Syrian

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Syria is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including Syrian Arabs, Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians, Kurds, and Circassians which is reflected in the nation’s rich and vibrant cultural traditions. Even though the fast few decades have been marred by political instability, violence and chaos, the resilient Syrians have emerged to make a mark for themselves in the world. The nation is well known for its literature and has produced writers like Adonis, Muhammad Maghout, Haidar Haidar, Ghada al-Samman, Nizar Qabbani and Zakariyya Tamer who are famous internationally. Salim Barakat, a Syrian emigrant living in Sweden, is an especially well-known figure in the genre of Syrian folk narrative. Syrian music has long been among the Arab world's most important, especially in the field of classical Arab music, and singers and musicians like Asmahan, Farid al-Atrash and Lena Chamamyan are playing a significant role in popularizing Arab music throughout the world. The Syrian Civil War which began in the early spring of 2011 has unfortunately led to the incarceration of several of the country’s illustrious artists, poets, writers and activists, including famed cartoonist Akram Raslam who was killed in 2013. This section provides you information about the life and works of famous Syrians.
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 1 
Ignatius of Antioch
(Syrian Bishop)
Ignatius of Antioch
4
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthplace: Roman Syria
Died: 0108 AD

Ignatius of Antioch went down in history as a man who was arrested and executed for his non-allegiance to Roman gods. The seven letters he wrote while being escorted from Antioch to Rome as a prisoner later served as a mirror that reflected his concern for Christianity, against false teachings.

 2 
Bashar al-Assad
(President of Syria)
Bashar al-Assad
45
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: September 11, 1965
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Damascus

Bashar al-Assad is the current president of Syria and has been serving in this position since 17 July 2000. Over the years, he has also had a major impact on Syria as the commander-in-chief of the country's Armed Forces. In 2011, his decision to impose military sieges on protesters participating in the Arab Spring resulted in the ongoing Syrian Civil War.

 3 
Asma al-Assad
(First Lady of Syria)
Asma al-Assad
9
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: August 11, 1975
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Acton

Born to Syrian-origin parents in Britain, Asma al-Assad is now the First Lady of Syria, through her marriage to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. In 2021, an investigation related to her alleged involvement in war crimes in Syria was opened, which if proven could strip her of her British citizenship.

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 4 
Zenobia
(Queen of Palmyra Who Revolted against Rome but Was Eventually Defeated)
Zenobia
0
Birthdate: 0240 AD
Birthplace: Palmyra, Syria
Died: 0274 AD

A 3rd-century queen of the Roman colony of Palmyra, which is in present-day Syria, Zenobia took over as the regent of her son, Wahballat, after the assassination of her husband, Odaenathus. She conquered Egypt and much of Asia Minor. Though she declared her independence from Rome, she was defeated eventually.

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 5 
Jacob
(Religious leader)
Jacob
0
Listed In: Leaders
Birthplace: Canaan
 6 
Moustapha Akkad
(For producing the original series of Halloween films and directing The Message and Lion of the Desert)
Moustapha Akkad
0
Birthdate: July 1, 1930
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Aleppo, Syria
Died: November 11, 2005
 7 
John of Damascus
(Saint, Best Known for His Strong Defence of 'Icons')
John of Damascus
0
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: 0676 AD
Birthplace: Damascus, Syria
Died: December 4, 0749

John of Damascus was a Christian apologist, priest, and monk. A polymath, John contributed to various fields, such as philosophy, theology, law, and music. He also wrote several works explaining the Christian faith. The hymns which he composed are still used in Eastern Christian practice as well as in western Lutheranism.

 8 
Baibars
(Sultan of Egypt)
Baibars
2
Birthdate: July 19, 1223
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cumania
Died: July 1, 1277
 9 
Nizar Qabbani
(Diplomat)
Nizar Qabbani
4
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: March 21, 1923
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Damascus
Died: April 30, 1998

Nizar Qabbani was a Syrian writer, diplomat, publisher, and poet. Renowned for incorporating themes like eroticism, religion, love, feminism, and Arab nationalism into his poetry, Qabbani's poems have achieved worldwide acclaim; they have been translated into many languages, including English and Russian. Regarded as Syria's National Poet, Qabbani is also one of the most respected poets in the Arab world.

 10 
Jacob in Islam
0
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthplace: Syria, Syria
 11 
Ibn an-Nafīs
(Polymath)
Ibn an-Nafīs
0
Birthdate: 1213 AD
Birthplace: Damascus, Syria
Died: December 17, 1288
 12 
St. Simeon Stylites
0
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: 0390 AD
Birthplace: Kozan, Turkey
Died: September 2, 0459
 13 
Asmahan
(Actress)
Asmahan
1
Birthdate: November 25, 1912
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Syria
Died: July 14, 1944
 14 
Abd al-Rahman I
0
Birthdate: 0731 AD
Birthplace: Palmyra, Syria
Died: August 31, 0788
 15 
Rifaat al-Assad
(Syrian General Who Supposedly Supervised ‘Hama Massacre’ and Later Served as the Vice President of Syria)
Rifaat al-Assad
0
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: August 22, 1937
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Qardaha

Syrian politician and former military personnel Rifaat Ali al-Assad, brother of late President of Syria, Hafez Assad, and uncle of current President Bashar al-Assad, served as Vice President of Syria from March 1984 to February 1998. According to some sources, he allegedly supervised Hama massacre (1982), carried out by the Syrian Army, resulting in suppression of Islamist insurgency in Syria.

