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Syria Facts

Syria Facts | Syrian Arab Republic Information | Syria Statistics | United Arab Republic (with Egypt)

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 SYRIAN POLITICAL
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Background: Following the breakup of the Ottoman Empire during World War I, France administered Syria until its independence in 1946. The country lacked political stability, however, and experienced a series of military coups during its first decades. Syria united with Egypt in February 1958 to form the United Arab Republic, but in September 1961 the two entities separated and the Syrian Arab Republic was reestablished. In November 1970, Hafiz al-ASAD, a member of the Socialist Ba'th Party and the minority Alawite sect, seized power in a bloodless coup and brought political stability to the country. In the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, Syria lost the Golan Heights to Israel, and over the past decade Syria and Israel have held occasional peace talks over its return. Following the death of President al-ASAD in July 2000, his son, Bashar al-ASAD, was approved as president by popular referendum. Syrian troops - stationed in Lebanon since 1976 in an ostensible peacekeeping role - were withdrawn in April of 2005.
 
 
Common Name: Syria Local Official Name: Suriyah
Abbreviated Name: Syrian Arab Republic Official Name: Al Jumhuriyah al Arabiyah as Suriyah
Official Script Name: Syria Local Common Name: Syria
Former Name: United Arab Republic (with Egypt) Territory of: NA
 
Head of State: President Bashar al-ASAD
 
Government Type: republic under an authoritarian, military-dominated regime
 
Independence: 1946 April 17 (from League of Nations mandate under French administration)
 
Constitution: 1973 March 13
 
National Holiday: Independence Day, 17 April
 
International Organization Participation: 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, IPU, ISO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNRWA, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO
 
Administrative Divisions: 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
 
Dependent Areas: NA
 
Legal System: based on Islamic law and civil law system; special religious courts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
 
Suffrage: 18 years
 
Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches: Arab Socialist Unionist Movement [Ahmed al-AHMED]; National Progressive Front or NPF (includes Arab Socialist Renaissance (Ba'th) Party; the governing party) [President Bashar al-ASAD, secretary general]; Socialist Unionist Democratic Party [Fadlallal Nasr Al-DIN]; Syrian Arab Socialist Party or ASP [Safwan QUDSI]; Syrian Communist Party (two branches) [Wissal Farha BAKDASH, Yuusuf Rashid FAYSAL]; Syrian Social National Party [Jubran URAYJI]; Unionist Socialist Party [Fayez ISMAIL]
 
Party Leaders: National Progressive Front or NPF (includes the Ba'th Party, ASU, Arab Socialist Party, Socialist Unionist Democratic Party, ASP, SCP) [President Bashar al-ASAD, chairman]; Arab Socialist Renaissance (Ba'th) Party (governing party) [President Bashar al-ASAD, secretary general]; Syrian Arab Socialist Party or ASP [Safwan KOUDSI]; Syrian Communist Party or SCP [Yusuf FAYSAL]; Syrian Social National Party [Jubran URAYJI]
 
International Disputes: Golan Heights is Israeli-occupied with the almost 1,000-strong UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) patrolling a buffer zone since 1964; Lebanon claims Shaba'a farms in Golan Heights; international pressure prompts the removal of Syrian troops and intelligence personnel stationed in Lebanon since October 1976; 2004 Agreement and pending demarcation settles border dispute with Jordan
 
Illicit Drugs: a transit point for opiates and hashish bound for regional and Western markets; weak anti-money-laundering controls and bank privatization may leave it vulnerable to money-laundering 
 
 
 SYRIAN GEOGRAPHY
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Location of Syria: Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Lebanon and Turkey
 
Continent: Middle East Land Area Total: 185,180 sq km 
Region: Middle Eastern Land Area Land: 184,050 sq km
Capitol City: Damascus Land Area Water: 1,130 sq km
      
Latitude: 035 00 N Border Boundary Land: 2,253 km
Longitude: 038 00 E Border Boundary Coastline: 193 km 
  
Arable Land: 24.80 % Pastures: 0.00 %
Crops: 4.47 % Woodlands and Forests: 0.00
  
Highest Elevation: 2,814 m Location: Mount Hermon
Lowest Elevation: -200 m Location: unnamed location near Lake Tiberias
  
Largest City in Syria: Damascus Damascus Largest City Population: 2,270,000
  
Threatened Species: 26
 
Environmental Issues: deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; water pollution from raw sewage and petroleum refining wastes; inadequate potable water
 
