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  Geography
  People
  Government
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Map of Syria

DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Syria
Background:
Definition Field Listing
Following the breakup of the Ottoman Empire during World War I, Syria was administered by the French until independence in 1946. In the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, Syria lost the Golan Heights to Israel. Since 1976, Syrian troops have been stationed in Lebanon, ostensibly in a peacekeeping capacity. In recent years, Syria and Israel have held occasional peace talks over the return of the Golan Heights.

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   Geography    Syria
Location:
Definition Field Listing
Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Lebanon and Turkey
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
35 00 N, 38 00 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Middle East
Area:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 185,180 sq km
land: 184,050 sq km
water: 1,130 sq km
note: includes 1,295 sq km of Israeli-occupied territory
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly larger than North Dakota
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 2,253 km
border countries: Iraq 605 km, Israel 76 km, Jordan 375 km, Lebanon 375 km, Turkey 822 km
Coastline:
Definition Field Listing
193 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 41 nm
Climate:
Definition Field Listing
mostly desert; hot, dry, sunny summers (June to August) and mild, rainy winters (December to February) along coast; cold weather with snow or sleet periodically in Damascus
Terrain:
Definition Field Listing
primarily semiarid and desert plateau; narrow coastal plain; mountains in west
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: unnamed location near Lake Tiberias -200 m
highest point: Mount Hermon 2,814 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
petroleum, phosphates, chrome and manganese ores, asphalt, iron ore, rock salt, marble, gypsum, hydropower
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 25.22%
permanent crops: 4.43%
other: 70.35% (2001)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
12,130 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
dust storms, sandstorms
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; water pollution from raw sewage and petroleum refining wastes; inadequate potable water
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
there are 42 Israeli settlements and civilian land use sites in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights (February 2002 est.)

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   People    Syria
Population:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
18,016,874
note: in addition, about 40,000 people live in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights - 20,000 Arabs (18,000 Druze and 2,000 Alawites) and about 20,000 Israeli settlers (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 38% (male 3,524,406; female 3,319,323)
15-64 years: 58.7% (male 5,421,133; female 5,163,669)
65 years and over: 3.3% (male 281,795; female 306,548) (2004 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 20 years
male: 19.9 years
female: 20.2 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
2.4% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
28.93 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.96 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.92 male(s)/female
total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 30.6 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 30.82 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 30.35 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 69.71 years
male: 68.47 years
female: 71.02 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.61 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0.01% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA
Nationality:
Definition Field Listing
noun: Syrian(s)
adjective: Syrian
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Arab 90.3%, Kurds, Armenians, and other 9.7%
Religions:
Definition Field Listing
Sunni Muslim 74%, Alawite, Druze, and other Muslim sects 16%, Christian (various sects) 10%, Jewish (tiny communities in Damascus, Al Qamishli, and Aleppo)
Languages:
Definition Field Listing
Arabic (official); Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic, Circassian widely understood; French, English somewhat understood
Literacy:
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 76.9%
male: 89.7%
female: 64% (2003 est.)

