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Middle East :: Syria
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Syria
  • Introduction :: SYRIA

  • Following World War I, France acquired a mandate over the northern portion of the former Ottoman Empire province of Syria. The French administered the area as Syria until granting it independence in 1946. The new country lacked political stability and experienced a series of military coups. Syria united with Egypt in February 1958 to form the United Arab Republic. In September 1961, the two entities separated, and the Syrian Arab Republic was reestablished. In the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, Syria lost the Golan Heights region to Israel. During the 1990s, Syria and Israel held occasional peace talks over its return. In November 1970, Hafiz al-ASAD, a member of the socialist Ba'th Party and the minority Alawi sect, seized power in a bloodless coup and brought political stability to the country. Following the death of President al-ASAD, his son, Bashar al-ASAD, was approved as president by popular referendum in July 2000. Syrian troops - stationed in Lebanon since 1976 in an ostensible peacekeeping role - were withdrawn in April 2005. During the July-August 2006 conflict between Israel and Hizballah, Syria placed its military forces on alert but did not intervene directly on behalf of its ally Hizballah. In May 2007, Bashar al-ASAD's second term as president was approved by popular referendum. Influenced by major uprisings that began elsewhere in the region, antigovernment protests broke out in the southern province of Dar'a in March 2011 with protesters calling for the repeal of the restrictive Emergency Law allowing arrests without charge, the legalization of political parties, and the removal of corrupt local officials. Since then, demonstrations and violent unrest spread to nearly every city in Syria with the size and intensity of protests fluctuating. The government responded to unrest with a mix of concessions - including the repeal of the Emergency Law, new laws permitting new political parties, and liberalizing local and national elections - and military force. However, the government's response has failed to meet opposition demands for ASAD resignation, and the government's ongoing violence to quell unrest and widespread armed opposition activity has led to extended clashes between government forces and oppositionists. International pressure on the ASAD regime has intensified since late 2011, as the Arab League, European Union, Turkey, and the United States expanded economic sanctions against the regime. In December 2012, the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces, commonly referred to as the Syrian National Coalition, was recognized by more than 130 countries as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people. Peace talks between the Syrian Opposition Coalition and Syrian regime at the UN sponsored Geneva II conference in 2014 failed to produce progress toward a resolution of the conflict. Unrest continues in Syria, and according to the United Nations, the death toll among Syrian Government forces, opposition forces, and civilians has reached 220,000. As of 2015, the conflict has displaced 11.6 million people, including 7.6 million people internally, making the situation in Syria the largest humanitarian crisis worldwide.
  • Geography :: SYRIA

  • Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Lebanon and Turkey
    35 00 N, 38 00 E
    Middle East
    total: 185,180 sq km
    land: 183,630 sq km
    water: 1,550 sq km
    note: includes 1,295 sq km of Israeli-occupied territory
    country comparison to the world: 89
    slightly more than 1.5 times the size of Pennsylvania
    Area comparison map:
    total: 2,363 km
    border countries (5): Iraq 599 km, Israel 83 km, Jordan 379 km, Lebanon 403 km, Turkey 899 km
    193 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    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 in Damascus
    primarily semiarid and desert plateau; narrow coastal plain; mountains in west
    lowest point: unnamed location near Lake Tiberias -200 m
    highest point: Mount Hermon 2,814 m
    petroleum, phosphates, chrome and manganese ores, asphalt, iron ore, rock salt, marble, gypsum, hydropower
    arable land: 25.4%
    permanent crops: 5.81%
    other: 68.79% (2012 est.)
    13,410 sq km (2010)
    16.8 cu km (2011)
    total: 16.76 cu km/yr (9%/4%/88%)
    per capita: 867.4 cu m/yr (2005)
    dust storms, sandstorms
    volcanism: Syria's two historically active volcanoes, Es Safa and an unnamed volcano near the Turkish border have not erupted in centuries
    deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; water pollution from raw sewage and petroleum refining wastes; inadequate potable water
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
    signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification
    the capital of Damascus - located at an oasis fed by the Barada River - is thought to be one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities; there are 41 Israeli settlements and civilian land use sites in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights (2010 est.)
  • People and Society :: SYRIA

