Syriac (ܠܫܢܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܐ leānā Suryāyā) is a dialect of Middle Aramaic that was once spoken across much of the Fertile Crescent. Classical Syriac became a major literary language throughout the Middle East from the 4th to the 8th centuries, the classical language of Edessa, preserved in a large body of Syriac literature.
It became the vehicle of Christianity and culture, spreading throughout Asia as far as Malabar and Eastern China and was the medium of communication and cultural dissemination for Arabs and, to a lesser extent, Persians. Primarily a Christian medium of expression, Syriac had a fundamental cultural and literary influence on the development of Arabic which replaced it towards the end of the eighth century. Syriac remains the liturgical language of Syriac Christianity.
Syriac is a Middle Aramaic language, and as such a language of the Western branch of the Semitic family. Syriac is written in the Syriac alphabet, a derivation of the Aramaic alphabet.
Today, Syriac is spoken the Assyrian population in Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and Iran. In Syriac, the language is called Sureth derives its name from "Assurit" which simply means "Assyrian".