The Syrian Arab Republic is a country in the Middle East, bordering on Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey. Syria is often seen to be in support of terrorism and terrorist groups in the Middle East.

Al Jumhuriyah al Arabiyah as Suriyah
الجمهوريّة العربيّة السّوريّة
(In Detail)
National motto: None
Official language Arabic
Capital Damascus
President Bashar al-Assad
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 86th
185,180 km²
 - Total (2002)
 - Density
Ranked 55th
 - Declared
 - Recognised
January 1, 1944
April 17, 1946
Currency Pound
Time zone UTC +2
National anthem Homat el Diyar
Internet TLD .SY
Calling Code 963

Table of contents
1 History
2 Politics
3 Provinces
4 Geography
5 Economy
6 Demographics
7 Culture
8 Miscellaneous topics
9 External Links


Main article: History of Syria

Syria has been the cradle of some of the world's oldest civilizations, and has been part of the Hittite, Assyrian, Babylonian, Egyptian, Persian, Greek and Phoenician empires, before becoming part of the (Eastern) Roman Empire.

Having been a cradle of Christianity, with the expansion of Islam in the Middle East in the 7th century, Syria became one of the centres of the new religion. After invasions by the Seljuk Turks and the Crusades, Syria came under Arab control until 1516, when it was conquered by the Ottomans.

Following the breakup of the during World War I, Syria was administered by the French, who had already proclaimed themselves as protector of the country in the 18th century. The country was liberated from the Vichy government, and independence was declared in 1944, although foreign troops remained until 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.

As of 2003, Syria is regarded by the United States as a state sponsor of terrorism.


Main article: Politics of Syria

While nominally a democratic republic, Syria has been lead by a military regime since a 1963 coup by the Baath Party. This party holds a two-thirds majority in the Syrian parliament (which has 250 seats), while the remainder is occupied by independent representatives.

The head of state is president Bashar al-Assad, the son of president Hafez al-Assad, who lead the country from 1971 until his death in 2000. The president appoints a council of ministers and a prime minister, who together form the executive branch of the Syrian government.


Main article: Provinces of Syria

Syria has fourteen provinces, or muhafazat:


Main article:
Geography of Syria

Syria consists mostly of arid plateau, although there is a small strip with plain along the coast line with the Mediterranean. The Euphrates, Syria's most important river, crosses the country in the east.

Major cities include the capital Damascus in the southwest, Aleppo in the north, and Homs. Most of the other important cities are located along the coast line.

The climate in Syria is dry and hot, although winters are mild. Because of the country's elevation, snowfall does also occur occasionally during winter.


Main article: Economy of Syria

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. External factors such as the international war on terrorism, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the war between the US-led coalition and Iraq probably will drive real annual GDP growth levels back below their 3.5% spike in 2002. A long-run economic constraint is the pressure on water supplies caused by rapid population growth, industrial expansion, and increased water pollution.


Main article: Demographics of Syria

Most of the Syrian population (90%) is of Arabic ethnicity, but there are sizeable Kurdish and Armenian minorities. This is also reflected in the languages spoken; Arabic is the official language, but Kurdish and Armenian are spoken by the minorities. In addition, Circassian is also spoken.

Virtually all of the Arabs in Syria are muslims, mostly Sunni. The remainder of the Syrians are Christians, although there are tiny Jewish communities.


Main article: Culture of Syria

Miscellaneous topics

External Links

Countries of the world  |  Asia