The Syrian Arab Republic, or Syria, lies in Southwest Asia and borders Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Israel to the southwest, Jordan to the south, Iraq to the east, and Turkey to the north. Its position between the eastern Mediterranean, the Iranian Plateau, and Central Asia has meant that, for centuries, Syria has been an important political and trading region that has influenced, and been influenced by, many cultures in the region. The capital of the country is the historical city of Damascus. The Syrian cities of Aleppo, Damascus, Hama, and Homs used to be famous for their woven and printed cloth throughout the Arab world and the eastern Mediterranean. The name Damascus has come into European languages as damask, a form of weave and textile.
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