But as great as these considerable foreign influences were, few would disagree that the most important additions to Syria's rich culture were made following the death of the Prophet Muhammad, when Arab conquerors brought Islam to Greater Syria. By A.D. 661, Muawiyah, the governor of Syria, had proclaimed himself caliph, or temporal leader, and established Damascus as the seat of the Umayyad Empire.
Thus began a dynasty whose realm stretched as far west as southern France and as far east as Afghanistan, an expanse of territory that surpassed even that which Rome had held a few centuries earlier.
Thirteen hundred years after his death, the memory of Muawiyah and his accomplishments still stirs pride and respect in Syria.
Likewise, the image of the great Muslim general Saladin (Salah ad Din al Ayubbi), who defeated the Christian Crusaders in 1187, is deeply imprinted on the Syrian psyche.
These native heroes notwithstanding, it was foreign domination that determined the political boundaries of present- day Syria. First the Ottoman Turks, then after World War I the French, and, more recently, the Israelis shaped the contours of the nation, breaking off chunks of what was Greater Syria and repositioning borders to leave the configuration of the contemporary state.
In spite of these territorial changes, support for a return to the glory that was Greater Syria and a development of a powerful nation-state has remained strong. Syrians share a vision of a pan-Arab entity--the unification of all Arab brethren throughout the region.
The 59-year-old Mohamed al-Zawahiri was arrested while he was meeting opposition militants in Dara'a, the English newspaper The Independent reported on Friday.
According to the daily, Western intelligence agencies fear the arrest could lead to the detention of more al-Qaeda members in Syria.
Zawahiri spent 14 years in prison in Egypt on charges of being involved in the assassination of former president Anwar Sadat in 1981 and taking part in terrorist acts.
Ayman, 61, became the head of al-Qaeda in 2011. In May 2011, US Navy SEALs claimed they killed former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.
Ayman has called for military action against the Syrian government.
Reports say hundreds of al-Qaeda terrorists are active in Syria under the banner of the al-Nusra Front group.
Last month, the US State Department designated the al-Nusra Front group as a terror organization linked to al-Qaeda in Iraq.
Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia are reportedly arming and funding militants fighting the Damascus government to implement Western plans in the Arab county.
Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of security personnel, have been killed in the violence.
The Syrian government says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants fighting the Syrian government are foreign nationals.
Several international human rights organizations have accused the foreign-sponsored militants of committing war crimes.
The announcement by US officials that they are moving to proscribe Jabhat al-Nusra as a terrorist organization at this time is a bit confusing. It sends controdictory messages. Whose side is Washington on? Does it want to bring down Assad and support the rebels? Or does it want to start a civil war among the rebels? The latter would would be a boon to the Assad regime
It sends a message to Qatar and Saudis: “don’t send money to Salafi groups or we will nail you for aiding terrorists and freeze any assets you have in the West.” It would also allow Congress to begin setting policy buy setting sanctions against any militia or regional authority that associates with Jabhat al-Nusra. The Treasury Department’s expanding anti-terrorism branch will also begin to set policy, as it must enforce this sanction.
83 rebel groups reject western 'assistance, aka intervention' and support al Nusra....the original 29 listed here...
support the hero first lieutenant Walid Al-Abdullah (Pom)
2. free Euphrates Brigade
3. coordinating free of b & g m t
4. supporters of the front for victory
5. the Syrian revolution against page alshbih Al bouti
6-Islamic network of Deir ez-Zor
7. to support the 1st hero Kassim Mohammed Fayad
8- (SH.Coordinating alshuhail N.N)
9. comprehensive Islamic Network
10. the Syrian Al-Hasakah governorate
11. the victory of the victory for the people of Sham
12. Information Office in punch
13. free battalions
14. Thunder news network R.N.N
15. Syria supported the network newsletter
16. Palmyra network newsletter
17. the Syrian revolution Revolution in Words
18. the vacancy bridge network
19. free Syrian army/e wing
20. albolil network newsletter
21-Assi revolution news network ||Alaasi Revolution News Network
22. coordinating the Syrian revolution in and around aldhadil district
23. the Office of the active colors video of fairs and countryside
24. millions of Sheikh Adnan Mohammad alarour
25-million Russian disinclined China
26-million Hassan Nasrallah disinclined to incest LAT
27. Noor coordinating martyrs in Aleppo
28. Media Center Halabi | A.M.C
29. Coordination tvetnaz
al Nusra and Benghazi
Al-Quaeda front group Al-Nusra said the killing of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens on Tuesday by a mob that stormed the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and set it on fire was the “best example” for Muslims in other nations to follow.
“What has happened is a great event, and these efforts should come together in one goal, which is to expel the embassies of America from the lands of the Muslims,” the web statement said. Another mentioned the stinger missiles which the group had sought.
The group urged protesters in Muslim nations “to set the fires blazing at these embassies.”