Form of Government: Republic
Area: 185 180 sq km
Population: 21 296 000 inhab. (estimate 2016)
Density: 115.00 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: 0.536 (rank: 149)
President: Basshār Ḥāfiẓ al-Asad (Baath), elected 11 July 2000, last re-elected 3 June 2014
Prime Minister: ‘Imād Muḥammad Dīb Khamīs (Baath), since 3 July 2016
People's Assembly: seats based on the elections of 13 April 2016: National Progressive Front (coalition of political parties headed by Baath), 200; others, 50
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

On 17 October 2017, the Syrian Democratic Forces, Kurdish-led and backed by the USA, announced that they conquered Al-Raqqah, while the Syrian army took Dayr az-Zawr on 3 November, further limiting the areas controlled by extremist militants. Reinforcements for the Kurds provoked Turkey and its Syrian allies (Free Syrian Army) to intervene in Afrin (20 January 2018), conquered on 18 March, in order to block the establishment of an autonomous Kurdish entity in Syria; following a deal between the USA and Turkey, on 5 June, Kurdish forces abandoned Manjib. This was made possible by an agreement between Russia and Turkey that guarantees the latter the green light against Kurdish militants in exchange for renouncing to overthrow Assad’s government. Assad, backed by Russia, retook control of the rebel areas around Damascus in May 2018, while he continues to fight around Idlib. Israel also intervened in the conflict, with a series of bombings aimed at limiting Iranian influence.

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. The country has also become a theatre for clashes between foreign powers involved in the conflict, particularly the USA, 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 (% - 2017)
75+
60-74
45-59
30-44
15-29
0-14
MALEAGEFEMALE

Refugees fleeing the civil war are about 4.9 million.

Demographic statistics
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Birth rate21.52016
Death rate5.52016
Ethnic groups
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Arab86.2%2000
Kurd7.3%2000


Religions
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Muslim92.8%2010
Christian5.2%2010


Languages
DESCRIPTION
Arabic (official)
Aramaic
Population by selected age groups
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
0-14 years31.6%2017
15-29 years28.6%2017


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Economy


Economic situation.
Since 2011, economic activities have been effectively paralyzed by the civil war and by international sanctions.

Economy - General data
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Agricultural prod. index (2004-06=100)79.22index2016
Balance of trade-3 300M US$2017
Economy - Employment
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Active population4 758 960units2017
Active population, Females14.4%2017
Economy - Unemployment
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Unemployment rate15.2%2017
Unemployment rate, Females39.3%2017
Economy - State budget
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Expenses442 180M LCU2009
Revenues600 831M LCU2009
Employment by economic activity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
agriculture22.9%2017
industry32.8%2017
GDP by economic activity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
agriculture20.5%2016
industry30.2%2016
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%2015
forests2.67%2015
Agriculture - products - Cereals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
barley500.0011000 t2016
cereals, total3 624.5471000 t2016
Agriculture - products - Roots and tubers
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
potatoes632.2181000 t2016
roots and tubers, total632.2181000 t2016
Agriculture - products - Vegetables
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
artichokes9.4381000 t2016
cabbages39.9131000 t2016
Agriculture - products - Pulses
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
beans, dry1.4721000 t2016
beans, green32.9511000 t2016
Agriculture - products - Grape
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
grapes265.8491000 t2016
raisins121000 t2006
Agriculture - products - Olive
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
olives899.4351000 t2016
Agriculture - products - Oilcrops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
castor oil seed1.5941000 t2016
groundnuts14.1321000 t2016
Agriculture - products - Industrial crops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
sugar beet769.081000 t2016
sugar cane0.0011000 t2016
Agriculture - products - Cotton
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
seed cotton477.7491000 t2016
Agriculture - products - Fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
apples351.0251000 t2016
apricots68.2251000 t2016
Agriculture - products - Nuts
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
almonds88.8411000 t2016
pistachios56.8331000 t2016
Agriculture - products - Citrus fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
citrus fruits1 254.0081000 t2016
citrus fruits, nes196.9021000 t2016
Agriculture - products - Tropical fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
bananas0.121000 t2016
dates4.3191000 t2016
Agriculture - areas harvested - Cereals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
barley879.0861000 ha2016
maize47.7541000 ha2016
Agriculture - areas harvested - Roots and tubers
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
potatoes31.8191000 ha2016
Agriculture - areas harvested - Vegetables
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
artichokes0.6761000 ha2016
cabbages2.1751000 ha2016
Agriculture - areas harvested - Pulses
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
beans, dry0.4971000 ha2016
beans, green3.6551000 ha2016
Agriculture - areas harvested - Grape
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
grape42.8141000 ha2016
Agriculture - areas harvested - Olive
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
olive765.6031000 ha2016
Agriculture - areas harvested - Oilcrops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
castor oil seed0.661000 ha2016
groundnuts5.2611000 ha2016
Agriculture - areas harvested - Industrial crops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
sugar beet15.81000 ha2016
sugar cane01000 ha2016
Agriculture - areas harvested - Cotton
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
seed cotton127.8631000 ha2016
Agriculture - areas harvested - Fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
apples53.0591000 ha2016
apricots14.6561000 ha2016
Agriculture - areas harvested - Nuts
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
almonds139.2551000 ha2016
pistachios55.4061000 ha2016
Agriculture - areas harvested - Citrus fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
citrus fruits46.6121000 ha2016
citrus fruits, nes7.1061000 ha2016
Agriculture - areas harvested - Tropical fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
bananas0.0021000 ha2016
dates0.4191000 ha2016
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Forests-Livestock-Fishing