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   Government    Syria
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Syrian Arab Republic
conventional short form: Syria
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Arabiyah as Suriyah
local short form: Suriyah
former: United Arab Republic (with Egypt)
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
republic under military regime since March 1963
Capital:
Definition Field Listing
Damascus
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
14 provinces (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Al Hasakah, Al Ladhiqiyah, Al Qunaytirah, Ar Raqqah, As Suwayda', Dar'a, Dayr az Zawr, Dimashq, Halab, Hamah, Hims, Idlib, Rif Dimashq, Tartus
Independence:
Definition Field Listing
17 April 1946 (from League of Nations mandate under French administration)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Independence Day, 17 April (1946)
Constitution:
Definition Field Listing
13 March 1973
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
based on Islamic law and civil law system; special religious courts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: President Bashar al-ASAD (since 17 July 2000); Vice Presidents Abd al-Halim ibn Said KHADDAM (since 11 March 1984) and Muhammad Zuhayr MASHARIQA (since 11 March 1984)
head of government: Prime Minister Muhammad Naji al-UTRI (since 10 September 2003), Deputy Prime Ministers Lt. Gen. Mustafa TALAS (since 11 March 1984), Farouk al-SHARA (since 13 December 2001), Dr. Muhammad al-HUSAYN (since 13 December 2001)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term; referendum/election last held 10 July 2000 - after the death of President Hafiz al-ASAD, father of Bashar al-ASAD - (next to be held NA 2007); vice presidents appointed by the president; prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the president
election results: Bashar al-ASAD elected president; percent of vote - Bashar al-ASAD 97.29%
note: Hafiz al-ASAD died on 10 June 2000; on 20 June 2000, the Ba'th Party nominated Bashar al-ASAD for president and presented his name to the People's Council on 25 June 2000
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
unicameral People's Council or Majlis al-shaab (250 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 2-3 March 2003 (next to be held NA 2007)
election results: percent of vote by party - NPF 67%, independents 33%; seats by party - NPF 167, independents 83; note - the constitution guarantees that the Ba'th Party (part of the NPF alliance) receives one-half of the seats
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Supreme Constitutional Court (justices are appointed for four-year terms by the president); High Judicial Council; Court of Cassation; State Security Courts
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
National Progressive Front or NPF (includes Arab Socialist Renaissance (Ba'th) Party (governing party) [President Bashar al-ASAD, secretary general], Socialist Unionist Democratic Party [Ahmad al ASAD], Syrian Communist Party [leader NA], Unionist Socialist Party [leader NA], Arab Socialist Party [Abd al-Ghani QANNUT], and Arab Socialist Unionist Movement [Sami SUFAN]) [President Bashar al-ASAD, chairman]; Syrian Arab Socialist Party or ASP [Safwan QUDSI]; Syrian Communist Party or SCP [Yusuf FAYSAL]; Syrian Social National Party [Jubran URAYJI]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
conservative religious leaders; Muslim Brotherhood (operates in exile in Jordan and Yemen); non-Ba'th parties have little effective political influence
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
ABEDA, AFESD, AMF, CAEU, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, LAS, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNRWA, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WMO, WToO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Imad MUSTAFA
chancery: 2215 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 232-6313
FAX: [1] (202) 234-9548
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Margaret SCOBEY
embassy: Abou Roumaneh, Al-Mansur Street, No. 2, Damascus
mailing address: P. O. Box 29, Damascus
telephone: [963] (11) 333-1342
FAX: [963] (11) 331-9678
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black, colors associated with the Arab Liberation flag; two small green five-pointed stars in a horizontal line centered in the white band; former flag of the United Arab Republic where the two stars represented the constituent states of Syria and Egypt; similar to the flag of Yemen, which has a plain white band, Iraq, which has three green stars (plus an Arabic inscription) in a horizontal line centered in the white band, and that of Egypt, which has a gold Eagle of Saladin centered in the white band; the current design dates to 1980

