Territory in southwest Asia, nominally ruled since 1961 by the al-Jumhūriyyah al-‘Arabīyah as-Sūriyyah

Syria (Arabic: سوريا‎ Sūriyā), officially known as the Syrian Arab Republic (Arabic: الجمهورية العربية السورية‎ al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-Sūrīyah), is a country in western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south and Israel to the southwest. Syria's capital and largest city is Damascus. A country of fertile plains, high mountains and deserts, Syria is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including Syrian Arabs, Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians, Kurds, Circassians, Mandeans and Turks. Religious groups include Sunnis, Christians, Alawites, Druze, Isma'ilis, Mandeans, Shiites, Salafis, Yazidis and Jews. Sunni make up the largest religious group in Syria.

Measures of Freedom

Human Freedom Index [PDF], The Human Freedom Index 2016
2014: 4.72, Rank: 156, Personal Freedom: 3.85, Economic Freedom: 5.59, Democracy Index: 2.17
Level of Economic Freedom, Economic Freedom of the World
2014: 5.59, Rank: 146
Syria | Freedom House, Freedom in the World 2016
2016: Status: Not Free, Aggregate Score: -1, Political Rights: 7, Civil Liberties: 7
"The civil war that started in the wake of a peaceful 2011 uprising continued unabated in 2015. By December it had displaced some 6.6 million people within Syria and created roughly 4.3 million Syrian refugees; most of those who remained in the country were in need of humanitarian assistance. The United Nations stopped providing casualty figures in January 2014, but the independent Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported a total of 330,000 dead as of August 2015."

Articles

Here's How the U.S. Can Help Rid the World of Chemical Weapons, by Sheldon Richman
Argues the U.S. government could set a better example by destroying all its chemical weapons, encouraging Israel and Egypt to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention, and itself ratifying the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions (which bans cluster bombs)
"(UPDATE: Syria has now ratified the CWC [Chemical Weapons Convention].) ... According to Stephen Zunes, a Middle East scholar at the University of San Francisco, 'Syria has joined virtually all other Arab states in calling for ... a "weapons of mass destruction-free zone" for the entire Middle East. In December 2003, Syria introduced a UN Security Council resolution reiterating this clause from 12 years earlier, but the resolution was tabled as a result of a threatened U.S. veto.' (Emphasis added.) ... Had that resolution been adopted, Syria would not have chemical weapons today."
Related Topics: Israel, United States, War
It Came From Washington: A Criminally Insane Government, by Paul Craig Roberts, 1 Jul 2012
Examines U.S. government adversarial actions towards Russia and China
"The Syrian 'rebels' are well armed with military weapons. The 'rebels' are battling the Syrian army. The rebels massacre civilians and report to their media whores in the West that the deed was done by the Syrian government, and the Western presstitutes spread the propaganda. Someone is arming the 'rebels' as obviously the weapons can't be purchased in local Syrian markets. Most intelligent people believe the weapons are coming from the US or from US surrogates."
Trivial Dispute: Obama versus the Interventionists, by Sheldon Richman, 30 May 2014
Examines the scant differences between President Obama and those advocating military intervention, in arguments for continued U.S. meddling in other countries' affairs
"For example, the conflict in Syria became a full-blown civil war when Obama and other Western politicians declared that President Bashar al-Assad 'must go' and formally recognized certain members of the opposition as the legitimate government. This removed any incentive that Assad and the opposition had to negotiate, which would have ended the killing of innocents caught in the crossfire. U.S. assistance to alleged 'moderates' in the opposition (which is dominated by al-Qaeda affiliates) prolongs the civil war and adds to the casualty toll among noncombatants."
U.S. Has No Moral Standing to Condemn Assad, by Sheldon Richman, 28 Aug 2013
Questions the propriety of the U.S. government's moral pronouncements (and potential military actions) in response to allegations that Syria's government used chemical weapons
"Whether or not Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons, President Obama has no legitimate grounds to intervene. ... Obama's previous intervention is what has brought us to this point. Instead of steering clear of this regional conflict, he declared that Assad must go; ... and armed and otherwise aided Assad's opposition, which is dominated by al-Qaeda-style jihadists who have no good feelings toward America."
Related Topic: War
We Must Not Be the World’s Policeman, by Sheldon Richman, 4 Sep 2013
Considers whether United States government actions against the goverment of Bashar al-Assad are justified from moral and constitutional perspectives
"Even if everything Secretary of State John Kerry says about chemical weapons in Syria were true, the evidence would prove only that Bashar al-Assad committed crimes against civilians. ... Obama and Kerry have tried hard to invoke 'national security' as grounds for bombing Syria, but no one believes Assad threatens Americans. He has made no such statements and taken no threatening actions. He is engulfed in a sectarian civil war. Inexcusably, Obama has taken sides in that civil war — the same side as the Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate — but still Assad poses no danger to Americans. Bombing would make him more — not less — of a threat."
Related Topics: Middle East, United States

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Syria" as of 01 Oct 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.