Statistical information Syria 2001Syria

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 2001
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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. In recent years Syria and Israel have held occasional peace talks over the return of the Golan Heights.

Syria - Geography 2001
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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

Total: 185,180 km²
Land: 184,050 km²
Water: 1,130 km²
Note: includes 1,295 km² of Israeli-occupied territory
Comparative: slightly larger than North Dakota

Land boundaries
Total: 2,253 km
Border countries: (5) 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 hitting Damascus

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

Extremes lowest point: unnamed location near Lake Tiberias -200 m
Extremes highest point: Mount Hermon 2,814 m

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

Land use
Arable land: 28%
Permanent crops: 4%
Permanent pastures: 43%
Forests and woodland: 3%
Other: 22% (1993 est.)

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

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

Syria - People 2001
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Note: in addition, there are about 38,200 people living in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights - 18,200 Arabs (16,500 Druze and 1,700 Alawites) and about 20,000 Israeli settlers (July 2001 est.)
Growth rate: 2.54% (2001 est.)
Below poverty line: 15%-25%

Noun: Syrian
Adjective: Syrian

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
0-14 years: 39.92% (male 3,440,060; female 3,238,576)
15-64 years: 56.87% (male 4,868,816; female 4,644,870)
65 years and over: 3.21% (male 261,036; female 275,450) (2001 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 2.54% (2001 est.)

Birth rate: 30.64 births/1000 population (2001 est.)

Death rate: 5.21 deaths/1000 population (2001 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1000 population (2001 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
International agreements party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
International agreements signed but not ratified: Environmental Modification

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.06 male/female
Under 15 years: 1.06 male/female
15-64 years: 1.05 male/female
65 years and over: 0.95 male/female
Total population: 1.05 male/female (2001 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 33.8 deaths/1000 live births (2001 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 68.77 years
Male: 67.63 years
Female: 69.98 years (2001 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3.95 children born/woman (2001 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access

Adult prevalence rate: 0.01% (1999 est.)
People living with hivaids: NA
Deaths: NA

Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 70.8%
Male: 85.7%
Female: 55.8% (1997 est.)

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Syria - Government 2001
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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 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: Independence 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 Bashar al-ASAD (since 17 July 2000); Vice Presidents Abd al-Halim ibn Said KHADDAM (since 11 March 1984) and Muhammad Zuhayr MASHARIQA (since 11 March 1984)
Head of government: Prime Minister Muhammad Mustafa MIRU (since 13 March 2000), Deputy Prime Ministers Lt. Gen. Mustafa TALAS (since 11 March 1984), Khalid RA'D (since 13 March 2000), Muhammad NAJI 'UTRI (since 13 March 2000)
Cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
Elections: president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term; referendum/election last held 10 July 2000 - after the death of President Hafez al-ASAD, father of Bashar al-ASAD - (next to be held NA 2007); vice presidents appointed by the president; prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the president
Election results: Bashar al-ASAD elected president; percent of vote - Bashar al-ASAD 97.29%
Note: Hafiz al-ASAD died 10 June 2000; 20 June 2000 the Ba'th Party nominated Bashar al-ASAD for president and presented his name to the People's Council 25 June 2000

Legislative branch
Elections: last held 30 November-1 December 1998 (next to be held NA 2002)
Election results: percent of vote by party - NPF 67%, non-NPF 33%; seats by party - NPF 167, independents 83; note - the constitution guarantees that the Ba'th Party (part of the NPF alliance) receive one-half of the seats

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 or NPF (includes the Ba'th Party ASU Arab Socialist Party Socialist Unionist Democratic Party ASP SCP) [President Bashar al-ASAD]; Arab Socialist Renaissance (Ba'th) Party (governing party) [Bashar al-ASAD secretary general of the party and chairman of the National Progressive Front after the death of Hafiz al-ASAD on 10 June 2000]; Arab Socialist Unionist Movement or ASU [Sami SOUFAN]; Arab Socialist Party [Abd al-Ghani KANNUT]; Socialist Unionist Democratic Party [Ahmad al-ASAD]; Syrian Arab Socialist Party or ASP [Safwan KOUDSI]; Syrian Communist Party or SCP [Yusuf FAYSAL]


Diplomatic representation
In the us chief of mission: Ambassador Rustum al-ZU'BI
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 Ryan C. CROCKER
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
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 heraldic eagle centered in the white band

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Syria - Economy 2001
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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. The government recognizes the need to open the economy to additional domestic and foreign investment.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 3.5% (2000 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: 29%
Industry: 22%
Services: 49% (1997)

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: NA%

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: 20% (2000 est.)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line: 15%-25%

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share
Lowest 10: NA%
Highest 10: NA%

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $2.25 billion
Expenditures: $5.4 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: calendar year

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices: 1.5% (2000 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: $4.8 billion (f.o.b. 2000 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 21% Italy 12% France 10% Saudi Arabia 9% Turkey 8% (1999 est.)

Imports: $3.5 billion (f.o.b. 2000 est.)
Commodities: machinery and equipment 23% foodstuffs/animals 20% metal and metal products 15% textiles 10% chemicals 10% (1998 est.)
Partners: France 11% Italy 8% Germany 7% Turkey 5% China 4% (1999 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $22 billion (2000 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: Syrian pounds per US dollar - 46 (2000) 46 (1998) 41.9 (January 1997)

Syria - Energy 2001
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 17.94 billion kWh (1999)
By source fossil fuel: 57.64%
By source hydro: 42.36%
By source nuclear: 0%
By source other: 0% (1999)

Electricity consumption: 16.684 billion kWh (1999)

Electricity exports: 0 kWh (1999)

Electricity imports: 0 kWh (1999)

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Syria - Communication 2001
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular: NA

Telephone system
General assessment: fair system currently undergoing significant improvement and digital upgrades, including fiber-optic technology
Domestic: coaxial cable and microwave radio relay network
International: satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) and 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region); 1 submarine cable; coaxial cable and microwave radio relay to Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey; participant in Medarabtel

Broadcast media

Internet country code: .sy

Internet users: 20,000 (2000)

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Syria - Military 2001
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $921 million (FY00 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 2001
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 100 (2000 est.)
With paved runways total: 24
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: 2 (2000 est.)
With unpaved runways total: 76
With unpaved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 2
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 11
With unpaved runways under 914 m: 63 (2000 est.)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 24
Over 3047 m: 5
2438 to 3047 m: 16
914 to 1523 m: 1
Under 914 m: 2 (2000 est.)

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 76
15-24 to 2437 m: 2
914 to 1523 m: 11
Under 914 m: 63 (2000 est.)

Heliports: 2 (2000 est.)

Pipelines: crude oil 1304 km; petroleum products 515 km

Total: 2,750 km
Standard gauge: 2,423 km 1.435-m gauge
Narrow gauge: 327 km 1.050-m gauge
Note: rail link between Syria and Iraq replaced in 2000 (2000)


Waterways: 870 km (minimal economic importance)

Merchant marine
Total: 133 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 425,392 GRT/612,097 DWT
Ships by type: bulk 11, cargo 117, livestock carrier 4, roll on/roll off 1 (2000 est.)

Ports and terminals

Syria - Transnational issues 2001
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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


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