Form of Government: Republic
Area: 185 180 sq km
Population: 19 392 460 inhab. (estimate 2020)
Density: 104.72 inhab./sq km
Coordinates: lat. 37° - 32° N; long. 36° - 42° E
Capital: Damascus=Dimashq (capital) 2 011 000 inhab. (2016); Damascus 2 574 000 inhab. (2014), urban agglomeration
Currency: Syrian pound (100 piastres)
Human development index: 0.567 (rank: 151)
President: Basshār Ḥāfiẓ al-Asad (Baath), elected 11 July 2000, last re-elected 26 May 2021
Prime Minister: Ḥusaīn ‘Arnus (Baath), since 11 June 2020
People's Assembly: seats based on the elections of 19 July 2020: National Progressive Front (coalition of political parties headed by Baath), 177; others, 73
Internet: www.cbssyr.sy (Central Bureau of Statistics)
Member of Arab League, OIC, UN, WTO observer

Syria

Sūrīyah, Al-Jumhūrīyah al-‘Arabīyah as-Sūrīyah
Useful information

International license plate code SYR
International dialling code 00963
Travel vaccinations requirement yellow fever (required only if traveling from a country with risk of transmission, including travelers having transited more than 12 hours through the airport of a country with risk of transmission)
Electricity (Voltage) 220
Driving side rigth
Internet code .sy

GMT  +2
DST  +3
DST duration (start-end) late March-late October

Annual average temperature (°C) Damascus 17.4; Aleppo 17.3
Average temperature in January/July (°C) Damascus 7.5/26.5; Aleppo 6/28
Daily sunshine hours in June/December (average) Damascus 13/5; Aleppo 13/4
Annual average precipitation (mm) Damascus 245; Aleppo 333
Days of rainfall (annual average) Damascus 32; Aleppo 57

Politics and current affairs

The country’s situation remained deadlocked in 2020-21. Asad’s regime, which has the support of Russia and Iran, controls most of the territory. A ceasefire has been in place in the Idlib province since 5 March 2020, which is still governed by Sunni integralist groups with the support of Turkish troops. Turkey supports the Free Syrian Army and other rebel groups against government forces. Since October 2019, it has occupied a strip of Syrian territory on the border to block the construction of an autonomous Kurdish entity. Iran mainly makes its presence felt in the south, but it is opposed by Russia and the targeted actions of Israel and the US.

Geography.
Syria is bordered by Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east and south-east, Jordan to the south, Israel (which occupies the Golan Heights) and Lebanon to the south-west and to the west it faces the Mediterranean Sea. The country is made up of a number of desert plains, broken up by areas of higher land from the south-west to the north-east line and culminating in the peak of Jabal ash-Shaykh (2814 m). The main rivers are the Euphrates and the Orontes. The climate is Mediterranean in coastal areas, continental with extremely hot conditions inland.

Government


Independent since 1946, Syria was united with Egypt and Yemen for three years (1958-61) forming the United Arab Republic. In 1963 after a military coup, power was ceased by Baath (the Arab nationalist party with socialist leanings) and in 1970 after defeat in the “Six Days War” (and Israel’s occupation of the Golan Heights) a new coup by the Alawite group, within the Baath movement brought General Ḥāfiẓ al-Asad to power. Upon his death (10 June 2000) the role of President of the Republic passed to his son, Basshār. In 1976 Syria intervened in the Civil War in Lebanon, setting up a form of protectorate (cancelled in 1991 and replaced by a treaty of co-operation). Following the UN Security Council’s resolution ordering foreign troops to withdraw from Lebanon (2 September 2004) and the large-scale protests against Syria in Beirut, in 2005 Syria removed its military presence from Lebanon.
The border with the Golan Heights, still occupied by Israel, is patrolled by a UN security force.
In 2011, the repression of protest rallies against the President Basshār al-Asad regime led to a long civil war. The rebel forces are backed by the monarchies of the Gulf, the US and Turkey (which is however against the activities of Kurdish militia) as well as by countless other countries, which have recognized the opposition forces grouped together in the Syrian National Council as legitimate representatives of the Syrian people. The regime of al-Asad is upheld by Hezbollah Shiites, by Iran and by Russia. The heterogeneous coalition of rebels was weakened by internal division, specifically by the presence of groups connected to Islamic extremist forces who in 2014-15 took hold of ample areas in the northeastern part of the country and in Iraq, then reconquered by the Syrian Democratic Forces, under Kurdish leadership. Syria has also become a theatre for clashes between foreign powers involved in the conflict, particularly the USA (which withdrew in 2019), Russia, Iran and Turkey.
According to the Constitution passed by referendum on 12 March 1973, the President of the Republic is elected for a seven-year term, the candidate being nominated by the People’s Assembly and confirmed by popular vote. The President holds executive power and appoints the government. Legislative power lies with the People’s Assembly, comprising 250 members elected by universal suffrage. Half of the seats are reserved for workers, while 167 of the seats are nevertheless reserved for members of the JWW, the national patriotic front headed by the Baath party.


