Dark love in Syria

Over at The Review, the mysteriously named MA Orthofer, managing editor of The Complete Review, reviews "The Dark Side of Love," by the Syrian expatriate author Rafik Shami. The book is the story of star-crossed lovers, but incorporates many other narrative strands. The author, intruding in the last chapter, explains that: “Mosaic is the form for a story like this, I thought, a story with a thousand and one pieces in it, doing justice to life in Arabia with all its flaws. And like a mosaic, the further from the observer the picture appears, the smoother and more harmonious it will be.” Sounds good, although where is Arabia exactly?