Wednesday, May 18, 2016


Syria Population: 19,747,586
BackgroundFollowing the brkup 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. 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. During the 1990s, Syria and Israel held occasional pce talks over its return. Following the dth of President al-ASAD, his son, Bashar al-ASAD, was approved as president by popular referendum in July 2000. Syrian troops - stationed in Lebanon since 1976 in an ostensible pcekeeping role - were withdrawn in April 2005. During the July-August 2006 conflict between Israel and Hizballah, Syria placed its military forces on alert but did not intervene directly on behalf of its ally Hizballah.Map data ©2009 Europa Technologies - Terms of Use
GeographyThere are 42 Israeli settlements and civilian land use sites in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights (August 2005 est.).Loion:Middle st, bordering the Mediterrann S, between Lebanon and TurGeographic coordinates:35 00 N, 38 00 r:total: 185,180 sq km
land: 184,050 sq km
water: 1,130 sq km
note: includes 1,295 sq km of Israeli-occupied territorySize comparison: slightly larger than North Dakota
Land Boundaries:total: 2,253 km
border countries: Iraq 605 km, Israel 76 km, Jordan 375 km, Lebanon 375 km, Tur 822 kmCoastline:193 kmMaritime claims:territorial s: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nmClimate:mostly desert; hot, dry, sunny summers (June to August) and mild, rainy winters (December to February) along coast; cold wther with snow or sleet periodically in DamascusTerrain:primarily semiarid and desert platu; narrow coastal plain; mountains in westElevation extremes:lowest point: unnamed loion nr Lake Tiberias -200 m
highest point: Mount Hermon 2,814 mNatural resources:petroleum, phosphates, chrome and manganese ores, asphalt, iron ore, rock salt, marble, gypsum, hydropowerLand use:arable land: 24.8%
permanent crops: 4.47%
other: 70.73% (2005)Irrigated land:13,330 sq km (2003)Natural hazards:dust storms, sandstormsCurrent Environment Issues:deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertifiion; water pollution from raw sewage and petroleum refining wastes; inadequate potable waterInternational Environment Agreements:party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertifiion, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modifiion
PeoplePopulation:19,747,586 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 2008 est.)Age structure:0-14 yrs: 36.2% (male 3,679,473/female 3,467,096)
15-64 yrs: 60.5% (male 6,119,459/female 5,822,376)
65 yrs and over: 3.3% (male 310,838/female 348,344) (2008 est.)Median age:total: 21.4 yrs
male: 21.3 yrs
female: 21.5 yrs (2008 est.)Population growth rate:2.189% (2008 est.)Birth rate:26.57 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)Dth rate:4.68 dths/1,000 population (2008 est.)Net migration rate:NA (2008 est.)Sex ratio:at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 yrs: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 yrs: 1.05 male(s)/female
65 yrs and over: 0.89 male(s)/female
total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2008 est.)Infant mortality rate:total: 26.78 dths/1,000 live births
male: 27.04 dths/1,000 live births
female: 26.52 dths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)Life expectancy at birth:total population: 70.9 yrs
male: 69.53 yrs
female: 72.35 yrs (2008 est.)Total fertility rate:3.21 children born/woman (2008 est.)HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:less than 0.1% (2001 est.)HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:fewer than 500 (2003 est.)HIV/AIDS - dths:fewer than 200 (2003 est.)Nationality:noun: Syrian(s)
adjective: SyrianEthnic groups:Arab 90.3%, Kurds, Armenians, and other 9.7%Religions:Sunni Muslim 74%, other Muslim (includes Alawite, Druze) 16%, Christian (various denominations) 10%, Jewish (tiny communities in Damascus, Al Qamishli, and Aleppo)Languages:Arabic (official); Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic, Circassian widely understood; French, English somewhat understoodLiteracy:definition: age 15 and over can rd and write
