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Al Hamidiyah (or al-Hamidiyya) (Arabic: الحميدية) is a town on the Syrian coast, about 3 km from the Lebanese border. The town was founded in a very short time on the direct orders of the Ottoman Sultan ‘Abdu’l-Hamid II around 1897, to serve as a refuge for the Greek speaking Muslim Cretans. They had been forced to leave Crete during the 1897-98 Greco-Turkish War and were resettled by Sultan 'Abdu'l-Hamid II in Hamidiyah and other coastal areas of the Levant and as far as Libya. The majority still speak Cretan Greek in their daily lives. According to the Syria Central Bureau of Statistics, al-Hamidiyah had a population of 7,404 in the 2004 census. Today, Grecophone Hamidiyah residents identify themselves as Cretan Muslims, while some others as Cretan Turks.
Syrian Civil War
The town remains under Syrian Government control, as of 2014.
- Werner, Arnold (2000). “The Arabic dialects in the Turkish province of Hatay and the Aramaic dialects in the Syrian mountains of Qalamun: two minority languages compared”. In Owens, Jonathan, (ed.). Arabic as a minority language. Walter de Gruyter. p. 358. “Greek speaking Cretan Muslims”.
- General Census of Population and Housing 2004. Syria Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). Tartus Governorate. (Arabic)
- The forgotten Turks: Turkmens of Lebanon (report). Center for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies. February 2010. Retrieved 8-5-2015. p. 14. "The locals of Hamidiye do not describe themselves as Cretan Turks, but as Cretan Muslims or Ottomans (Kiritlar = Cretans in turkish). Some of the better educated locals in Tripoli have researched their roots and define themselves as Cretan Turks."