from Wikipedia Damascus:
Damascus (Arabic: دمشق, transliteration: Dimashq, also commonly known as الشام ash-Shām) is the capital and largest city of Syria. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world (see section: Ancient history), before Al Fayyum, and Gaziantep. Its current population is estimated at about 1.67 million. The city is a governorate by itself, and the capital of the governorate of Rif Dimashq (Rural Damascus).