Statistical information Syria 1995Syria

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 1995
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 1995
top of page

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

Geographic coordinates

Map referenceMiddle East

Total area total: 185,180 km²
Land: 184,050 km²
Comparative: slightly larger than North Dakota
Note: includes 1,295 km² of Israeli-occupied territory

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; cold weather with snow or sleet periodically hits Damascus

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: 10,000 km² (1992)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards

Note: there are 42 Jewish settlements and civilian land use sites in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights (August 1994 est.)

Syria - People 1995
top of page

Population: 15,451,917 (July 1995 est.)
Note: in addition, there are 31,000 people living in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights - 16,500 Arabs (15,000 Druze and 1,500 Alawites) and 14,500 Jewish settlers (August 1994 est.)
Growth rate: 3.71% (1995 est.)

Noun: Syrian(s)
Adjective: Syrian

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
0-14 years: 48% (female 3,639,776; male 3,826,154)
15-64 years: 49% (female 3,691,862; male 3,854,989)
65 years and over: 3% (female 219,251; male 219,885) (July 1995 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 3.71% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 43.21 births/1000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 6.07 deaths/1000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1000 population (1995 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; water pollution from dumping of raw sewage and wastes from petroleum refining; inadequate supplies of potable water
Current issues natural hazards: dust storms, sandstorms
Current issues international agreements: party to - Hazardous Wastes, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution; signed, but not ratified - Biodiversity, Desertification, Environmental Modification

Air pollutants

Sex ratio

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 41.1 deaths/1000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 66.81 years
Male: 65.67 years
Female: 68.01 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 6.55 children born/woman (1995 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 est.)
Total population: 64%
Male: 78%
Female: 51%

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Syria - Government 1995
top of page

Country name
Conventional long form: Syrian Arab Republic
Conventional short form: Syria
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 NA 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)
Cabinet: Council of Ministers; appointed by the president

Legislative branch: unicameral
People's Council Majlis alChaab: elections last held 24-25 August 1994 (next to be held NA); results - percent of vote by party NA; seats - (250 total) National Progressive Front 167, independents 83

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

Political parties and leaders


Diplomatic representation
In the us chief of mission: Ambassador Walid MUALEM
In the us chancery: 2,215 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20,008
In the us telephone: [1] (202) 232-6,313
In the us FAX: [1] (202) 234-9,548
From the us chief of mission: Ambassador Christopher W. S. ROSS
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 telephone: [963] (11) 333-2,814, 714-108, 333-3,788
From the us FAX: [963] (11) 224-7,938

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 1995
top of page

Economy overview: In 1990-93 Syria's state-dominated Ba'thist economy benefited from the Gulf war, increased oil production, good weather, and economic deregulation. Economic growth averaged roughly 10%. The Gulf war provided Syria an aid windfall of nearly $5 billion dollars from Arab, European, and Japanese donors. However, the benefits of the 1990-93 boom were not evenly distributed and the gap between rich and poor is widening. A nationwide financial scandal and increasing inflation were accompanied by a decline in GDP growth to 4% in 1994. 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. Oil production is likely to fall off dramatically by the end of the decade. Unemployment will become a problem for the government when the more than 60% of the population under the age of 20 enter the labor force.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 4% (1994 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: NA%

Labor force: 4.3 million (1994 est.)
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: NA

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: $3.6 billion (f.o.b., 1994 est.)
Commodoties: petroleum 53%, textiles 22%, cotton, fruits and vegetables, wheat, barley, chickens
Partners: EC 48%, former CEMA countries 24%, Arab countries 18% (1991)

Imports: $4 billion (c.i.f., 1994 est.)
Commodoties: 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 1995
top of page

Electricity access

Electricity production: 13.2 billion kWh
Consumption per capita: 865 kWh (1993)

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 1995
top of page

Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system: 512,600 telephones; 37 telephones/1000 persons; fair system currently undergoing significant improvement and digital upgrades, including fiber optic technology
Local: NA
Intercity: coaxial cable and microwave radio relay network
International: 1 INTELSAT (Indian Ocean) and 1 Intersputnik earth station; 1 submarine cable; coaxial cable and microwave radio relay to Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Syria - Military 1995
top of page

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

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Syria - Transportation 1995
top of page

National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 107
With paved runways over 3047 m: 5
With paved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 16
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 1
With paved runways under 914 m: 67
With unpaved runways 15-24 to 2438 m: 3
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 15

Airports with paved runways
Over 3047 m: 5
2438 to 3047 m: 16
914 to 1523 m: 1
Under 914 m: 67

Airports with unpaved runways
15-24 to 2438 m: 3
914 to 1523 m: 15


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



Waterways: 870 km; minimal economic importance

Merchant marine
Total: 80 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 233,701 GRT/364,714 DWT
Ships by type: bulk 10, cargo 68, vehicle carrier 2

Ports and terminals

Syria - Transnational issues 1995
top of page

Disputes international: separated from Israel by the 1949 Armistice Line; Golan Heights is Israeli occupied; Hatay question with Turkey; 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