  • noun: Syrian(s)
    adjective: Syrian
    Arab 90.3%, Kurds, Armenians, and other 9.7%
    Arabic (official), Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic, Circassian (widely understood); French, English (somewhat understood)
    Muslim 87% (official; includes Sunni 74% and Alawi, Ismaili, and Shia 13%), Christian (includes Orthodox, Uniate, and Nestorian) 10% (includes Orthodox, Uniate, and Nestorian), Druze 3%, Jewish (few remaining in Damascus and Aleppo)
    17,951,639 (July 2014 est.)
    note: approximately 18,900 Israeli settlers live in the Golan Heights (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 61
    0-14 years: 33.1% (male 3,046,922/female 2,898,060)
    15-24 years: 20.2% (male 1,833,802/female 1,789,854)
    25-54 years: 37.9% (male 3,406,744/female 3,396,756)
    55-64 years: 4.8% (male 429,644/female 440,980)
    65 years and over: 3.9% (male 320,946/female 387,931) (2014 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total dependency ratio: 63.9%
    youth dependency ratio: 57%
    elderly dependency ratio: 6.9%
    potential support ratio: 14.6% (2014 est.)
    total: 23.3 years
    male: 22.9 years
    female: 23.7 years (2014 est.)
    -9.73% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 233
    22.76 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 74
    6.51 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 151
    -113.51 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 222
    urban population: 57.3% of total population (2014)
    rate of urbanization: 1.37% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    Aleppo 3.519 million; DAMASCUS (capital) 2.574 million; Hims 1.604 million; Hamah 1.188 million; Lattakia 768,000 (2014)
    at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/female
    total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2014 est.)
    49 deaths/100,000 live births (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 87
    total: 15.79 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 18.14 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 13.31 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 103
    total population: 68.41 years
    male: 61.4 years
    female: 75.84 years (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 162
    2.68 children born/woman (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 73
    53.9% (2009/10)
    3.3% of GDP (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 176
    1.46 physicians/1,000 population (2010)
    1.5 beds/1,000 population (2012)
    improved:
    urban: 92.3% of population
    rural: 87.2% of population
    total: 90.1% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 7.7% of population
    rural: 12.8% of population
    total: 9.9% of population (2012 est.)
    improved:
    urban: 96.2% of population
    rural: 95.1% of population
    total: 95.7% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 3.8% of population
    rural: 4.9% of population
    total: 4.3% of population (2012 est.)
    NA
    NA
    NA
    21.6% (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 41
    10.1% (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 70
    4.9% of GDP (2007)
    country comparison to the world: 70
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 86.4%
    male: 91.7%
    female: 81% (2015 est.)
    total: 12 years
    male: 12 years
    female: 12 years (2012)
    total number: 192,915
    percentage: 4% (2006 est.)
    total: 19.2%
    male: 15.3%
    female: 40.2% (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 58
  • Government :: SYRIA

