Syria Language and Churches

Syrian language

Syrian language, part of the Aramaic branch of the Semitic languages. The area of ​​origin of the Syrian language is in northwestern Mesopotamia in the area of ​​Edessa. Through Christianity, the Syrian language became the written language of almost all of its followers in the Aramaic language area, so that there has been extensive Syrian literature since the 2nd centurydeveloped. After the ecclesiastical division of the Monophysite Jacobites, who lived under Byzantine rule, from the Nestorians in the Sassanid Empire, brought about by the christological disputes of the 5th century, a linguistic separation also arose, through which West Syrian, which was more exposed to changes and influences, distinguished itself from the more ancient traits of East Syrian through Nestorian missionary activity as far as Central Asia and South India. As a result of the Islamic conquests in the 7th century, the Syrian language was gradually replaced as a colloquial language by Arabic and was only preserved as a liturgical and literary language. Strongly changed New Syrian (or better: New East Aramaic) dialects have emerged as linguistic islands in Kurdistan north and east of Mosul, Turoyo) in southeastern Turkey.

Syrian churches

Syrian churches, summarizing name for the Christian churches that arose in the ancient Syrian cultural area with the centers Antioch and Edessa: 1) the orthodox patriarchate of Antioch, historically in the Byzantine imperial church tradition of the old, strongly Hellenized patriarchate of Antioch; 2) the (West Syrian) Syrian Orthodox Church (Jacobites) thatarose after the Council of Chalcedon (451) as a result of theological disputes, the autonomous (Malankar) Syrian Orthodox Church of the East in Southwest India as well as the autocephalous Malankar Orthodox Syrian Church (Thomaschristen); 3) the (East Syrian) Assyrian Church (Nestorians), established in Persia in the 5th century; 4) the Melkite Patriarchate (Melkites) united with the Roman Catholic Church; 5) five Eastern Churches of Western and Eastern Syriac tradition united with the Roman Catholic Church: the Maronite Patriarchate (Maronites), the Syrian Catholic Patriarchate of Antioch (established in 1656, recognized by the Ottoman Empire in 1662, papally confirmed in 1783), the Catholic metropolis of Syro-Malankars and the Church of the Syro-Malabar Catholics in India (both belong to the Thomas Christians), the Chaldean Catholic Patriarchate of Babylon, which arose in the middle of the 16th century as a result of the union of part of the Persian (“Nestorian”) Christians. (Eastern churches, overview)

The north as a theater of war

From 2017, the north-east of Syria with the province of Idlib and the east of the province of Aleppo became a main arena in the Syrian civil war. This is where the fighting between the Assad regime and its allies and rebel groups that withdrew from other parts of the country concentrated. In internal fighting there, the Hai’at al-Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) prevailed as the strongest force among the insurgents. The alliance of several Islamist groups, founded in early 2017, was dominated by Jabhat Fatah al-Sham. An estimated three million people, many of them refugees, were in the area. The first military offensive by the Syrian armed forces with Russian support began at the beginning of 2018, but it got caught up in the countermovement of the Turkish armed forces in neighboring Afrin. In September 2018, a Russian-Turkish agreement established a buffer zone between the two sides. However, as it continues to attack the HTS Assad’s core area with the Russian air force base near Latakia was followed by another offensive by government troops in April 2019. Flanked by massive Russian air strikes, they captured Khan Sheikhoun on the main road between Hama and Aleppo in August 2019.

According to, the US, meanwhile, reduced its military presence in Syria. President Donald Trump’s The announced reduction of 2,000 soldiers in December 2018 was followed by a withdrawal of further troops from the area held by the SDF in October 2019. Immediately afterwards, Turkey let its armed forces advance into the autonomous Kurdish region together with Arab-Sunni allies of the so-called Syrian National Army (Operation “Peace Source”). In an agreement with Turkey, the USA tried to narrow down the combat zone and to induce the SDF to partially withdraw. US armed forces continued to be present in the east on the border with Iraq and south of Deir ez-Zor in the Syrian oil-producing areas. With Russian mediation, the SDF sought support from the Assad regime against the Turkish advance.

Syria Language and Churches

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