Area: 185,170 sq. km. (71,504 sq. mi.), including 1,295 sq. km. of
Israeli-occupied territory; about the size of North Dakota.
Cities: Capital--Damascus (pop. 4 million). Other cities--Aleppo
(4.2 million), Homs (1.6 million), Hama (1.4 million), Idleb (1.3
million), al-Hasakeh (1.2 million), Dayr al-Zur (1.1), Latakia (0.9
million), Dar’a (0.9), al-Raqqa (0.8), and Tartous (0.7).
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 coast.
Nationality: Noun and adjective--Syrian(s).
Population (2005 est.): 18.6 million.
Growth rate (2005 est.): 2.45%
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
Languages: Arabic (official), English and French (widely
understood), Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic, Circassian.
Education (2005 est.): Years compulsory--primary, 6 yrs.
Attendance--97.9% Literacy--92.5%;87.9%male, 73.9%female.
Health (2004): Infant mortality rate--17.1/1,000. Life
expectancy--68.47 yrs. male, 71.02 yrs. female.
Work force (6.1 million, 2004 est.): Services (including
government)--39.7%; agriculture--26%; industry and
Type: Republic, under Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party regimes since
Independence: April 17, 1946.
Constitution: March 13, 1973.
Branches: Executive--president, two vice presidents, prime
minister, Council of Ministers (cabinet). Legislative--unicameral
People's Council. Judicial--Supreme Constitutional Court,
High Judicial Council, Court of Cassation, State Security Courts.
Administrative subdivisions: 13 provinces and city of Damascus
(administered as a separate unit).
Political parties: Arab Socialist Resurrection (Ba'ath) Party,
Syrian Arab Socialist Party, Arab Socialist Union, Syrian Communist
Party, Arab Socialist Unionist Movement, Democratic Socialist Union
Suffrage: Universal at 18.
Economy (2005 est.)
GDP (2005 nominal): $27.3 billion
Real growth rate*: 29
Per capita GDP*: $1464
Natural resources: Crude oil and natural gas, phosphates,
asphalt, rock salt, marble, gypsum, iron ore, chrome, and manganese
Agriculture: Products--cotton, wheat, barley, sugar beets,
fruits and vegetables. Arable land--32%.
Industry: Types--mining, manufacturing (textiles, food
processing), construction, petroleum.
Trade: Exports--$6.8 billion: petroleum, textiles,
phosphates, antiquities, fruits and vegetables, cotton. Major
markets--EU, Arab countries, United States, New Independent
States, Eastern Europe. Imports--$6.0 billion foodstuffs,
metal and metal products, machinery, textiles, petroleum. Major
suppliers--Germany, Turkey, Italy, France, U.S., Japan.