Map Syria
Maps copyright Hammond World Atlas Corp.

Flag of Syria


Background: Following World War I, France acquired a mandate over the northern portion of the former Ottoman Empire province of Syria. The French administered the area as Syria until granting it independence in 1946. The new 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 peace talks over its return. Following the death 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 Syrian troops - stationed in Lebanon since 1976 in an ostensible peacekeeping role - were withdrawn in April 2005.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. In May 2007 Bashar al-ASAD was elected to his second term as president.
Location: Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Lebanon and Turkey
Area land: 183,630 sq km
Area water: 1,550 sq km
Coastline: 193 km
Country name conventional long form: Syrian Arab Republic
Country name conventional short form: Syria
Country name former: United Arab Republic (with Egypt)
Population: 22,517,750 (July 2010 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 35.2% (male 4,066,109/female 3,865,817); 15-64 years: 61% (male 6,985,067/female 6,753,619); 65 years and over: 3.8% (male 390,802/female 456,336) (2011 est.);
Population growth rate: 0.913% (2011 est.)
Birth rate: 23.99 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Death rate: 3.68 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
Net migration rate: -11.18 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female; under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female; 15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female; 65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female; total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2011 est.);
Infant mortality rate: total: 15.62 deaths/1,000 live births; male: 17.96 deaths/1,000 live births; female: 13.14 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.);
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 74.69 years; male: 72.31 years; female: 77.21 years (2011 est.);
Total fertility rate: 2.94 children born/woman (2011 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 - deaths: fewer than 200 (2003 est.);
Nationality: noun: Syrian(s); adjective: Syrian;
Ethnic 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 understood;
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write; total population: 79.6%; male: 86%; female: 73.6% (2004 census);
GDP (purchasing power parity): $106.4 billion (2010 est.); $102.4 billion (2009 est.); $97.48 billion (2008 est.);

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate): $59.63 billion (2010 est.);
GDP - real growth rate: 4% (2010 est.); 5% (2009 est.); 4.3% (2008 est.);
GDP - per capita (PPP): $4,800 (2010 est.); $4,700 (2009 est.); $4,600 (2008 est.);
note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 17.6%; industry: 26.8%; services: 55.6% (2010 est.);
Population below poverty line: 11.9% (2006 est.);
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%; highest 10%: NA%;
Labor force: 5.527 million (2010 est.);
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 17%; industry: 16%; services: 67% (2008 est.);
Unemployment rate: 8.3% (2010 est.); 8.5% (2009 est.);
Budget: revenues: $12.53 billion; expenditures: $15.3 billion (2010 est.);
Industries: petroleum, textiles, food processing, beverages, tobacco, phosphate rock mining, cement, oil seeds crushing, car assembly;
Industrial production growth rate: 6% (2010 est.);
Electricity - production: 36.5 billion kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - consumption: 27.35 billion kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2008);
Electricity - imports: 1.4 billion kWh (2007);

Statistics: CIA World Factbook.

Syria in the News

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Displaying 1 to 4 of 47 items.

Global Refugee Crisis Deepens by the Day

We are currently seeing the worst refugee crisis since World War II, and developed countries are not doing nearly enough to help those in need.

Khalid al-Asaad Slaughtered by ISIS

Khalid al-Asaad, an 83-year-old caretaker of antiquities in Syria, was beheaded by ISIS, but did not receive the same attention as a slain lion.

Viewpoints: Iraq and Syria's Ongoing Conflagration

Sectarian warfare in Iraq and a brutal regime in Syria have led to a level of violence and chaos that is extreme even by the Middle East's standards.

Syria: the Misnomer of 'Combating Terrorism'

In Syria and across the Middle East, every actor embroiled in conflict is considered a terrorist by someone, making resolutions exceedingly difficult to achieve.