 16 
Odaenathus
0
Birthdate: 0220 AD
Birthplace: Palmyra, Syria
Died: 0267 AD
 17 
Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik
(The 10th Umayyad Caliph Who Built Many Palaces and Reformed His Kingdom's Taxation System)
Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik
0
Birthdate: 0691 AD
Birthplace: Damascus, Syria
Died: February 6, 0743

The 10th Umayyad caliph Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik reigned during a relatively calm period. His main goal was to defend the vast empire that he had inherited. He built countless castles and palaces in Syria. He is also believed to have reformed the agricultural taxation system of his kingdom.

 18 
Hafez al-Assad
(18th President of Syria)
Hafez al-Assad
12
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: October 6, 1930
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Al Qardahah, Syria
Died: June 10, 2000
Hafez al-Assad was the Syrian president from 1971 to 2000. He also served as the country’s prime minister from 1970 to 1971. The Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party leader was part of the 1963 coup that dethroned President Nazim al-Kudsi and the 1966 coup which made him the Syrian defense minister.
 19 
Maron
(Saint)
Maron
0
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthplace: Syria Prima
Died: 0410 AD
 20 
Salah Jadid
(Syrian General and Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party Leader)
Salah Jadid
0
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: 1926 AD
Birthplace: Dwaer Baabda, Syria
Died: August 19, 1993

Syrian general Salah Jadid was a prominent leader of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party of Syria, also known as the Syrian Regional Branch, which he led as its Assistant Regional Secretary. He became the de facto ruler of Syria but was eventually ousted by the Corrective Revolution of Hafez al-Assad.

 21 
Antiochus I Soter
0
Birthdate: 0324 BC
Birthplace: Macedonia
Died: 0261 BC
 22 
Yazid I
(Second Caliph of the Umayyad Caliphate)
Yazid I
7
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: July 20, 0646
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Rif-Dimashq Governorate, Syria
Died: November 12, 0683

Yazid I reigned as the caliph of the Umayyad Caliphate from 680 until his death in 683. The second caliph of the caliphate, Yazid's appointment was the first succession based on hereditary in the history of Islam. His caliphate was marked by the commencement of the Second Fitna, a period of military and political disorder in the Islamic community.

 23 
Feras Antoon
(Syrian-Canadian Pornographer & Co-owner and CEO of 'Mindgeek', the World's Largest Pornography Company)
Feras Antoon
7
Listed In: Business People
Birthdate: June 29, 1975
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Damascus, Syria

Canadian pornographer Feras Antoon is best known as co-founder and CEO of the privately held Canadian company called MindGeek that mainly focuses on pornography. It is considered to be the largest pornography company across the world and runs many popular pornographic video sharing websites like Pornhub, YouPorn and RedTube, and also adult film production companies like Brazzers and Reality Kings.

Alan Kurdi
4
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: 2012 AD
Birthplace: Kobane, Syria
Died: September 2, 2015
 25 
Omar Bakri Muhammad
(Syrian Sunni Islamist Cleric Who Supported Terrorist Organizations in the UK)
Omar Bakri Muhammad
1
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: 1958 AD
Birthplace: Aleppo, Syria

A prominent Sunni Islamist cleric from Syria, Omar Bakri Muhammad had a significant contribution to the development of the pan-Islamist fundamental organization Hizb ut-Tahrir in the UK. He later switched to the Saudi Arabia-based militant group Al-Muhajiroun. He eventually fled to Lebanon, where he was sentenced to prison for terrorism.

 26 
Al-Ma'arri
(One of the Best Classical Arabic Poets of All Time)
Al-Ma'arri
1
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: 0973
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ma`arat al-Nu`man, Syria
Died: April 30, 1057

Al-Ma'arri was an Arab poet, philosopher, and writer. Counted among the best classical Arabic poets of all time, Al-Ma'arri was also regarded as a controversial rationalist. He advocated social justice and opposed all forms of violence. Some of his best known works include The Tinder Spark, The Epistle of Forgiveness, and Unnecessary Necessity.
 

 27 
Saints Sergius and Bacchus
3
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthplace: Syria
 28 
Imad ad-Din Zengi
0
Birthdate: 1085 AD
Birthplace: Aleppo, Syria
Died: September 14, 1146
 29 
Najwa bin Laden
(Osama bin Laden's ex-wife)
Najwa bin Laden
3
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: 1960 AD
Birthplace: Syria
 30 
Numerian
(Emperor)
Numerian
0
Birthdate: 0254 AD
Died: November 20, 0284
 31 
Michel Aflaq
(Philosopher)
Michel Aflaq
2
Birthdate: January 9, 1909
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ḥamāh, Syria
Died: June 23, 1989
 32 
Dündar Aliosman
2
Birthdate: December 30, 1930
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Damascus, Syria
 33 
Ibn Kathīr
(Historian)
Ibn Kathīr
1
Birthdate: 1301 AD
Birthplace: Busra, Syria
Died: February 13, 1373
 34 
Al-Walid II
(Caliph)
Al-Walid II
0
Birthdate: 0709 AD
Birthplace: Syria
Died: April 7, 0744
 35 
Shukri al-Quwatli
(The First President of Post-Independence Syria)
Shukri al-Quwatli
0
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: May 6, 1891
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Damascus, Syria
Died: June 30, 1967

Shukri al-Quwatli was not just the 8th president of Syria but also its first president post-independence. He was part of the National Bloc and also led the Syrian anti-colonialist movement. He was overthrown by a coup, imprisoned, and exiled. Re-elected later, he was merely a nominal head.