Defence.
Apart from the regular army, there is also an 8000 strong force of paramilitary armed personnel (the Gendarmerie).

Defence
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Air force27.9%2015
Army69$%2015
Justice
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Crimes490.6per 100 000 pop.2011
Homicides3.5per 100 000 pop.2016
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Administrative division

Administrative divisions
Cities
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Aleppo=Ḥalab2 132 100inhab.2004
Damascus=Dimashq2 011 000inhab.2016
Urban agglomerations
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Aleppo3 519 000inhab.2014
Damascus2 574 000inhab.2014
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Population

Population by age and gender (% - 2020)
75+
60-74
45-59
30-44
15-29
0-14
MALEAGEFEMALE

Refugees fleeing the civil war are about 5.6 million.

Demographic statistics
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Birth rate23.222019
Death rate5.1122019
Ethnic groups
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Arab80.5%2011
Kurd10$%2011


Religions
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Muslim70.6%2017
Christian16.1%2017


Languages
DESCRIPTION
Arabic (official)
Aramaic
Population by selected age groups
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
0-14 years33.5%2020
15-29 years27.3%2020


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Economy


Economic situation.
The effects of conflict have been intensified by Lebanon’s financial struggles, the devaluation of the Syrian pound and ensuing inflation. On 17 June 2020, American sanctions came into force, hamstringing Syria’s economic ties to the USA.

Economy - General data
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Agricultural prod. index (2004-06=100)79.22index2016
Agricultural prod. index (2014-16=100)117.72index2019
Economy - Employment
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Active population5 191 550units2019
Active population, Females16.5%2019
Economy - Unemployment
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Unemployment rate9$%2020
Unemployment rate, Females39.3%2017
Economy - State budget
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Expenses442 180M LCU2009
Revenues600 831M LCU2009
Employment by economic activity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
agriculture10.7%2019
industry26.6%2019
GDP by economic activity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
agriculture20.585%2019
industry30.148%2019
Financial data
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Currency in circulation577.1BN LCU2010
International reserves20 631.9M US$2010
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Agriculture


Primary sector
Agriculture and forests.
Cereal crops are grown, especially wheat and barley, in the ‘Ar al-Jazīrah plains. Fruit farming (especially citrus) is widespread in the mountainous areas and on the coastal plains. Other important products include vines, olives, tomatoes, potatoes, sugar beet, and cotton (grown in the Al-Ghāb plain). The forests are concentrated in the areas around Latakia, Homs, Damascus and Ḥamāh.