total population: 79.6%
male: 86%
female: 73.6% (2004 census)
GovernmentCountry name: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:republic under an authoritarian military-dominated regimeCapital:name: Damascus
geographic coordinates: 33 30 N, 36 18 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahd of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins 1 April; ends 30 SeptemberAdministrative 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, TartusIndependence:17 April 1946 (from Lgue of Nations mandate under French administration)National holiday:Independence Day, 17 April (1946)Constitution:13 March 1973Legal system:based on a combination of French and Ottoman civil law; Islamic law is used in the family court system; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdictionSuffrage:18 yrs of age; universalExecutive branch:chief of state: President Bashar al-ASAD (since 17 July 2000); Vice President Farouk al-SHARA (since 11 February 2006) oversees foreign policy; Vice President Najah al-ATTAR (since 23 March 2006) oversees cultural policy
hd of government: Prime Minister Muhammad Naji al-UTRI (since 10 September 2003); Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Abdallah al-DARDARI (since 14 June 2005)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: president approved by popular referendum for a second seven-yr term (no term limits); referendum last held on 27 May 2007 (next to be held in May 2014); the president appoints the vice presidents, prime minister, and deputy prime ministers
election results: Bashar al-ASAD approved as president; percent of vote - Bashar al-ASAD 97.6%Legislative branch:unicameral People's Council or Majlis al-Shaab (250 sts; members elected by popular vote to serve four-yr terms)
elections: last held on 22-23 April 2007 (next to be held in 2011)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; sts by party - NPF 172, independents 78Judicial branch:Supreme Judicial Council (appoints and dismisses judges; hded by the president); national level - Supreme Constitutional Court (adjudies electoral disputes and rules on constitutionality of laws and decrees; justices appointed for four-yr terms by the President); Court of Cassation; Appls Courts (Appls Courts represent an intermediate level between the Court of Cassation and local level courts); local level - Magistrate Courts; Courts of First Instance; Juvenile Courts; Customs Courts; specialized courts - Economic Security Courts (hr cases related to economic crimes); Supreme State Security Court (hr cases related to national security); Personal Status Courts (religious; hr cases related to marriage and divorce)Political parties and lders:legal parties: National Progressive Front or NPF [President Bashar al-ASAD, Dr. Suleiman QADDAH] (includes Arab Socialist Renaissance (Ba'th) Party [President Bashar al-ASAD]; Socialist Unionist Democratic Party [Fadlallah Nasr Al-DIN]; Syrian Arab Socialist Union or ASU [Safwan QUDSI]; Syrian Communist Party (two branches) [Wissal Farha BAKDASH, Yusuf Rashid FAYSAL]; Syrian Social Nationalist Party [Ali QANSU]; Unionist Socialist Party [Fayez ISMAIL])
opposition parties not legally recognized: Arab Democratic Socialist Union Party [Hasan Abdul AZIM]; Arab Socialist Movement; Democratic Ba'th Party [Ibrahim MAHKOS]; National Democratic Front [Hasan Abdul AZIM, spokesman] (includes five parties - Arab Democratic Socialist Union Party [Hasan Abdul AZIM], Arab Socialist Movement, Democratic Ba'th Party [Ibrahim MAHKOS], People's Democratic Party [Riad al TURK], Revolutionary Workers' Party [Abdul Hafeez al HAFEZ]); People's Democratic Party; Revolutionary Workers' Party [Abdul Hafeez al HAFEZ]
Kurdish parties (considered illegal): Azadi Party [Kheirudin MURAD]; Future Party [Masha'l TAMMO]; Kurdish Democratic Alliance (includes four parties); Kurdish Democratic Front (includes three parties); Yekiti Party [Hasan SALEH, Fu'ad ALEYKO]