 36 
Publilius Syrus
(Latin Writer Best Remembered for His Sententiae, a Collection of Brief Moral Sayings)
Publilius Syrus
0
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: 0085 BC
Died: 0043 BC

Publilius Syrus was a Latin writer best remembered for his sententiae, a collection of brief moral sayings. He was also a popular mime artist who drew the attention of famous political figures like Julius Caesar. Publilius Syrus' work, especially his sententiae, has inspired people like Seneca the Younger and William Shakespeare.
 

 37 
Bilal ibn Ribah
0
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: 0580 AD
Birthplace: Mecca
Died: March 2, 0640
 38 
Hashim al-Atassi
(Three-Time President of Syria Who Was Known for His Affinity to Constitutional Rule)
Hashim al-Atassi
1
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: January 11, 1875
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Homs, Syria
Died: December 5, 1960

Three-time president of Syria, Hashim al-Atassi was a nationalist. Born into a landowning family, he began his political career serving as the governors of places such as Hama, Anatolia, and Baalbek. Known for his adherence to constitutional means of governance, he was respected by his opponents, too.

 39 
Nesreen Tafesh
1
Birthdate: February 15, 1982
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Aleppo, Syria
 40 
Tatian
(Assyrian Writer and Theologian)
Tatian
0
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: 0120 AD
Died: 0180 AD
Tatian was an Assyrian writer and theologian. He is best remembered for his attempt to merge the texts of all four gospels into a single narrative of Jesus Christ's life and death; his work came to be known as the Diatessaron. The Syriac-speaking churches adopted the Diatessaron as the standard text of the four gospels until the 5th century.
 41 
Julia Maesa
(Roman aristocrat)
Julia Maesa
0
Birthdate: May 7, 0160
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Homs Emesa, Roman Syria Syria
Died: 0224 AD
 42 
Muhammed Faris
4
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: May 26, 1951
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Aleppo

Muhammed Faris is a Syrian aviator who became the first Syrian to spend time in space. He also played an important role in the Syrian Civil War. In 1987, Faris was honored with the Hero of the Soviet Union title. In September 2017, he was appointed as the Syrian Interim Government's defense minister.

 43 
Theophilus Of Antioch
(Apologist and Patriarch of Antioch)
Theophilus Of Antioch
0
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthplace: Mesopotamia, Iraq
Died: 0184 AD
Theophilus of Antioch was the Apologist and Patriarch of Antioch from 169 to 182. He made immense contributions to Christian literature, exegetics, apologetics, and polemics. Theophilus of Antioch is also credited with writing a series of books titled Apology to Autolycus, which defends Christianity.
 44 
Iamblichus
(Philosopher)
Iamblichus
1
Birthdate: 0245 AD
Birthplace: Qinnasrin, Syria
Died: 0325 AD
 45 
Pope Gregory III
(Bishop of Rome)
Pope Gregory III
0
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: 0690 AD
Birthplace: Syria
Died: November 28, 0741
 46 
Seleucus IV Philopator
(Ruler of the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire, reigned from 187 BC to 175 BC)
Seleucus IV Philopator
0
Birthdate: 0218 AD
Birthplace: Syria
Died: September 3, 0175
 47 
Sophronius of Jerusalem
(Patriarch of Jerusalem)
Sophronius of Jerusalem
1
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: 0560 AD
Birthplace: Damascus, Syria
Died: March 11, 0638
Sophronius of Jerusalem served as the Patriarch of Jerusalem from 634 to 638. He is revered as a saint in the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. Prior to his rise to the primacy of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Sophronius of Jerusalem served as a theologian and monk.
 48 
Jacob Safra
(Syrian-Lebanese Banker)
Jacob Safra
0
Listed In: Business People
Birthdate: 1891 AD
Birthplace: Aleppo, Syria
Died: May 27, 1963
 49 
Demetrius I Soter
0
Birthdate: 0187 BC
Birthplace: Syria
Died: 0150 BC
 50 
Damascius
(Last Scholarch of the 'School of Athens')
Damascius
0
Birthdate: 0458 AD
Birthplace: Damascus, Syria
Died: 0538 AD
One of the pagan philosophers oppressed by Emperor Justinian I, Damascius was a scholarch of the School of Athens. Among his extant works are commentaries on the works of Greek philosopher, Plato. Damascius started his career as a professor of rhetoric and went on to serve as the principal of the School of Athens.