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. The western two-thirds of Syria's Golan Heights are since 1967 occupied by Israel and were in 1981 effectively annexed by Israel,
- "The international community maintains that the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan is null and void and without international legal effect." . * "...occupied Syrian Golan Heights..." (The Arab Peace Initiative, 2002 , www.al-bab.com. Retrieved 1 August 2010.)
- In 2008, a plenary session of the United Nations General Assembly voted by 161–1 in favour of a motion on the "occupied Syrian Golan" that reaffirmed support for UN Resolution 497. (General Assembly adopts broad range of texts, 26 in all, on recommendation of its fourth Committee, including on decolonization, information, Palestine refugees, United Nations, 5 December 2008.)
- "the Syrian Golan Heights territory, which Israel has occupied since 1967". Also, "the Golan Heights, a 450-square mile portion of southwestern Syria that Israel occupied during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war." (CRS Issue Brief for Congress: Syria: U.S. Relations and Bilateral Issues, Congressional Research Service. 19 January 2006)
"Israeli-occupied Golan Heights" (Central Intelligence Agency. CIA World Factbook 2010, Skyhorse Publishing Inc., 2009. p. 339. .)
"...the United States considers the Golan Heights to be occupied territory subject to negotiation and Israeli withdrawal..." ("CRS Issue Brief for Congress: Israeli-United States Relations", Congressional Research Service, 5 April 2002. pg. 5. Retrieved 1 August 2010.)
"Occupied Golan Heights" (Travel advice: Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories , UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Retrieved 1 August 2010.)
"In the ICRC's view, the Golan is an occupied territory." (ICRC activities in the occupied Golan during 2007, International Committee of the Red Cross, 24 April 2008.)] whereas the eastern third is controlled by Syria, with the UNDOF maintaining a buffer zone in between, to implement the ceasefire of the Purple Line. Israel's 1981 Golan annexation law is not recognised in international law. The UN Security Council condemned it in Resolution 497 (1981) as “null and void and without international legal effect.” Since then, General Assembly resolutions on “The Occupied Syrian Golan” reaffirm the illegality of Israeli occupation and annexation.
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.