Location in Syria
|Coordinates: 33°43′30″N 36°5′50″E / 33.72500°N 36.09722°ECoordinates: 33°43′30″N 36°5′50″E / 33.72500°N 36.09722°E|
|Governorate||Rif Dimashq Governorate|
|Elevation||1,100 m (3,600 ft)|
|Population (2004 census)|
Al-Zabadani or Az-Zabadani (Arabic: الزبداني) is a city and popular hill station in southwestern Syria in the Rif Dimashq Governorate, close to the border with Lebanon. It is located in the center of a green valley surrounded by high mountains at an elevation of around 1,100 m. According to the Syria Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), Al-Zabadani had a population of 26,285 in the 2004 census.
Compared to Damascus, the weather in Al-Zabadani tends to be milder in summer, about 5–8 degrees lower, but from December to the end of February it is colder with a lot of snow, and the temperature drops to −10 degrees. The mild summer weather, along with scenic views, led the French colonial rulers to develop the city as a traditional summer resort and hill station, and has made the town a popular resort, both for tourists and for visitors from Syrian cities on the plains, especially nearby Damascus, and for tens of thousands of visitors from the Arabian peninsula. A more elevated region than Al-Zabadani is its neighbour Bloudan, also a resort for thousands of tourists. Bloudan is about 1,500 metres above sea level.
Al-Zabadani is predominantly Sunni, with a substantial percentage of Christians, who have their own church and monastery. Al-Zabadani is rapidly growing and is well connected to Damascus.
Syrian civil war
On January 18, 2012, Al-Zabadani became the first city to fall under the control of the Free Syrian Army, following a bloody battle that lasted 11 days. On February 11, the Syrian Army regained control of the city.
The city of Al-Zabadani is vitally important to Syria's government and to Iran because, at least as late as June 2011, the city served as the Iranian Guard Corps's logistical hub for supplying Hezbollah.
By late July, the town had become a base of operations for Hezbollah and the Iranian Guards. In August local fighters in Zabadani retook 70% of the town with only a few isolated army checkpoints remaining. On February 28, 2014, a truce was reached between government and rebel forces. Later it was reported that the truce broke down and that rebels attacked government checkpoints, with the government besieging and shelling the town. On 26 April 2014, rebels surrendered after intense fighting with government troops, losing their last stronghold along Lebanon's border, only to regain control of the city months later. Following an extended besieging by the SAA and the Hezbollah, a U.N.-brokered agreement was finally signed in September 2015, under which the city was successively evacuated by the rebels and city control ceded back to the Syrian government.
- General Census of Population and Housing 2004. Syria Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). Rif Dimashq Governorate. (Arabic)
- Fahim, Kareem (January 21, 2012). "In Syrian city, a calm that few expect to last". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-01-22.
- Holliday, Joseph (March 2012), Syria's Armed Opposition (PDF), Middle East Security Report 3, Institute for the Study of War, p. 25, retrieved 9 July 2012
- "Iran's Hizbullah sends more troops to help Assad storm Aleppo, fight Sunnis". Nicosia: World Tribune. 29 July 2012. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
- "On the ground in Zabadani, a Syrian town in revolt". The Nation. 2012-08-13. Retrieved 2013-08-29.
- "هدوء حذر تشهده الزبداني وأنباء عن هدنة بين الحر وقوات النظام" [Cautious calm witnessed in Zabadani and news of a truce between the Free Syrian Army and the government forces].
- Blanford, Nicholas. "Town by town, Assad regime retakes southwestern Syria". The Christian Science Monitor. Yahoo!. Archived from the original on 9 April 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
- "Syria rebels surrender in border town". Retrieved 25 October 2014.
- "اتفاق توءمة بين مدينة نوين كيرشين الألمانية والزبداني Twinning agreement between the city of Nguyen Kirchen German and Zabadani". The New Alphabet/SANA. Retrieved 2009-11-30.