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Western Asia, West Asia, Southwestern Asia or Southwest Asia is the westernmost subregion of Asia. The concept is in limited use, as it significantly overlaps with the Middle East (or the Near East), the main difference usually being the exclusion of Egypt (which would be counted as part of North Africa). The term is sometimes used for the purposes of grouping countries in statistics. The total population of Western Asia is an estimated 300 million as of 2015.
In an unrelated context, the term is also used in ancient history and archaeology to divide the Fertile Crescent into the "Asiatic" or "Western Asian" cultures as opposed to ancient Egypt. As a geographic concept, Western Asia includes the Levant, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Iran, the Armenian Highlands, the South Caucasus, the Arabian peninsula as well as the Sinai Peninsula, making Egypt a transcontinental country. Although the term "Western Asia" is mostly used as a convenient division of contemporary sovereign states into a manageable number of world regions for statistical purposes, it is sometimes used instead of the more geopolitical term "Middle East", for example by the Government of Canada.
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