Statistical information Syria 1990Syria

Map of Syria | Geography | People | Government | Economy | Energy | Communication
Military | Transportation | Transnational Issues | Year:  | More stats

Syria in the World
Syria in the World


Syria - Introduction 1990
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Background: Following the breakup of the Ottoman Empire during World War I Syria was administered by the French until independence in 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. Talks with Israel over the return of the Golan Heights have recently been revived.

Syria - Geography 1990
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Geographic coordinates

Map reference


Land boundaries: 2,253 km total; Iraq 605 km, Israel 76 km, Jordan 375 km, Lebanon 375 km, Turkey 822 km

Coastline: 193 km

Maritime claims
Contiguous zone: 6 nm beyond territorial sea limit
Territorial sea: 35 nm

Climate: mostly desert; hot, dry, sunny summers (June to August) and mild, rainy winters (December to February) along coast

Terrain: primarily semiarid and desert plateau; narrow coastal plain; mountains in west


Natural resources: crude oil, phosphates, chrome and manganese ores, asphalt, iron ore, rock salt, marble, gypsum
Land use

Land use: 28% arable land; 3% permanent crops; 46% meadows and pastures; 3% forest and woodland; 20% other; includes 3% irrigated

Irrigated land

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards

Note: there are 35 Jewish settlements in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights

Syria - People 1990
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Population: 12,483,440 (July 1990), growth rate 3.8% (1990; in addition, there are 13,500 Druze and 10,500 Jewish settlers in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights

Nationality: noun--Syrian(s; adjective--Syrian

Ethnic groups: 90.3% Arab; 9.7% Kurds, Armenians, and other

Languages: Arabic (official), Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic, Circassian; French widely understood

Religions: 74% Sunni Muslim; 16% Alawite, Druze, and other Muslim sects; 10% Christian (various sects; tiny Jewish communities in Damascus, Al Qamishli, and Aleppo

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate

Birth rate: 44 births/1000 population (1990)

Death rate: 6 deaths/1000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: 0 migrants/1000 population (1990)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification

Air pollutants

Sex ratio

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 38 deaths/1000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 68 years male, 70 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 6.7 children born/woman (1990)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Literacy: 49%

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Syria - Government 1990
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Country name: conventional long form: Syrian Arab Republic

Government type: republic; under leftwing military regime since March 1963

Capital: Damascus

Administrative divisions: 14 provinces (muhafazat, singular--muhafazah; Al Hasakah, Al Ladhiqiyah, Al Qunaytirah, Ar Raqqah, As Suwayda, Dara, Dayr az Zawr, Dimashq, Halab, Hamah, Hims, Idlib, Madinat Dimashq, Tartus

Dependent areas

Independence: 17 April 1946 (from League of Nations mandate under French administration; formerly United Arab Republic

National holiday: National Day, 17 April (1946)

Constitution: 13 March 1973

Legal system: based on Islamic law and civil law system; special religious courts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

International law organization participation


Suffrage: universal at age 18

Executive branch: Chief of State--President Lt. Gen. Hafiz al-ASSAD (since 22 February 1971; Vice Presidents Abd al-Halim KHADDAM, Dr. Rifat al-ASSAD, and Muhammad Zuhayr MASHARIQA (since 11 March 1984; Head of Government--Prime Minister Mahmud ZUBI (since 1 November 1987; Deputy Prime Minister Lt. Gen. Mustafa TALAS (since 11 March 1984)

Legislative branch: Syrian Arab Army, Syrian Arab Air Force, Syrian Arab Navy

Judicial branch: Supreme Constitutional Court, High Judicial Council, Court of Cassation, State Security Courts

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: Arab League, CCC, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IDB--Islamic Development Bank, IFAD, IFC, ILO, IMF, IMO, INTELSAT, INTERPOL, IOOC, IPU, ITU, IWC--International Wheat Council, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, UN, UNESCO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WMO, WSG, WTO

