Idlib Province

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Province in northwest Syria, named after its principal town, Idlib, where the governor resides.

Idlib is north of the mountain Jabal al-Zawiya and east of the al-Ruj plain. There were two Idlib's in the past: Lesser Idlib and Greater Idlib. The last was the most ancient, superseded by Lesser Idlib, the present-day town. The region of Idlib is famed for its olive groves and vineyards. Pistachio and cherry trees have recently proven very productive in its hilly countryside. Cotton of high quality and grains are also among the major crops there. Soap making using olive oil and alkaline burnt herb was the most prosperous industry in Idlib in the past, as evidenced by the presence of three hills in the town made up of accumulating ash from soap furnaces. The soap industry moved to Aleppo, and the hills have been removed.

In the 1952 administrative divisions in Syria, Idlib was part of Aleppo province. Later it became the center of a separate province because of its vast countryside and also because the Aleppo province had become too large. In the administrative divisions of 1982, the province of Idlib had 5 mintaqas or qadas (sections), 15 nahiyas (administrative subdivisions), 6 towns, 16 smaller towns, 411 villages, and 481 farms. The total population of the province, according to the 1980 census, was 352,619 inhabitants, including 51,682 in the town. The province has a number of so-called dead cities dating back to Byzantine times. It also has the well-preserved church of Qalb Lawza and the famous church of Saint Simeon Stylite. The site of historical Ebla has been discovered a few miles from Idlib.

See also aleppo.

abdul-karim rafeq