Environmental Agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification
 
Irrigated Land: 13,330
 
Bordering Countries: Iraq 605 km, Israel 76 km, Jordan 375 km, Lebanon 375 km, Turkey 822 km
 
Natural Resources: petroleum, phosphates, chrome and manganese ores, asphalt, iron ore, rock salt, marble, gypsum, hydropower
 
Geographical Terrain: primarily semiarid and desert plateau; narrow coastal plain; mountains in west
 
Comparative Area of Syria: slightly larger than North Dakota
 
Syria's Geography: there are 42 Israeli settlements and civilian land use sites in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights
 

 SYRIAN CLIMATE
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General Climate: 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
 
Natural Hazards: dust storms, sandstorms
 
 
 SYRIAN ECONOMY
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Economic Overview: The Syrian Government estimates the economy grew by 4.5 percent in real terms in 2005, led by the petroleum and agricultural sectors, which together account for about half of GDP. Economic performance and the exchange rate on the informal market were hit by international political developments following the assassination in February of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq al-HARIRI and the specter of international sanctions. Higher crude oil prices countered declining oil production and exports and helped to narrow the budget deficit and widen the current account surplus. The Government of Syria has implemented modest economic reforms in the last few years, including cutting interest rates, opening private banks, consolidating some of the multiple exchange rates, and raising prices on some subsidized foodstuffs. Nevertheless, the economy remains highly controlled by the government. Long-run economic constraints include declining oil production and exports, increasing pressure on water supplies caused by rapid population growth, industrial expansion, and water pollution.
 
 
GDP: $71,420,000,000 USD Currency: Syrian pound
GDP per Capita: $3,900 USD Currency Code: SYP
GDP Growth Rate: 2.80 %
  
Currency Exchange Rate History: Syrian pounds per US dollar - (public sector rate): 11.225 (2005), 11.225 (2004), 11.225 (2003), 11.225 (2002), 11.225 (2001), (parallel market rate in 'Amman and Beirut): NA (2005), NA (2004), 52.8 (2003), 52.4 (2002), 50.4 (2001), (official rate for rep
  
  
GDP of Agriculture: 30.00 % GDP of Industry: 27.00 %
GDP of Services: 51.90 %  
   
Inflation Rate: 5.00 % Population in Poverty: 20.00 %
Unemployment Rate: 12.30 % Tourism: 0.00 visitors each year
   
Consumption by lowest 10%: 0.00 % Budget Revenue in USD: $6,392,000,000 USD
Consumption by upper 10%: 0.00 % Budget Expenditures in USD: $7,613,000,000 USD
   
Electricity Production: 29,530,000,000 kWh Electricity Exports: 650,000,000 kWh
Electricity Consumption: 28,260,000,000 kWh Electricity Imports: 0 kWh

Electricity Production by Source:
 
Fossil Fuel Electricity Production: 64.47% Nuclear Electricity Production: 0.00%
Hydro Electricity Production: 35.53% Other Electricity Production: 0.00%
   
Oil Production: 403,800 barrels per day Natural Gas Production: 6,950,000,000 cu m
Oil Consumption: 240,000 barrels per day Natural Gas Consumption: 6,950,000,000 cu m
Oil Exports: 285,000 barrels per day Natural Gas Exports: 0 cu m
Oil Imports: 0 barrels per day Natural Gas Imports: 0 cu m
Proven Oil Reserves: 2,500,000,000 barrels Proven Natural Gas Reserves: 240,700,000,000 cu m
   
External Debt: $8,566,000,000 USD Received in economic aid: $180,000,000 USD
  Donated in economic aid: $0 USD
   
Agricultural Products: wheat, barley, cotton, lentils, chickpeas, olives, sugar beets; beef, mutton, eggs, poultry, milk
 
Primary Industries: petroleum, textiles, food processing, beverages, tobacco, phosphate rock mining
 
Industrial Growth Rate: 7.00 %
  
  
Import Amount in USD: $5,973,000,000 USD - machinery and transport equipment, electric power machinery, food and livestock, metal and metal products, chemicals and chemical products, plastics, yarn, paper
 
Import Partners: Saudi Arabia 10.6%, China 5.6%, Egypt 5.4%, Italy 5.3%, UAE 5.2%, Ukraine 4.2%, Germany 4.1%
 
Export Amount in USD: $6,344,000,000 USD - crude oil, petroleum products, fruits and vegetables, cotton fiber, clothing, meat and live animals, wheat
 