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   Economy    Syria
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
Syria's predominantly statist economy has been growing, on average, more slowly than its 2.4% annual population growth rate, causing a persistent decline in per capita GDP. Recent legislation allows private banks to operate in Syria, although a private banking sector will take years and further government cooperation to develop. Factors including the war between the US-led coalition and Iraq probably drove real annual GDP growth levels back below 1% in 2003 following growth of 3.5% in 2001 and 4.5% in 2002. A long-run economic constraint is the pressure on water supplies caused by rapid population growth, industrial expansion, and increased water pollution.
GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $58.01 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0.9% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $3,300 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 28.5%
industry: 29.4%
services: 42.1% (2003 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
13.6% of GDP (2003)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
20% (2003 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.5% (2003 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.97 million (2003 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture, industry, services NA
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
20% (2002 est.)
Budget:
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $6.106 billion
expenditures: $7.397 billion, including capital expenditures of $3.6 billion (2003 est.)
Public debt:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
89% of GDP (2003)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
wheat, barley, cotton, lentils, chickpeas, olives, sugar beets; beef, mutton, eggs, poultry, milk
Industries:
Definition Field Listing
petroleum, textiles, food processing, beverages, tobacco, phosphate rock mining
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
23.26 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
21.63 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
522,700 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
265,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2001)
Oil - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.4 billion bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5.84 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5.84 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
240.7 billion cu m (1 January 2002)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$-72 million (2003)
Exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$5.143 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
crude oil, petroleum products, fruits and vegetables, cotton fiber, clothing, meat and live animals, wheat
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Germany 19.9%, Italy 11.9%, Turkey 8.4%, UAE 7.2%, Lebanon 5.9%, France 5.1%, Croatia 4.6% (2003 est.)
Imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$4.845 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
machinery and transport equipment, electric power machinery, food and livestock, metal and metal products, chemicals and chemical products, plastics, yarn, paper
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Germany 7%, Italy 7%, China 6.2%, France 5.8%, South Korea 4.7%, Turkey 4.5% (2003 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange & gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$3.329 billion (2003)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$21.55 billion (2003 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$199 million (1997 est.)
Currency:
Definition Field Listing
Syrian pound (SYP)
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
SYP
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Syrian pounds per US dollar - (Official rate): 11.225 (2003), 11.225 (2002), 11.225 (2001), 11.225 (2000), 11.225 (1999), (Free market rate): 49.65 (2001), 49.4 (2000), 51.7 (1999)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year

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   Communications    Syria
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2,099,300 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
400,000 (2002)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: fair system currently undergoing significant improvement and digital upgrades, including fiber-optic technology
domestic: coaxial cable and microwave radio relay network
international: country code - 963; satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) and 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region); 1 submarine cable; coaxial cable and microwave radio relay to Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey; participant in Medarabtel
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 14, FM 2, shortwave 1 (1998)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
44 (plus 17 repeaters) (1995)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
.sy
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
11 (2004)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
220,000 (2002)

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   Transportation    Syria
Railways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 2,711 km
standard gauge: 2,460 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 251 km 1.050-m gauge (2003)
Highways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 43,381 km
paved: 10,021 km (including 877 km of expressways)
unpaved: 33,360 km (1999)
Waterways:
Definition Field Listing
870 km (minimal economic importance)
Pipelines:
Definition Field Listing
gas 2,300 km; oil 2,183 km (2003)
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Baniyas, Jablah, Latakia, Tartus
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing
total: 122 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 446,981 GRT/636,620 DWT
by type: bulk 12, cargo 101, container 2, livestock carrier 4, petroleum tanker 1, refrigerated cargo 1, roll on/roll off 1
foreign-owned: Egypt 1, Germany 1, Greece 1, Italy 1, Lebanon 10, Romania 1
registered in other countries: 83 (2003 est.)
Airports:
Definition Field Listing
93 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 26
over 3,047 m: 5
2,438 to 3,047 m: 16
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 2 (2003 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 67
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 10
under 914 m: 55 (2003 est.)
Heliports:
Definition Field Listing
7 (2003 est.)

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   Military    Syria
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Syrian Arab Army, Syrian Arab Navy, Syrian Arab Air Force (including Air Defense Command), Police and Security Force
Military manpower - military age:
Definition Field Listing
19 years of age (2004 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 4,876,040 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 2,716,054 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males: 216,077 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$858 million (FY00 est.); note - based on official budget data that may understate actual spending
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5.9% (FY00)

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   Transnational Issues    Syria
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
Golan Heights is Israeli-occupied; Lebanon claims Shaba'a farms in Golan Heights; Syrian troops have been stationed in Lebanon since October 1976; Syria protests Turkish hydrological projects regulating upper Euphrates waters
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
a transit point for opiates and hashish bound for regional and Western markets; weak anti-money-laundering controls, bank privatization may leave it vulnerable to money-laundering

Large portions of this information is from the US government open source publication "The World Factbook", other content copyright © Stratus-Pikpuk, Inc. You may use this information without permission for educational or other non-profit purposes if you refer to us as the source, contact us if you want to use this commercially.


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