the eastern group consists of two rooms.

The name of Tel Siano was mentioned in the Amarna letters since the fourth century BC, in the Ugaritic and Hittite texts during the fourth and third centuries BC and in the annals of the modern Assyrian kingdom in the tenth century BC until the seventh, as well as in the book of the Torah.

"The information revealed by the pottery figures indicate the relationship of Siano by the Kingdom of Ugarit, including a message written in Ugaritic from the king of Siano to the King of Ugarit. The letter says: "Peace be upon you. May the Lord of Lords keep you, I have sent you my messenger, Aukhor, to tackle some of the issues that belong me. My brother, take care of him until the day returns. I also sent you my son, Nimo, they will have an audience with you, judge between them and let be a fair settlement with Palo man and men from Beirut who claimed that they are seeking to get some drinks from Ugarit committed hostile acts in Siano." Dr. Haider pointed out.

This letter demonstrates the depth of relations and links that linked between the two kings even in resolving the issues that are contrary to the laws to the care of the interests of both parties.

Sh. Kh.