During the strong leadership of Hafiz al Assad, Syria played a more influential role in the region than one would have expected based on its size. During the beginning of the century, under the reign of his son Bashar, the country began to develop economically, industrially, socially, and politically. Unfortunately, this development did not last for long and has since stagnated. Nowadays, power is no longer concentrated in one person, but the country is stuck between its traditional political and cultural ties with Iran and diplomatic and economic openings with the West.
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