Statistical information Syria 1994Syria

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 1994
top of page

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 1994
top of page

Location: Middle East, along the Mediterranean Sea, between Turkey and Lebanon

Geographic coordinates

Map referenceAfrica, Middle East, Standard Time Zones of the World

Total area total: 185,180 km²
Land: 184,050 km²

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

Coastline: 193 km

Maritime claims
Contiguous zone: 41 nm
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: petroleum, phosphates, chrome and manganese ores, asphalt, iron ore, rock salt, marble, gypsum
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 28%
Permanent crops: 3%
Meadows and pastures: 46%
Forest and woodland: 3%
Other: 20%

Irrigated land: 6,700 km² (1989)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: NA

Note: there are 40 Jewish settlements and civilian land use sites in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights (April 1994)

Syria - People 1994
top of page

Population: 14,886,672 (July 1994 est.)
Note: in addition, there are 30,500 people living in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights--16,500 Arabs (15,000 Druze and 1,500 Alawites) and 14,000 Jewish settlers (1994 est.)
Growth rate: 3.74% (1994 est.)

Nationality: noun:Syrian(s)

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

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

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

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 3.74% (1994 est.)

Birth rate: 43.65 births/1000 population (1994 est.)

Death rate: 6.25 deaths/1000 population (1994 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1000 population (1994 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; water pollution from dumping of untreated sewage and wastes from petroleum refining; lack of safe drinking water

Air pollutants

Sex ratio

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 42.5 deaths/1000 live births (1994 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 66.46 years
Male: 65.37 years
Female: 67.61 years (1994 est.)

Total fertility rate: 6.65 children born/woman (1994 est.)

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: age 15 and over can read and write (1990)
Total population: 64%
Male: 78%
Female: 51%

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Syria - Government 1994
top of page

Country name
Conventional long form: Syrian Arab Republic
Conventional short form:
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Arabiyah as Suriyah
local short form; Suriyah

Former: United Arab Republic (with Egypt)

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', Dar'a, Dayr az Zawr, Dimashq, Halab, Hamah, Hims, Idlib, Rif Dimashq, Tartus

Dependent areas

Independence: 17 April 1946 (from League of Nations mandate under French administration)

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: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state: President Hafiz al-ASAD (since 22 February 1971 see note); Vice Presidents 'Abd al-Halim ibn Said KHADDAM, Rif'at al-ASAD, and Muhammad Zuhayr MASHARIQA (since 11 March 1984); election last held 2 December 1991 (next to be held December 1998); results - President Hafiz al-ASAD was reelected for a fourth seven-year term with 99.98% of the vote; note - President ASAD seized power in the November 1970 coup, assumed presidential powers 22 February 1971, and was confirmed as president in the 12 March 1971 national elections
Head of government: Prime Minister Mahmud ZU'BI (since 1 November 1987); Deputy Prime Minister Lt. Gen. Mustafa TALAS (since 11 March 1984); Deputy Prime Minister Salim YASIN (since NA December 1981); Deputy Prime Minister Rashid AKHTARINI (since 4 July 1992)

Legislative branch: Syrian Arab Army, Syrian Arab Navy, Syrian Arab Air Force, Syrian Arab Air Defense Forces
People's Council Majlis alChaab: elections last held 22-23 May 1990 (next to be held NA May 1994); results - Ba'th 53.6%, ASU 3.2%, SCP 3.2%, Arab Socialist Unionist Movement 2.8%, ASP 2%, Democratic Socialist Union Party 1.6%, independents 33.6%; seats - (250 total) Ba'th 134, ASU 8, SCP 8, Arab Socialist Unionist Movement 7, ASP 5, Democratic Socialist Union Party 4, independents 84; note - the People's Council was expanded to 250 seats total prior to the May 1990 election

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

Political parties and leaders


Diplomatic representation
From the us chief of mission: Ambassador Christopher W. S. ROSS
From the us chancery: 2,215 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20,008
From the us telephone: [963] (11) 332-814, 332-315, 714-108, 330-788
From the us fax: (202) 234-9,548
From the us embassy: Abou Roumaneh, Al-Mansur Street No. 2, Damascus
From the us mailing address: P. O. Box 29, Damascus
From the us FAX: [963] (11) 247-938

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 flag of Yemen, which has a plain white band and of Iraq, which has three green stars (plus an Arabic inscription) in a horizontal line centered in the white band; 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 1994
top of page

Economy overview: Syria's state-dominated Ba'thist economy has benefited from the Gulf war of early 1991, increased oil production, good weather, and economic deregulation. Economic growth averaged roughly 10% in 1990-93. The Gulf war provided Syria an aid windfall of nearly $5 billion dollars from Arab, European, and Japanese donors. These inflows more than offset Damascus's war-related costs and will help Syria cover some of its debt arrears, restore suspended credit lines, and initiate selected military and civilian purchases. In 1992 the government spurred economic development by loosening controls on domestic and foreign investment while maintaining strict political controls. For the long run, Syria's economy is still saddled with a large number of poorly performing public sector firms, and industrial productivity remains to be improved. Another major long-term concern is the additional drain of upstream Euphrates water by Turkey when its vast dam and irrigation projects are completed by mid-decade.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 7.6% (1993 est.)

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 30% of GDP and one-third of labor force; all major crops (wheat, barley, cotton, lentils, chickpeas) grown mainly on rain-watered land causing wide swings in production; 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: 21% (1991; accounts for 19% of GDP, including petroleum

Labor force: 2.951 million (1989)
By occupation miscellaneousandgovernment services: 36%
By occupation agriculture: 32%
By occupation industry and construction: 32%;note-shortageofskilledlabor(1984)
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 7.5% (1993 est.)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Budget: revenues:$7.13 billion

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: $3.4 billion (f.o.b., 1993 est.)
Commodities: petroleum 53%, textiles 22%, cotton, fruits and vegetables
Partners: EC 48%, former CEMA countries 24%, Arab countries 18% (1991)

Imports: $4.1 billion (c.i.f., 1993 est.)
Commodities: foodstuffs 21%, metal products 17%, machinery 15%
Partners: EC 37%, former CEMA countries 15%, US and Canada 10% (1991)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $19.4 billion (1993 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: Syrian pounds (#S) per US$1 - 11.2 (official fixed rate), 26.6 (blended rate used by the UN and diplomatic missions), 42.0 (neighboring country rate - applies to most state enterprise imports), 46.0 - 53.0 (offshore rate) (yearend 1993)

Syria - Energy 1994
top of page

Electricity access

Electricity production: 11.9 billion kWh

Electricity consumption
Per capita: 830 kWh (1992)

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 1994
top of page

Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Syria - Military 1994
top of page

Military expenditures
Dollar figure: exchange rate conversion - $2.2 billion, 6% of GDP (1992)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Syria - Transportation 1994
top of page

National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 104
Usable: 100
With permanentsurface runways: 24
With runways over 3659 m: 0
With runways 2440-3659 m: 21
With runways 1220-2439 m: 3

Airports with paved runways

Airports with unpaved runways


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



Waterways: 870 km; minimal economic importance

Merchant marine: 57 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 151,519 GRT/243,910 DWT, bulk 7, cargo 48, vehicle carrier 2

Ports and terminals

Syria - Transnational issues 1994
top of page

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; Syrian troops in northern Lebanon since October 1976

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs: a transit country for Lebanese and Turkish refined cocaine going to Europe and heroin and hashish bound for regional and Western markets


You found a piece of the puzzle

Please click here to complete it