Diplomatic representation
In the us: Ambassador Walid Mu'allim; Chancery at 2,215 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington DC 20,008; telephone (202) 232-6,313; US--Ambassador Edward P. DJEREJIAN; Embassy at Abu Rumaneh, Al Mansur Street No.2, Damascus (mailing address is P. O. Box 29, Damascus; telephone p963o (11) 333,052 or 332,557, 330,416, 332,814, 332,315

Flag descriptionflag of Syria: three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black with two small green five-pointed stars in a horizontal line centered in the white band; similar to the flags of the YAR which has one star and Iraq which has three stars (in a horizontal line centered in the white band)--all green and five-pointed; also similar to the flag of Egypt which has a symbolic eagle centered in the white band

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Syria - Economy 1990
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Economy overview: Syria's rigidly structured Bathist economy is turning out roughly the same amount of goods in 1989 as in 1983, when the population was 20% smaller. Economic difficulties are attributable, in part, to severe drought in several recent years, costly but unsuccessful attempts to match Israel's military strength, a falloff in Arab aid, and insufficient foreign exchange earnings to buy needed inputs for industry and agriculture. Socialist policy, embodied in a thicket of bureaucratic regulations, in many instances has driven away or pushed underground the mercantile and entrepreneurial spirit for which Syrian businessmen have long been famous. Two bright spots; a sizable number of villagers have benefited from land redistribution, electrification, and other rural development programs; and a recent find of light crude oil has enabled Syria to cut back its substantial imports of light crude. A long-term concern is the additional drain of upstream Euphrates water by Turkey when its vast dam and irrigation projects are completed toward the end of the 1990s.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin

Agriculture products: accounts for 27% of GDP and one-third of labor force; all major crops (wheat, barley, cotton, lentils, chickpeas) grown on rainfed land causing wide swings in yields; animal products--beef, lamb, eggs, poultry, milk; not self-sufficient in grain or livestock products

Industries: textiles, food processing, beverages, tobacco, phosphate rock mining, petroleum

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Labor force:
2,400,000; 36% miscellaneous and government services, 32% agriculture, 32%
industry and construction; majority unskilled; shortage of skilled labor (1984)

Labor force

Unemployment rate: NA%

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Budget: revenues $NA; expenditures $3.2 billion, including capital expenditures of $1.92 billion (1989)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: calendar year

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Exports: $1.3 billion (f.o.b., 1988 est.)
Commodities: petroleum, textiles, fruits and vegetables, phosphates
Partners: Italy, Romania, USSR, US, Iran, France

Imports: $1.9 billion (f.o.b., 1988 est.)
Commodities: petroleum, machinery, base metals, foodstuffs and beverages
Partners: Iran, FRG, USSR, France, GDR, Libya, US

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $5.3 billion in hard currency (1989 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: Syrian pounds (LS) per US$1--11.2250 (fixed rate since 1987), 3.9250 (fixed rate 1976-87)

Syria - Energy 1990
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Electricity access

Electricity production

Electricity consumption

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Syria - Communication 1990
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Syria - Military 1990
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Military expenditures
Percent of gdp: NA

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Syria - Transportation 1990
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 97 total, 94 usable; 24 with permanent-surface runways; none with runways over 3,659 m; 21 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 5 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Airports with paved runways

Airports with unpaved runways


Pipelines: 1,304 km crude oil; 515 km refined products



Waterways: 672 km; of little economic importance

Merchant marine: 19 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 53,938 GRT/72,220 DWT; includes 16 cargo, 2 roll-on/roll-off cargo, 1 bulk

Ports and terminals

Syria - Transnational issues 1990
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Disputes international: separated from Israel by the 1949 Armistice Line; Golan Heights is Israeli occupied; Hatay question with Turkey; periodic disputes with Iraq over Euphrates water rights; ongoing dispute over water development plans by Turkey for the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers; Kurdish question among Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and the USSR

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs


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