  • 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)
    republic under an authoritarian regime
    name: Damascus
    geographic coordinates: 33 30 N, 36 18 E
    time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    daylight saving time: +1hr, begins midnight on the last Friday in March; ends at midnight on the first Friday in November
    14 provinces (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Al Hasakah, Al Ladhiqiyah (Latakia), Al Qunaytirah, Ar Raqqah, As Suwayda', Dar'a, Dayr az Zawr, Dimashq (Damascus), Halab, Hamah, Hims (Homs), Idlib, Rif Dimashq (Damascus Countryside), Tartus
    17 April 1946 (from League of Nations mandate under French administration)
    Independence Day, 17 April (1946)
    several previous; latest issued 15 February 2012, passed by referendum 26 February 2012 (2015)
    mixed legal system of civil and Islamic law (for family courts)
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Bashar al-ASAD (since 17 July 2000); Vice President Najah al-ATTAR (since 23 March 2006)
    head of government: Prime Minister Wael al-HALQI (since 9 August 2012); Deputy Prime Minister Lt. Gen. Walid al-MUALEM
    cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
    elections: president directly elected by simple majority vote for a 7-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 3 June 2014 (next to be held in June 2021); the president appoints the vice presidents, prime minister, and deputy prime ministers
    election results: Bashar al-ASAD reelected president; percent of vote - Bashar al-ASAD 88.7%, Hassan al-NOURI 4.5%, Maher HAJJER 3.3%, other/invalid 3.5%
    description: unicameral People's Assembly or Majlis al-Shaab (250 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)
    elections: last held on 7 May 2012 (next to be held in 2016)
    election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA
    highest court(s): Court of Cassation (organized into civil, criminal, religious, and military divisions, each with 3 judges); Supreme Constitutional Court (consists of 4 members)
    judge selection and term of office: Court of Cassation judges appointed by the Supreme Judicial Council or SJC, a judicial management body headed by the minister of justice with 7 members including the national president; judge tenure NA; Supreme Constitutional Court judges nominated by the president and appointed by the SJC; judges appointed for 4-year renewable terms
    subordinate courts: courts of first instance; magistrates' courts; religious and military courts; Economic Security Court
    legal parties: National Progressive Front or NPF [President Bashar al-ASAD, Dr. Suleiman QADDAH] (includes Arab Socialist Renaissance (Ba'th) Party [President Bashar al-ASAD]
    Socialist Unionist Democratic Party [Fadlallah Nasr al-DIN]
    Syrian Arab Socialist Union or ASU [Safwan al-QUDSI]
    Syrian Communist Party (two branches) [Wissal Farha BAKDASH, Yusuf Rashid FAYSAL]
    Syrian Social Nationalist Party [As'ad HARDAN]
    Unionist Socialist Party [Fayez ISMAIL])
    Kurdish parties (considered illegal): Kurdish Azadi Party
    Kurdish Democratic Accord Party (al Wifaq)
    Kurdish Democratic Party (al Parti-Ibrahim wing)
    Kurdish Democratic Party (al Parti-Mustafa wing)
    Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria or KDP-S
    Kurdish Democratic Patriotic/National Party
    Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party or KDPP-Darwish
    Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party or KDPP-Muhammad
    Kurdish Democratic Union Party or PYD [Salih Muslim MOHAMMAD]
    Kurdish Democratic Unity Party
    Kurdish Democratic Yekiti Party
    Kurdish Future Party or KFP
    Kurdish Future Party [Rezan HASSAN]
    Kurdish Left Party
    Kurdish Yekiti (Union) Party
    Syrian Kurdish Democratic Party
    other: Syrian Democratic Party [Mustafa QALAAJI]
    Free Syrian Army
    Syrian Muslim Brotherhood or SMB [Muhammad Riyad al-SHAQFAH] (operates in exile in London)
    Syrian Opposition Coalition or National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces [al-Asi- al-JARBAL]
    note: there are also hundreds of local groups that organize protests and stage armed attacks
    ABEDA, AFESD, AMF, CAEU, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
    note: Embassy ceased operation on 18 March 2014
    chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Mounir KOUDMANI
    chancery: 2215 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 232-6313
    FAX: [1] (202) 234-9548
    chief of mission: ambassador (vacant); Special Envoy to Syria Daniel RUBINSTEIN (since March 2014); note - on 6 February 2012, the US closed its embassy in Damascus
    embassy: Abou Roumaneh, Al-Mansour Street, No. 2, Damascus
    mailing address: P. O. Box 29, Damascus
    telephone: [963] (11) 3391-4444
    FAX: [963] (11) 3391-3999
    three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black; two small, green, five-pointed stars in a horizontal line centered in the white band; the band colors derive from the Arab Liberation flag and represent oppression (black), overcome through bloody struggle (red), to be replaced by a bright future (white); identical to the former flag of the United Arab Republic (1958-1961) where the two stars represented the constituent states of Syria and Egypt; the current design dates to 1980
    note: similar to the flag of Yemen, which has a plain white band, Iraq, which has an Arabic inscription centered in the white band, and that of Egypt, which has a gold Eagle of Saladin centered in the white band
    hawk; national colors: red, white, black, green
    name: "Humat ad-Diyar" (Guardians of the Homeland)
    lyrics/music: Khalil Mardam BEY/Mohammad Salim FLAYFEL and Ahmad Salim FLAYFEL
    note: adopted 1936, restored 1961; between 1958 and 1961, while Syria was a member of the United Arab Republic with Egypt, the country had a different anthem
  • Economy :: SYRIA

