Assyria / Aūrāyu / אתור / אַשּׁוּר / آشور
The Assyrian people are a distinct ethnic group whose origins lie in ancient Mesopotamia.
They are Eastern Aramaic speaking Semites who trace their ancestry back to the Sumero-Akkadian
civilization that emerged in Mesopotamia circa 3500 BC, and in particular to the northern region of
the Akkadian lands, which would become known as Assyria by the 23rd century BC.
The Assyrian nation existed as an independent state, and often a powerful empire, from the 23rd
century BC until the end of the 7th century BC.
Today that ancient territory is part of several nations: Iraq, Syria
Most of the present-day Assyria live in the diaspora, having escaped genocide, massacres and discriminatory policies.
Most recently the Iraq War has displaced the regional Assyrian community, as its people have faced ethnic and religious persecution
at the hands of both Sunni and Shia Islamic extremists and Arab and Kurdish nationalists.
Of the one million or more Iraqis reported by the UN to have fled, nearly 40% are Assyrians, although they comprise only 3% to 5% of the Iraqi population.
Most of the Assyrians speaks dialects of neo Aramaic.