Land use
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
arable land31.22%2018
forests2.843%2018
Agriculture - products - Cereals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
barley3 053.1241000 t2019
cereals, total6 359.4751000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Roots and tubers
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
potatoes635.5191000 t2019
roots and tubers, total635.5191000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Vegetables
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
artichokes7.651000 t2019
cabbages61.8951000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Pulses
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
beans, dry1.761000 t2019
beans, green34.3191000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Grape
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
grapes252.0061000 t2019
raisins12$1000 t2006
Agriculture - products - Olive
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
olives844.3161000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Oilcrops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
castor oil seed1.9631000 t2019
groundnuts15.2841000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Industrial crops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
sugar beet18.4521000 t2019
sugar cane0.0011000 t2018
Agriculture - products - Cotton
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
seed cotton141.4621000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
apples286.5641000 t2019
apricots39.4191000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Nuts
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
almonds80.2581000 t2019
pistachios31.8131000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Citrus fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
citrus fruits1 382.3711000 t2019
citrus fruits, nes204.461000 t2019
Agriculture - products - Tropical fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
bananas0.1211000 t2019
dates3.5671000 t2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Cereals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
barley1 480.8861000 ha2019
maize56.2311000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Roots and tubers
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
potatoes24.7951000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Vegetables
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
artichokes0.2551000 ha2019
cabbages2.8981000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Pulses
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
beans, dry0.741000 ha2019
beans, green4.621000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Grape
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
grape45.181000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Olive
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
olive693.2271000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Oilcrops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
castor oil seed0.7411000 ha2019
groundnuts5.6541000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Industrial crops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
sugar beet0.371000 ha2019
sugar cane0$1000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Cotton
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
seed cotton47.9681000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
apples51.9331000 ha2019
apricots13.4381000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Nuts
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
almonds71.521000 ha2019
pistachios59.9891000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Citrus fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
citrus fruits53.4931000 ha2019
citrus fruits, nes7.4251000 ha2019
Agriculture - areas harvested - Tropical fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
bananas0.0021000 ha2019
dates0.4031000 ha2019
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Forests-Livestock-Fishing

Forestry
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
timber75 3532019
Livestock - Cattle
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cattle788.3211000 heads2019
cattle and buffaloes795.4671000 heads2019
Livestock - Buffaloes
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
buffaloes7.1461000 heads2019
Livestock - Pigs
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
pigs0.0091000 heads2019
Livestock - Sheep
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
sheep14 557.6551000 heads2019
Livestock - Goats
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
goats1 844.1971000 heads2019
Livestock - Equines
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
asses69.3731000 heads2019
asses and mules71.6671000 heads2019
Livestock - Camelids
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
camels39.7251000 heads2019
Livestock - Poultry
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
birds18 7361000 heads2019
Livestock - Beekeeping
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
honey2.6291000 t2019
Livestock - Livestock products
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
butter14.3441000 t2018
cheese93.4621000 t2018
Fishing
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
crustaceans and molluscs110t2019
freshwater fishes4 755t2019
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Minerals


Secondary sector
Minerals.
There are some crude oil deposits in the north-eastern part of the country (at Qaratshūk, As-Suwaydā’, Hamseh, Kherbet, Yosefieh), which are linked to an oil pipeline coming from Kirkūk (Iraq) and heading towards the port of Ṭarṭūs and the refinery at Homs, where it branches into the Homs-Bāniyās and the Homs-Tripoli (Lebanon) pipelines. Other natural resources include natural asphalt (at Kafrīyah), rock salt (at Dayr az-Zawr), phosphates (at Homs), gypsum and natural gas.
Energy and industry.
Many factories and communication infrastructures have been damaged by the war. Power is largely produced by the hydroelectric plants, including the one at Thawrah, on the Euphrates. As well as the one at Homs, there is also an oil refinery at Bāniyās. The chemicals industry is also present, producing sulfuric acid and nitrogen fertilizers (at Homs). The metal industry, especially connected with pig iron and steel production, can be found at Ḥamāh. Cotton production has led to the development of a textile industry (at Damascus and Aleppo).
The leather tanning industry is mainly traditional, except for modern tanneries in Aleppo and Damascus. In terms of food industries, there is oil pressing (at Ḥamāh and Latakia), flour (at Damascus and Aleppo) and sugar (at Homs, Dayr az-Zawr, Maskaneh and Jisr ash-Shughūr). Other important industries include cement production (at Dummar, near Damascus, at Aleppo, Ḥamāh, Al-Ḥasakah, ‘Adrā, Ṭarṭūs and Homs), tractors, paper and carpets.
The main trading partners are Turkey, Saudi Arabia, China, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. There is an active stock market in Damascus.

