Ancient Syria, an area including modern Israel, Lebanon and Jordan, witnessed some of the world’s earliest civilizations, such as Semitic Ebla, which flourished in the 25th century BC near Aleppo. Subsequent centuries brought Mesopotamian influences and empires, including the Akkadians and Ur. The Amorite cities were overrun by the Hittites in the mid-2nd millennium BC before the establishment of the Hurrian kingdom of Mitanni, destroyed by Hittite and Egyptian conflict over the Fertile Crescent. Aramaean kingdoms were harried by warfare with Assyria, which extended its empire from the northeast in the 9th century BC. Immigration of Cimmerians and Scythians in the 7th century broke Assyrian hegemony, which was followed by Babylonian rule.
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