Export Partners: Iraq 22.3%, Saudi Arabia 15.3%, Italy 8.4%, Germany 8.3%, Lebanon 7.7%, Egypt 4.3%, France 4.2%
 
    
GINI Index: 0.00%
 
Labor Force Number of People: 5,120,000
 
Labor Force by Occupations: agriculture 30%, industry 27%, services 43%
 
  
 SYRIAN COMMUNICATIONS
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Radio Broadcast Stations: 17 Number of People with Radios: 4,150,000
Television Broadcast Stations: 44 Number of People with Televisions: 1,050,000
Number of People with Mainline Telephones: 2,903,000 Number of People with Mobile Phones: 2,950,000
 
Internet Service Providers: 66 Internet Users: 1,100,000
 
Internet Country Code: .sy Newspapers: 20
Two Letter Country Code: SY Weights and Measures:
Phone Country Code: 963 Electricity Voltage: 220 Volts
  
Telephone Systems: 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
 
  
 SYRIAN TRANSPORTATION
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Highways: 18,451 km Railways: 2,711 km
Gas And Oil Pipelines: 4,764 km Waterways: 900 km
Airports: 26 Heliports: 7
 
Motor Vehicles: 31 per 1,000 people CO2 Emissions: 47,673,000 Metric Tons of CO2 per year
  Per capita CO2 emissions: 3.20 Metric Tons of CO2 per year
  
Merchant Marines: total: 108 ships (1000 GRT or over) 386,603 GRT/563,506 DWT by type: bulk carrier 8, cargo 93, container 1, livestock carrier 4, petroleum tanker 1, roll on/roll off 1 foreign-owned: 11 (Lebanon 7, Romania 3, UAE 1) registered in other countries: 130 (Cambodia 20, Comoros 4, Cyprus 3, Dominica 1, Georgia 43, Hong Kong 1, North Korea 14, Lebanon 1, Malta 7, Mongolia 1, Panama 18, Saint Kitts and Nevis 3, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 6, Sierra Leone 1, Slovakia 2, unknown 5)
 
Ports and Harbors: Baniyas, Latakia
 
  
 SYRIAN PEOPLE
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Population: 18,881,361 people type - nationality Birth Rate: 27.76 births per 1,000 people
Population Density: 96.00 people per sq km Death Rate: 4.81 deaths per 1,000 people
Population Growth: 2.30% per year Fertility Rate per Women: 3.40 babies born per woman
 
Population Male 0-14: 3,592,915 Population Female 0-14: 3,384,722
Population Male 15-64: 5,779,257 Population Female 15-64: 5,500,887
Population Male 65+: 296,070 Population Female 65+: 327,510
 
Population 0-14: 37.00% Literacy Rate: 76.90%
Population 15-64: 59.70% Literacy rate of Males: 89.70%
Population 65+: 3.30% Literacy rate of Females: 64.00%
 
Population that is Male: 52.50 % Population that is Female: 47.50%
Life expectancy at birth in years: 70.32 years Infant mortality rate - baby deaths per 1000 births: 28.61 Babies die per 1,000 births
Life expectancy at birth for Males: 69.01 years Life expectancy at birth for Females: 71.70 years
 
Rate of AIDS/HIV infection: 0.00% Number of people living with AIDS or HIV: 0
Number of people who died of AIDS: 0
   
Disease Risk:
 
Diseases:
 
Net Migration Rate per 1,000 people: 0.00
 
Nationality: SYRIAN
 
Ethnic Groups: Arab 90.3%, Kurds, Armenians, and other 9.7% 
 
  
Primary Language: Arabic
 
Other Languages: Arabic (official); Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic, Circassian widely understood; French, English somewhat understood
 
 
Primary Religion: Sunni Muslim
 
Other Religions: Sunni Muslim 74%, Alawite, Druze, and other Muslim sects 16%, Christian (various sects) 10%, Jewish (tiny communities in Damascus, Al Qamishli, and Aleppo)
 
  
 SYRIAN MILITARY
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Branches: Syrian Armed Forces: Syrian Arab Army (includes Syrian Arab Navy), Syrian Arab Air and Air Defense Force (includes Air Defense Command)
 
Manpower Fit to Serve: 18 years
 
Manpower Available: 8,479,752 People
 
Manpower Fit to Serve: 6,875,446 People
 
Amount of Manpower Available each Year: 436,942 People per year
 
Expenditures: $0 USD per year
 
Expenditures as a Percentage of GDP: 5.90
 
 
Note: Phrasebase uses a variety of sources when compiling the facts and information presented above. This information is continually updated throughout the year.
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