other parties: Nahda Party [Abdul Aziz al MISLET]; Syrian Democratic Party [Mustafa QALAAJI]Political pressure groups and lders:Damascus Declaration National Council [Riyad SEIF, secretary eral] (a broad alliance of opposition groups and individuals including: Committee for Revival of Civil Society [Michel KILO, Riyad SEIF]; Communist Action Party [Fateh JAMOUS]; Kurdish Democratic Alliance; Kurdish Democratic Front; Liberal Nationalists' Movement; National Democratic Rally; and Syrian Human Rights Society or HRAS [Fawed FAWUZ]); National Salvation Front (alliance between former Vice President Abd al-Halim KHADDAM, the SMB, and other small opposition groups); Syrian Muslim Brotherhood or SMB [Sadr al-Din al-BAYANUNI] (operates in exile in London; endorsed the Damascus Declaration, but is not an official member)International organization participation:ABEDA, AFESD, AMF, CAEU, FAO, G-24, G-77, IA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMODiplomatic representation in the US:chief of mission: Ambassador Imad MUSTAFA
chancery: 2215 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 232-6313
FAX: [1] (202) 234-9548Diplomatic representation from the US:chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Maura CONNELLY
embassy: Abou Roumaneh, Al-Mansour Street, No. 2, Damascus
mailing address: P. O. Box 29, Damascus
telephone: [963] (11) 3391-4444
FAX: [963] (11) 3391-3999
EconomyThe Syrian economy grew by an estimated 2.4% in rl terms in 2008 led by the petroleum and agricultural sectors, which together account for about one-half of GDP. Higher crude oil prices countered declining oil production and led to higher budgetary and export receipts. Damascus has implemented modest economic reforms in the past few yrs, including cutting lending interest rates, opening private banks, consolidating all of the multiple exchange rates, raising prices on some subsidized items, most notably gasoline and cement, and establishing the Damascus Stock Exchange - which is set to begin operations in 2009. In October 2007, for example, Damascus raised the price of subsidized gasoline by 20%, then instituted a rationing system in 2008. In addition, President ASAD signed legislative decrees to encourage corporate ownership reform, and to allow the Central Bank to issue Trsury bills and bonds for government debt. Nevertheless, the economy remains highly controlled by the government. Long-run economic constraints include declining oil production, high unemployment and inflation, rising budget deficits, and incrsing pressure on water supplies caused by hvy use in agriculture, rapid population growth, industrial expansion, and water pollution.GDP (purchasing power parity):$96.53 billion (2008 est.)GDP (official exchange rate):$44.49 billion (2008 est.)GDP - rl growth rate:2.4% (2008 est.)GDP - per capita (PPP):$4,900 (2008 est.)GDP - composition by sector:agriculture: 22.5%
industry: 27.9%
services: 49.6% (2008 est.)Labor force:5.547 million (2008 est.)Labor force - by occupation:agriculture: 19.2%
industry: 14.5%
services: 66.3% (2006 est.)Unemployment rate:9% (2008 est.)Population below poverty line:11.9% (2006 est.)Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%Inflation rate (consumer prices):14.9% (2008 est.)Investment (gross fixed):22.6% of GDP (2008 est.)Budget:revenues: $10.9 billion
expenditures: $13.77 billion (2008 est.)Public debt:41.2% of GDP (2008 est.)Agriculture - products:
Industries:petroleum, textiles, food processing, beverages, tobacco, phosphate rock mining, cement, oil seeds crushing, car assemblyIndustrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production:40.5 billion kWh (2007)Electricity - consumption:39.5 billion kWh (2007)Electricity - exports:991 million kWh (2007 est.)Electricity - imports:1.4 billion kWh (2007)Oil - production:381,600 bbl/day (2008 est.)Oil - consumption:229,000 bbl/day (2007 est.)Oil - exports:155,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)Oil - imports:160,000 bbl/day (2007 est.)Oil - proved reserves:2.5 billion bbl (1 January 2008 est.)Natural gas - production:6.5 billion cu m (2008 est.)Natural gas - consumption:4.4 billion cu m (2008 est.)Natural gas - exports:NA cu mNatural gas - imports:0 cu m (2007 est.)Natural gas - proved reserves:240.7 