Mineral resources - Energy minerals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
natural gas2 998.9M m³2020
oil, crude1 745.61000 t2020
Mineral resources - Non-metal ores
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
asphalt, natural10$1000 t2014
gypsum1501000 t2019
Mineral resources - Rocks
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
marble - t1101000 t2018
pumice2001000 t2020
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Energy

Electric energy - Generated
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
- thermal16 408.64M kWh2018
- hydro746.46M kWh2018
Electric energy - Installed capacity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
- thermal8 1991000 kW2018
- hydro1 4901000 kW2019
Electric energy - Total production and capacity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
total net generation17 188.1M kWh2018
total installed capacity9 6981000 kW2018
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Industry

Industry - Iron and Steel, Metallurgy
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
steel, crude5$1000 t2019
sulfur, rec.0.0441000 t2018
Industry - Machinery and transport equipment
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cars5 990no.2009
tractors953no.2010
Industry - Electrical and electronics
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
fridges211 266no.2016
TVs3 005no.2017
Industry - Petrochemicals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
bitumen3341000 t2018
petrol8361000 t2016
Industry - Chemicals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
ammonia2701000 t2019
nitrogen fertilizers50.11000 t2017
Industry - Textiles
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
carpets80 164.61000 m²2016
cotton fabrics - t71.91000 t2016
Industry - Clothing and footwear
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
footwear198 003 000pairs2016
Industry - Food and beverages
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
beer of barley1.6651000 t2018
cottonseed oil1.71000 t2018
Industry - Tobacco
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cigarettes13 412M units2003
tobacco6 427t2017
Industry - Paper and wood products
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
other paper75$1000 t2019
paper75$1000 t2019
Industry - Glass and other non-metallic mineral products
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cement1 6001000 t2018
sheet glass - t34.71000 t2009
Industry - Various
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
chemicals production26$M US$2004
food, beverages and tobacco production582M US$2004
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Trade


Main exports (M US$ - 2010) crude oil 4 405, petroleum products 941, cotton 410, phosphates 192, fruit and vegetables 154, apparel and accessories 143, synthetic and artificial fibres and yarns 114, plastics 75

International trade by country - Merchandise Export
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Iraq2 294M US$2010
Italy1 520M US$2010
International trade by country - Merchandise Import
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Turkey1 672M US$2010
China1 546M US$2010
Merchandise Export
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
20202 300M US$ -
20192 600M US$ -
Merchandise Import
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
20204 800M US$ -
20195 600M US$ -
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Tourism


Tourism. Tourism, today almost disappeared because of the conflict, was concentrated mainly on the remarkable archaeological sites (especially near Damascus, Aleppo, Ugarit, Ebla and Palmyra).

International Tourism
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Expenditures850M US$2011
Number of arrivals2 424 000units2019
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Communications

Communication - Transport
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Civil aviation, km flown11 100 000km flown2004
Civil aviation, passengers carried18.51000 units2019
Communication - Media and telecommunication
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Broadband subscribers87.307per 1000 pop.2019
Computers90$per 1000 pop.2008
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Social and welfare

Social statistics - Education
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Expected years of schooling8.8years2013
Graduates48 960units2016
Social statistics - Students and Teachers by level
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Students, primary level1 547 316units2013
Students, secondary level1 857 140units2013
Social statistics - Social protection
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Social protection spending5.3% of total expenses1999
Social statistics - Health
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Hospital beds1.27per 1000 pop.2017
Physicians1.15per 1000 pop.2017
Social statistics - Diseases
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
HIV-0.1% of adults2019
Tuberculosis19$per 100 000 pop.2019
Museums
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Archaeological sites5$units2017
Archaeological sites, visitors40 597units2017
Research
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Research and development spending0.021% of GDP2015
Other social indicators
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking97.4%2019
Access to electricity89.325%2019
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