In its simplest form, syndication is the pooling of money by multiple people for a common goal. I once heard it compared to buying an airline ticket, which I think is a great example.
For our context, our common goal is to invest in real estate for a return, and the group of people are made up of Limited Partners (LP) and General Partners (GP).
What is a Limited Partner? A passive investor in the deal. They have limited liability. Their risk is limited to the amount they invest in the deal, no more. Their other assets are protected. They cannot be sued, they are not on the loan and are not responsible for the active performance of the property.
The active role in the deal is the GP, or deal sponsor. The GP is active well in advance of including the LP side and sometimes is made up of multiple experts that put the deal together (e.g. identify the market and asset, underwrite, contract, entity creation etc). The sponsor manages the strategic business plan as well as the local management team. You will hear GP, Syndicator and Sponsor often used interchangeably.