Syria 2000Syria

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Syria
Syria 

The Fives Hotels


Syria - Introduction 2000
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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 2000
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Location: Middle East bordering the Mediterranean Sea between Lebanon and Turkey

Geographic coordinates: 35 00 N 38 00 E

Map referenceMiddle East

Area
Comparative: slightly larger than North Dakota

Land boundaries

Coastline: 193 km

Maritime claims

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 hitting Damascus

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

Elevation

Natural resources: petroleum phosphates chrome and manganese ores asphalt iron ore rock salt marble gypsum hydropower
Land use

Land use

Irrigated land: 9,060 km² (1993 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: dust storms sandstorms

Geography
Note: there are 42 Israeli settlements and civilian land use sites in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights (August 1999 est.)


Syria - People 2000
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Population: 16,305,659
Growth rate: 2.58% (2000 est.)
Below poverty line: 15%-25%

Nationality

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

Languages: Arabic (official); Kurdish Armenian Aramaic Circassian widely understood; French English somewhat 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: 2.58% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 31.11 births/1000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 5.29 deaths/1000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1000 population (2000 est.)

Population distribution

Urbanization

Major urban areas

Environment
Current issues: deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; water pollution from dumping of raw sewage and wastes from petroleum refining; inadequate supplies of potable water

Air pollutants

Sex ratio

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 34.86 deaths/1000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

Total fertility rate: 4.06 children born/woman (2000 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access

Hiv/Aids

Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Literacy

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment


Syria - Government 2000
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Country name

Government type: republic under 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

Citizenship

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

Legislative branch: unicameral People's Council or Majlis al-shaab (250 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)

Judicial branch: Supreme Constitutional Court justices are appointed for four-year terms by the president; High Judicial Council; Court of Cassation; State Security Courts

Political parties and leaders: National Progressive Front (NPF) (includes the Ba'th Party ASU Arab Socialist Party Socialist Unionist Democratic Party ASP SCP) [President Hafiz al-ASAD]; Arab Socialist Renaissance (Ba'th) Party (governing party) [Hafiz al-ASAD president of the republic secretary general of the party and chairman of the National Progressive Front]; Arab Socialist Unionist Movement or ASU [Fayiz ISMAIL]; Arab Socialist Party [Abd al-Ghani KANNUT]; Socialist Unionist Democratic Party [Ahmad al-ASAD]; Syrian Arab Socialist Party or ASP [Ghassan 'Abd-al-Aziz UTHMAN]; Syrian Communist Party or SCP [Yusuf FAYSAL]

International organization participation: ABEDA AFESD AL AMF CAEU CCC ESCWA FAO G-24 G-77 IAEA IBRD ICAO ICC ICRM IDA IDB IFAD IFC IFRCS IHO ILO IMF IMO Intelsat Interpol IOC ISO ITU NAM OAPEC OIC UN UNCTAD UNESCO UNIDO UNRWA UPU WFTU WHO WMO WToO

Diplomatic representation

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 heraldic eagle centered in the white band

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage


Syria - Economy 2000
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Economy overview: Syria's predominantly statist economy is on a shaky footing because of Damascus's failure to implement extensive economic reform. The dominant agricultural sector remains underdeveloped with roughly 80% of agricultural land still dependent on rain-fed sources. Although Syria has sufficient water supplies in the aggregate at normal levels of precipitation the great distance between major water supplies and population centers poses serious distribution problems. The water problem is exacerbated by rapid population growth industrial expansion and increased water pollution. Private investment is critical to the modernization of the agricultural energy and export sectors. Oil production is leveling off and the efforts of the nonoil sector to penetrate international markets have fallen short. Syria's inadequate infrastructure outmoded technological base and weak educational system make it vulnerable to future shocks and hamper competition with neighbors such as Jordan and Israel.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 0% (1999 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: wheat barley cotton lentils chickpeas olives sugar beets; beef mutton eggs poultry milk

Industries: petroleum textiles food processing beverages tobacco phosphate rock mining

Industrial production growth rate: 0.2% (1996 est.)

Labor force: 4.7 million (1998 est.)
By occupation agriculture: 40%
By occupation industry: 20%
By occupation services: 40% (1996 est.)
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 12%-15% (1998 est.)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line: 15%-25%

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Budget

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues

Revenue

Fiscal year: calendar year

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices: 2.3% (1999 est.)

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: $3.3 billion (f.o.b. 1999 est.)
Commodities: petroleum 65% textiles 10% manufactured goods 10% fruits and vegetables 7% raw cotton 5% live sheep 2% phosphates 1% (1998 est.)
Partners: Germany 14% Turkey 13% Italy 12% France 9% Lebanon 9% Spain (1998 est.)

Imports: $3.2 billion (f.o.b. 1999 est.)
Commodities: machinery and equipment 23% foodstuffs/animals 20% metal and metal products 15% textiles 10% chemicals 10% (1998 est.)
Partners: Ukraine 16% Italy 6% Germany 6% Turkey 5% France 4% South Korea Japan US (1998 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $22 billion (1999 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: Syrian pounds per US$1 - 46 (1998) 41.9 (January 1997); official fixed rate - 11.225 Syrian pounds per US$1


Syria - Energy 2000
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 17.5 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity consumption: 16.275 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity exports: 0 kWh (1998)

Electricity imports: 0 kWh (1998)

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources

Petroleum

Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita


Syria - Communication 2000
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular: NA

Telephone system: fair system currently undergoing significant improvement and digital upgrades including fiber-optic technology

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions


Syria - Military 2000
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $800 million-$1 billion (FY97 est.); note - based on official budget data that may understate actual spending
Percent of gdp: 5.9% (FY98)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups


Syria - Transportation 2000
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 104 (1999 est.)

Airports with paved runways

Airports with unpaved runways

Heliports: 2 (1999 est.)

Pipelines: crude oil 1304 km; petroleum products 515 km

Railways

Roadways

Waterways: 870 km; minimal economic importance

Merchant marine

Ports and terminals


Syria - Transnational issues 2000
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Disputes international: Golan Heights is Israeli occupied; dispute with upstream riparian Turkey over Turkish water development plans for the Tigris and Euphrates rivers; Syrian troops in northern central and eastern Lebanon since October 1976

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs: a transit point for opiates and hashish bound for regional and Western markets


Volotea Air


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