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by Wayne Blank
Known in Hebrew as Aram, Syria was also variously referred to as Mesopotamia or Aram-naharain (Syria of the two rivers), and Padan-aram. Sections of Syria were also known as Aram-maahah, Aram-beth-rehob, Aram-zobah.
Hittites and Amorites controlled Syria at the earliest point of recorded history, followed by the Egyptians under Pharaohs Thothmes III and Rameses II (see The Ancient Egyptians) who ruled over the region from Libya to the Euphrates River.
King David achieved the first Israelite control over Syria, followed by his son Solomon under whom the united kingdom of Israel reached its peak (see Solomon's Kingdom). Later, Syria was involved in the wars between the divided kingdom of Israel and Judah (see Jews At War With Israel).
Syria came under the control of the Assyrians (see Ancient Empires - Assyria) who conquered the northern kingdom of Israel, and carried the people of the "Lost Ten Tribes away into historical oblivion. As kingdoms inevitably rose and fell, Syria subsequently came under the rule of the Babylonians (see Ancient Empires - Babylon) and Persians (see Ancient Empires - Persia).
Syria fell to the Greeks under Alexander the Great (see Ancient Empires - Greece) after the Battle of Issus in 331 B.C. After Alexander's early death, Syria became the heart of the Seleucid kingdom (see The Seleucids and Antiochus IV).
Fact Finder: What apostle was converted in Syria on his way to Damascus?