  • Despite modest economic growth and reform prior to the outbreak of unrest, Syria's economy continues to deteriorate amid the ongoing conflict that began in 2011. The economy further contracted in 2014 because of international sanctions, widespread infrastructure damage, diminished domestic consumption and production, reduced subsidies, and high inflation. The government has struggled to address the effects of economic decline, which include dwindling foreign exchange reserves, rising budget and trade deficits, and the decreasing value of the Syrian pound and household purchasing power. During 2014, the ongoing conflict and continued economic decline worsened the humanitarian crisis and elicited a greater need for international assistance, as the number of people in need inside Syria increased from 9.3 million to 12.2 million, and the number of Syrian refugees increased from 2.2 million to more than 3.3 million. Prior to the unrest, Damascus began liberalizing economic policies, including cutting lending interest rates, opening private banks, consolidating multiple exchange rates, raising prices on some subsidized items, and establishing the Damascus Stock Exchange. The economy remains highly regulated by the government. Long-run economic constraints include foreign trade barriers, declining oil production, high unemployment, rising budget deficits, increasing pressure on water supplies caused by heavy use in agriculture, rapid population growth, industrial expansion, and water pollution, and the degree of war-damaged infrastructure.
    $107.6 billion (2011 est.)
    $110.1 billion (2010 est.)
    $97.03 billion (2009 est.)
    note: data are in 2011 US dollars
    the war driven deterioration of the economy resulted in a disappearance of quality national level statistics in 2012-13
    country comparison to the world: 81
    $64.7 billion (2011 est.)
    NA% (2012 est.)
    -2.3% (2011 est.)
    3.4% (2010 est.)
    $5,100 (2011 est.)
    $5,100 (2010 est.)
    $5,200 (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2011 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 165
    13.5% of GDP (2014 est.)
    10.2% of GDP (2013 est.)
    12.8% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 126
    household consumption: 67.8%
    government consumption: 19.4%
    investment in fixed capital: 18.2%
    investment in inventories: 9.5%
    exports of goods and services: 7.5%
    imports of goods and services: -22.4%
    (2014 est.)
    agriculture: 16.4%
    industry: 22.7%
    services: 60.9% (2014 est.)
    wheat, barley, cotton, lentils, chickpeas, olives, sugar beets; beef, mutton, eggs, poultry, milk
    petroleum, textiles, food processing, beverages, tobacco, phosphate rock mining, cement, oil seeds crushing, automobile assembly
    1% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 153
    4.022 million (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 91
    agriculture: 17%
    industry: 16%
    services: 67% (2008 est.)
    33% (2014 est.)
    35% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 186
    11.9% (2006 est.)
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%
    revenues: $1.73 billion
    expenditures: $5.5 billion (2014 est.)
    2.7% of GDP (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 214
    -5.8% of GDP (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 179
    57.3% of GDP (2014 est.)
    54.7% of GDP (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 61
    calendar year
    34.8% (2014 est.)
    89.6% (2013 est.)
    0.75% (31 December 2014)
    5% (31 December 2013)
    country comparison to the world: 139
    17% (31 December 2014 est.)
    16% (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 28
    $7.001 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $8.056 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 90
    $11.05 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $12.71 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 104
    $6.966 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $7.738 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 114
    $NA
    -$4.575 billion (2014 est.)
    -$5.205 billion (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 168
    $2.031 billion (2014 est.)
    $1.939 billion (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 145
    crude oil, minerals, petroleum products, fruits and vegetables, cotton fiber, textiles, clothing, meat and live animals, wheat
    Iraq 59.9%, Saudi Arabia 10%, Kuwait 6.5%, UAE 5.6%, Libya 4.3% (2013)
    $7.657 billion (2014 est.)
    $7.552 billion (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 113
    machinery and transport equipment, electric power machinery, food and livestock, metal and metal products, chemicals and chemical products, plastics, yarn, paper
    Saudi Arabia 24.5%, UAE 12.1%, Iran 8.9%, Iraq 7.3%, Turkey 6%, China 4.6%, Ukraine 4.1% (2013)
    $1.725 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $1.895 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 125
    $11.64 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $9.904 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 99
    Syrian pounds (SYP) per US dollar -
    152.9 (2014 est.)
    108.426 (2013 est.)
    64.39 (2012 est.)
    48.371 (2011 est.)
    11.225 (2010 est.)
  • Energy :: SYRIA