Forestry
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
timber73 0992016
Livestock - Cattle
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cattle1 144.4871000 heads2016
cattle and buffaloes1 153.4291000 heads2016
Livestock - Buffaloes
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
buffaloes8.9421000 heads2016
Livestock - Pigs
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
pigs0.0181000 heads2016
Livestock - Sheep
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
sheep17 919.3221000 heads2016
Livestock - Goats
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
goats2 495.9611000 heads2016
Livestock - Equines
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
asses85.9991000 heads2016
asses and mules87.321000 heads2016
Livestock - Camelids
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
camels69.5521000 heads2016
Livestock - Poultry
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
birds19 4251000 heads2016
Livestock - Beekeeping
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
honey2.5171000 t2014
Livestock - Livestock products
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
butter18.0381000 t2014
cheese115.1921000 t2014
Fishing
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
crustaceans and molluscs121t2016
freshwater fishes5 000t2016
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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 Iraq, Turkey, Italy, China, Germany, Ukraine and Saudi Arabia. There is an active stock market in Damascus.

Mineral resources - Energy minerals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
natural gas3 750M m³2017
oil, crude698.31000 t2017
Mineral resources - Non-metal ores
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
asphalt, natural101000 t2014
gypsum1501000 t2016
Mineral resources - Rocks
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
marble - sq m901000 m²2015
pumice2601000 t2017
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Energy

Electric energy - Generated
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
- thermal16 419.92M kWh2015
- hydro409M kWh2015
Electric energy - Installed capacity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
- thermal8 1091000 kW2015
- hydro1 5001000 kW2015
Electric energy - Total production and capacity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
total net generation16 828.92M kWh2015
total installed capacity9 609.61000 kW2015
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Industry

Industry - Iron and Steel, Metallurgy
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
steel, crude51000 t2015
sulfur, rec.101000 t2015
Industry - Machinery and transport equipment
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cars5 990no.2009
tractors953no.2010
Industry - Electrical and electronics
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
fridges295 500no.2009
TVs19 100no.2008
Industry - Petrochemicals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
bitumen2471000 t2015
petrol698.81000 t2014
Industry - Chemicals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
ammonia501000 t2014
nitrogen fertilizers20.11000 t2014
Industry - Textiles
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
carpets18 9091000 m²2009
cotton fabrics - t70.41000 t2009
Industry - Clothing and footwear
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
footwear73 190 000pairs2009
Industry - Food and beverages
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
beer of barley9.51000 t2014
cottonseed oil12.41000 t2014
Industry - Tobacco
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cigarettes13 412M units2003
tobacco15 811t2010
Industry - Paper and wood products
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
other paper751000 t2016
paper751000 t2016
Industry - Glass and other non-metallic mineral products
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cement4 0001000 t2015
sheet glass - t34.71000 t2009
Industry - Various
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
chemicals production26M 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$2010
Merchandise Export
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
20171 800M US$ -
20161 700M US$ -
Merchandise Import
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
20175 100M US$ -
20164 500M 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 arrivals5 070 000units2011
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Communications

Communication - Transport
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Civil aviation, km flown11 100 000km flown2004
Civil aviation, passengers carried17.61000 units2017
Communication - Media and telecommunication
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Broadband subscribers63.213per 1000 pop.2017
Computers90per 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
Teachers, primary level132 099units2008
Teachers, secondary level180 703units2008
Social statistics - Social protection
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Social protection spending5.3% of total expenses1999
Social statistics - Health
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Hospital beds1.5per 1000 pop.2012
Physicians1.5per 1000 pop.2014
Social statistics - Diseases
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
HIV-0.1% of adults2014
Tuberculosis21per 100 000 pop.2016
Museums
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Archaeological sites, visitors2 025 779units2010
Museums, visitors811 765units2010
Other social indicators
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking99.02%2016
Access to electricity100%2016
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