Ancient World /
This region has one of the world's deepest histories, being home to two of the cities claiming to be the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world: Damascus and Aleppo. The first settled city here was Ugarit, emerging in the middle of the 7th millennium BCE, the regions of Damascus and Aleppo came first in the 4th millennium.
Ancient Syria is both home of primary civilizations, civilizations that emerge directly from peoples of the region, as well as secondary civilizations, civilizations that are formed by immigrants, or according to patterns of neighbouring countries.
Syria found itself as the natural region of expansion of great powers in Mesopotamia, and was also the region that Ancient Egypt expanded into during its period of greatest power. The battle of Kadesh, the most famous battle in Egyptian history, was on Syrian territory. Eventually, new forces to the north emerged, at first the Hittite Empire. Syria itself was geographically smaller than its neighbours, and from this comes the primary explanation to why Syria would become a region mainly defined by its neighbours, more than its own powers.
Syria's early civilizations emerged in the first half of the 3rd millennium BCE, and for many centuries these cultures were strong and independent. Greater military skills, improved communications would make Syria a battle ground for foreign empires. Syria remained a centre of great civilizations, but then no longer as independent ones. One exception became Ugarit, located on the coast it managed to escape the clashes of interests further inland. Already from ca. 2240 Syria became a hemisphere of Mesopotamian powers, before the Hittites from north, from the lands of modern Turkey around 1600. Around 1000, Mesopotamia returned to control Syria, until the arrival of the Persians 6th century, later Alexander the Great in the 4th.