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Syria.

A branch of Mount Taurus running southward soon divides into two main forks, the one (Libanus) following the coast line, the other (Anti-Libanus) turning inland, and then sweeping westward, till it joins the other in the rocky heights that form the northern wall of the Plain of Esdraëlon. The latter is broader, but less elevated than the former, and more barren, but it throws out one lofty off-shoot in the jagged needle points of Hermon (10,000 feet), from which there is spread out a fan-like range tending eastward, which sweeps along the plain past Damascus to Palmyra. A little S. of Hermon the mountains of Gilead commence, which extend in an irregular chain southward, till they join those of Moab and Edom, which skirt the eastern shore of the Dead Sea. Libanus runs from N. to S. along the western coast, broken only in three places: (1) by the great valley of the Orontes (where Antioch stands), (2) by the narrow plain of Issus (near Iskanderûn), and (3) by the wide break called the "Entrance of Hamath" (Numb. xxxiv.); until, having reached its highest point (10,000 feet) near "The Cedars," it turns abruptly westward, and projects a precipitous promontory into the sea between Tyre and Achzib (Josh. xix. 29), creating a natural barrier between Syria and Palestine. Between the mouths of the Orontes valley and the entrance of Hamath, a wide plain stretches along the sea-coast, on which stood Laodicea (Latakea); and, below it, the mountain range throws off frequent lateral roots E. and W., sometimes jutting into the sea, forming alternate bays and promontories, on the latter of which are successively situated, Tripoli, Beyrout, Sidon, and Tyre. Between the two branches, Libanus and Anti-Libanus, lies the 69 plain of Cœle-Syria (70 by 7 miles), drained by the river Leontes, which for four-fifths of its course flows towards the S.W., but then turning W. through a very narrow gorge, empties itself into the Mediterranean about two miles from Tyre.

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