billion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)Current account balance:-$192 million (2008 est.)Exports:$13.12 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)Exports - commodities:crude oil, minerals, petroleum products, fruits and vegetables, cotton fiber, textiles, clothing, mt and live animals, whtExports - partners:Iraq 30%, Lebanon 10%, Germany 9.7%, Italy 8%, Egypt 5.5%, Saudi Arabia 5.2%, France 4.9% (2007)Imports:$14.32 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)Imports - commodities:machinery and transport equipment, electric power machinery, food and livestock, metal and metal products, chemicals and chemical products, plastics, yarn, paperImports - partners:Saudi Arabia 12%, China 8.7%, Egypt 6.2%, Italy 6%, UAE 5.9%, Ukraine 4.8%, Russia 4.8%, Germany 4.7%, Iran 4.3% (2007)Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:$6.104 billion (31 December 2008 est.)Debt - external:$6.72 billion (31 December 2008 est.)Market value of publicly traded shares:$NACurrency ():Syrian pound (SYP)Exchange rates:Syrian pounds (SYP) per US dollar - 46.5281 (2008 est.), 50.0085 (2007), 51.689 (2006), 50 (2005), 48.5 (2004) note: data for 2004-06 are the public sector rate; data for 2002-03 are the parallel market rate in 'Amman and Beirut; the official rate for repaying loans was 11.25 Syrian pounds per US dollars during 2004-06,Fiscal yr:calendar yr
CommuniionsTele in use:3.452 million (2007)Cellular in use:6.7 million (2007)Telephone system:eral assessment: fair system currently undergoing significant improvement and digital upgrades, including fiber-optic technology
domestic: the of fixed-line connections has incrsed markedly since 2000; mobile-cellular service growing rapidly and teledensity about 35 wireless tele per 100 persons; coaxial cable and microwave radio relay network
international: country - 963; submarine cable connection to Cyprus; satellite rth stations - 1 sat (Indian Ocn) and 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocn region); coaxial cable and microwave radio relay to Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Tur; participant in MedarabtelRadio broadcast stations:AM 14, FM 2, shortwave 1 (1998)Television broadcast stations:44 (plus 17 repters) (1995)Internet country :.syInternet hosts:7,857 (2008)Internet users:3.47 million (2007)
TransportationAirports:90 (2007)Airports (paved runways):total: 26
over 3,047 m: 6
2,438 to 3,047 m: 15
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 2 (2007)Airports (unpaved runways):total: 64
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 11
under 914 m: 52 (2007)Heliports:7 (2007)Pipelines:gas 2,794 km; oil 2,000 km (2007)Railways:total: 2,711 km
standard gauge: 2,460 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 251 km 1.050-m gauge (2006)Roadways:total: 97,401 km
paved: 19,490 km (includes 1,103 km of expressways)
unpaved: 77,911 km (2006)Waterways:900 km (not economically significant) (2008)Merchant marine:total: 77
by type: bulk carrier 5, cargo 65, carrier 4, container 1, petroleum tanker 1, roll on/roll off 1
foreign-owned: 7 (Jordan 2, Lebanon 3, Romania 2)
registered in other countries: 196 (Barbados 1, Bolivia 2, Cambodia 48, Comoros 4, Cyprus 2, Dominica 2, Georgia 49, Hong Kong 1, North Kor 1, Lebanon 2, Libya 2, Malta 6, Moldova 1, Panama 32, Saint Kitts and Nevis 7, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 13, Sierra Leone 18, Slovakia 2, Togo 2, unknown 1) (2008)Ports and terminals:Latakia, Tartus
Military branches:Syrian Armed Forces: Syrian Arab Army, Syrian Arab Navy, Syrian Arab Air and Air Defense Forces (includes Air Defense Command) (2008)Military service age and obligation:18 yrs of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 30 months (18 months in the Syrian Arab Navy); women are not conscripted but may volunteer to serve (2004)Manpower available for military service:males age 16-49: 5,251,875
females age 16-49: 4,966,367 (2008 est.)Manpower fit for military service:males age 16-49: 4,242,401
females age 16-49: 4,218,648 (2008 est.)

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