Countries of the World:
Resources about Syria including maps, facts about the land, people, history, government,
political conditions, and economy.
Economy of Syria
GDP*: $55.2 billion.
Real growth rate*: 5.2%.
Per capita GDP*: $2,592.
Natural resources: petroleum, phosphates, iron, chrome and
manganese ores, asphalt, rock salt, marble, gypsum,
Agriculture: Products--wheat, barley, cotton, lentils,
chickpeas, olives, sugar beets, and other fruits and
vegetables; beef, mutton, eggs, poultry, and other dairy
products. Arable land--33%.
Industry: Types--petroleum, textiles, pharmaceuticals, food
processing, beverages, tobacco, phosphate rock mining,
cement, oil seed extraction, and car assembly.
Trade: Exports (2008 est.)--$13.6 billion: crude oil,
minerals, petroleum products, fruits and vegetables, cotton
fiber, textiles, clothing, meat and live animals, wheat.
Major markets (2007)--Italy 22%, France 11%, Saudi Arabia
10%, Iraq 5%, Egypt 4%, Jordan 4%. Imports (2008 est.)--
$17.2 billion f.o.b.: machinery and transport equipment,
electric power machinery, food and livestock, metal and
metal products, chemicals and chemical products, plastics,
yarn, and paper. Major suppliers (2007)--Russia 10%, China
8%, Saudi Arabia 6%, Ukraine 6%, South Korea 5%, Turkey 4%.
*according to International Monetary Fund (IMF) statistics
Geography of Syria
Area: 185,170 sq. km. (71,504 sq. mi.), including 1,295 sq.
km. of Israeli-occupied territory; about the size of North
Cities: Capital--Damascus (1.7 million). Other cities--
Metropolitan Damascus (excluding city) (2.7 million), Aleppo
(4.6 million), Homs (1.7 million), Hama (1.5 million), Idleb
(1.4 million), al-Hasakeh (1.4 million), Dayr al-Zur (1.1
million), Latakia (1 million), Dar'a (1 million), al-Raqqa
(900,000), and Tartus (800,000).
Terrain: Narrow coastal plain with a double mountain belt in
the west; large, semiarid and desert plateau to the east.
Climate: Mostly desert; hot, dry, sunny summers (June to
August) and mild, rainy winters (December to February) along
Government of Syria
Type: Republic, under authoritarian military-dominated Arab
Socialist Ba'ath Party regimes since March 1963.
Independence: April 17, 1946.
Constitution: March 13, 1973. Since 1963, Syria has been
under Emergency Law, which effectively suspends most
Branches: Executive--president, two vice presidents, prime
minister, Council of Ministers (cabinet). Legislative--
unicameral People's Council. Judicial--Supreme Judicial
Council, Supreme Constitutional Court, Court of Cassation,
Appeals Courts, Economic Security Courts, Supreme State
Security Court, Personal Status and local levels courts.
Administrative subdivisions: 14 provinces.
Political parties: The National Progressive Front, an
umbrella organization for several parties permitted by the
government including the Arab Socialist Renaissance (Ba'ath)
Party; Socialist Unionist Democratic Party; Syrian Arab
Socialist Union or ASU, Syrian Communist Party (two
branches); Syrian Social Nationalist Party; Unionist
Socialist Party; and other parties not legally recognized
but quasi-tolerated, generally considered opposition-
oriented but enfeebled and reluctant to challenge the
government. There are also several illegal Kurdish parties.
Suffrage: Universal at 18.
Map of Syria
This Map of Syria shows the borders of the country, as well as
rivers, and cities including Damascus the capital of Syria.
(Maps from the U.S. State Department)
Official Name of Syria
The Official Name of Syria is the Syrian Arab Republic. (Facts
from the U.S. State Department)
People of Syria
Nationality: Noun and adjective--Syrian(s).
Population (2009 est.)*: 21 million.
Population growth rate (2009 est.): 2.37%.
Major ethnic groups: Arabs (90%), Kurds (9%), Armenians,
Religions: Sunni Muslims (74%), Alawis (12%), Christians
(10%), Druze (3%), and small numbers of other Muslim sects,
Jews, and Yazidis.
Languages: Arabic (official), Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic,
Circassian widely understood, French, English somewhat
understood, principally in major cities.
Education (2008 est.): Years compulsory--primary, 6 yrs.
Attendance--97.9%. Literacy--90.8%, illiteracy--9.2%.
Health (2009 est.): Infant mortality rate--17/1,000. Life
expectancy--69.8 yrs. male, 72.68 yrs. female.
Work force (5.5 million, 2008 est.): Services (including
government) 26%, agriculture 19%, industry 14%, commerce 16%,
construction 15%, transportation 7%, and finance 3%.
Unemployment (2008 est.): 9.8%.
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