Ancient Syria, a region encompassing modern Israel, Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan, was home to some of the world’s earliest civilizations. From the city of Ebla, founded around 3000 BC, the Semitic empire developed. This was succeeded around 2260 BC by the Akkadian empire, then by the Amorites whose cities fell to the Hittites in the mid-2nd millennium BC. During the next 500 years Canaanites, Phoenicians, Aryans, Aramaeans and Hebrews settled different parts of the region. From the 9th-7th centuries BC the Assyrian empire dominated until, weakened by Cimmerian and Scythian immigration, it gave way to Babylonian rule.
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