Difference Between Syria and Assyria

The word Syria and Assyria often confuse people. They are usually thought to be the same places, but actually, they have a lot of differences.

Though they can be called as same places while the first one is a modern term, the latter one is an ancient term or, say, an ancient civilization which no longer exists. Sometimes Syrians are thought to be the descendants of the early Assyrians.

However, Assyrian descendants are still found over the globe, although the region has ceased to exist. Both of the words are thought to be having the same etymology though they do not. 

Syria vs Assyria

The main difference between Syria and Assyria is that Syria is a modern nation located in West Asia, while the Assyrian was an ancient empire that came into existence around the twenty-third century BC. Syria is a present-day well-developed and modernized country having a dominant Muslim population, while Assyrians consisted of people from regions of Iraq, Turkey, and Syria.

Syria vs Assyria

Syria actually called the Syrian Arab Republic, is a modern-day country in west Asia. It shares its international borders with Israel, Jordan, Turkey, and Iraq. The capital of the country is the oldest city inhabited, called Damascus.

The country has a majority of the Muslim population and uses the Arabic language. It got independence from a French territory in 1946.

Assyria was an ancient civilization in the region of Mesopotamia. It was established after the division of the Akkadian empire, the north part being Assyria, and the south was called Babylon.

It consisted of regions of current Iraq, present Syria, and parts of turkey and other neighbouring countries. It had a Semitic population.

Comparison Table Between Syria and Assyria

Parameters of ComparisonSyriaAssyria
MeaningPresent-day country in west Asia.Ancient civilization in Mesopotamia.
EtymologyNamed after King Cyrus, who in 1500 BC ruled the region of present-day Syria.Named after the city of Assur.
Geographical locationConstitute of some regions of Assyria, Syrian desert and the coastline of Mediterranean sea.It consisted of regions of current Iraq, present Syria, and parts of Turkey and other neighbouring countries.
Community90% Muslims, the rests are Christians and Druze.The Semitic community having the majority of Christians.
Language spokenArabicAramaic

What is Syria?

Syria is originally known as the Syrian Arab Republic. The ancient kingdoms such as the Umayyad civilization and Ebla civilization, along with the Mamluk Empire of modern-day Egypt, make up modern Syria.

Syria includes a small region of Assyria, the Syrian desert, and the coastline of the Mediterranean sea.

The geographical location of Syria can be described as in between the borders of the Mediterranean sea and western Asia, having Iraq in the east, Lebanon in the west, Jordan in the south, turkey in the north, and Israel in the southwest.

The oldest city in Syria is Damascus and is also the capital of Syria. The country has 90% of its population of Muslims, having a share of 74% Sunni and 13% Shia Muslims.

The rest of the population consists of 10% of Christians ( having Armenians, Arab Christians, and ethnic Assyrians) and 3% of Druze.

After the first world war, Syria was being established as a French mandate. Syria got independence in 1946, followed by gaining parliamentary republic status soon after. Now, Syria is known as the Syrian Arab republic.

The name Syria came from the name of King Cyrus, who in 1500 BC ruled the region, which is now present-day Syria.


What is Assyria?

Assyria was an ancient civilization that existed around the twenty-third century BC and 608 BC. It was situated on the banks of river Tigris.

The place is today’s modern era in Iraq. Assyria was originally named after the Assur city and was also known as Subartu, Ashura, and Asuristan.

After the demolition of the Akkadian empire, which was extended from river Furat to river Dalja, the existence of Assyria took place.

After the fall of the kingdom in 2154 BC, the united country (which had different territories having different leaders having the Akkadian tongue) split into two parts: the north being called Assyria, and the south is called Babylon.

The Assyrians were originally Semitic people, and its geographical area was somewhat of modern Syria and present Iraq before the Arabs invaded Assyria to make it their civilization.

The language spoken in Assyria was Aramaic. The Assyrians opted for Christianity and were one of the first communities to do so. Their descendants form a minor population of turkey, modern Iraq, Northern Syria, and western Iraq.

The Assyrian descendants can also be found in Sweden, Russia, Germany, Australia, Jordan, Armenia, Israel, etc. The distribution of Assyrian descendants took place after the 1990 Iraq war.

assyria 3

Main Differences Between Syria and Assyria 

  1. Assyria belonged to an ancient civilization constituting Semitic people, while Syria is a modern-day country having a majority of the Islamic population. They are Arabic.
  2. Assyria consisted of part of the region that today is modern Syria and present-day Iraq. Syria consists of some regions of Assyria, the Mediterranean east coastline, and the Syrian desert.
  3. Assyrians spoke the Aramaic language while Syrians speak the Arabic language.
  4. The Assyrian population consisted of a majority of Christians, while Syria has approximately 90% of the Muslim population.
  5. Assyrians existed way before Syrians and the Arabs, while the Syrians are mostly Arab Muslims.
Difference Between Syria and Assyria


Though there are differences in Assyria and Syria, they have a common point that is their geographical location. They both share some parts of the same geography.

The Assyrians were ancient people, while Syrians are the modernized people in today’s world. 

Both of them are different communities with different beliefs, languages, religions and existing in completely different time eras.

Assyrians were the very first community to opt for Christian during the ancient time, while Syria has a majority of Muslims due to the outbreak of Arabs in Assyria.

It can be said that Assyria is ancient Syria or vice versa. Syria is a present-day modernized city where once Assyria used to be.


  1. https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/511103?journalCode=jnes
  2. https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/373570?journalCode=jnes
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