SYRIA (Heb. ’ărām, Gr. Syria). An abbreviation of Assyria or possibly from the Babylonian Suri, the name of a district in northern Mesopotamia. Herodotus first applied the name Syria to the territory occupied by the Arameans, but this name was not popularized until the Hellenistic period. In the Hebrew Bible it is called Aram, after the Arameans, nomads from the Syro-Arabian desert who occupied the area in the twelfth century b.c.