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Current dossier: Tribes in Syria

What is the ethnic makeup of Syria’s population? The Library am Guisanplatz has compiled documentation about the ethnic groups in this Middle-Eastern country.

17.08.2018 | Manuel Bigler

This picture shows an excerpt from the letter handwritten by T. E. Lawrence, also known as Lawrence of Arabia, to John Maxwell in London on 8 November 1918.
Excerpt from the handwritten letter from T. E. Lawrence to John Maxwell, London, dated 8 November 1918 (Heberlein collection, Nr. 384)

Syria is home to many different ethnic groups, who in general consider themselves to be Arabs. Colloquially, the groups are referred to as tribes. The country is also home to Kurdish, Armenian, Turkmen, Circassian, Aramean, and Assyrian people.
 

Thomas Edward Lawrence (1888—1935), more familiar as Lawrence of Arabia, was a British secret agent who was involved with various ethnic groups. After participating in excavations in the Middle East (from 1911 on), Lawrence led the Arab Revolt against the Turks in World War I (capture of Damascus, 1 October 1918). 

For a long time, Lawrence lived in Northern Syria, where he came to know and admire the local Bedouin tribes. In the above document that was written three days before the ceasefire in the Middle East was established, he speaks about his efforts to argue the cause of the Arabs before the British Foreign Office. 

If you are interested in the literature that the BiG provides, please consult our list and order from our Online catalogue

Due to the current instability in Syria caused by the civil war, it is advisable to carry out research on the country online. Please find some useful links below.


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