  • 38.78 billion kWh (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 59
    35.37 billion kWh (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 59
    1.192 billion kWh (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 55
    0 kWh (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 205
    8.323 million kW (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 64
    89.2% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 78
    0% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 183
    10.8% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 114
    0% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 126
    74,820 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 52
    2.5 billion bbl (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 33
    253,600 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 49
    257,400 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 49
    36,210 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 65
    104,800 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 50
    6.442 billion cu m (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 48
    6.442 billion cu m (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 56
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 185
    250 million cu m (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 71
    240.7 billion cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 45
    50.92 million Mt (2012 est.)
  • Communications :: SYRIA

  • 4.425 million (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 36
    12.928 million (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 66
    general assessment: fair system currently undergoing significant improvement and digital upgrades, including fiber-optic technology and expansion of the network to rural areas; the armed insurgency that began in 2011 has led to major disruptions to the network and has caused telephone and Internet outages throughout the country
    domestic: the number of fixed-line connections has increased markedly since 2000; mobile-cellular service growing with telephone subscribership nearly 60 per 100 persons in 2011
    international: country code - 963; submarine cable connection to Egypt, Lebanon, and Cyprus; satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) and 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region); coaxial cable and microwave radio relay to Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey; participant in Medarabtel (2011)
    state-run TV and radio broadcast networks; state operates 2 TV networks and a satellite channel; roughly two-thirds of Syrian homes have a satellite dish providing access to foreign TV broadcasts; 3 state-run radio channels; first private radio station launched in 2005; private radio broadcasters prohibited from transmitting news or political content (2007)
    AM 14, FM 15, shortwave 26 (2010)
    44 (plus 17 repeaters) (1995)
    .sy
    416 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 187
    4.469 million (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 50
  • Transportation :: SYRIA

  • 90 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 62
    total: 29
    over 3,047 m: 5
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 16
    914 to 1,523 m: 3
    under 914 m: 5 (2013)
    total: 61
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
    914 to 1,523 m: 12
    under 914 m:
    48 (2013)
    6 (2013)
    gas 3,170 km; oil 2,029 km (2013)
    total: 2,052 km
    standard gauge: 1,801 km 1.435-m gauge
    narrow gauge: 251 km 1.050-m gauge (2008)
    country comparison to the world: 72
    total: 69,873 km
    paved: 63,060 km
    unpaved: 6,813 km (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 67
    900 km (navigable but not economically significant) (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 68
    total: 19
    by type: bulk carrier 4, cargo 14, carrier 1
    registered in other countries: 166 (Barbados 1, Belize 4, Bolivia 4, Cambodia 22, Comoros 5, Dominica 4, Georgia 24, Lebanon 2, Liberia 1, Malta 4, Moldova 5, North Korea 4, Panama 34, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 9, Sierra Leone 13, Tanzania 23, Togo 6, unknown 1) (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 95
    major seaport(s): Baniyas, Latakia, Tartus
  • Military :: SYRIA

  • Syrian Armed Forces: Land Forces, Naval Forces, Air Forces (includes Air Defense Forces) (2013)
    18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation is 18 months; women are not conscripted but may volunteer to serve; re-enlistment obligation 5 years, with retirement after 15 years or age 40 (enlisted) or 20 years or age 45 (NCOs) (2012)
    males age 16-49: 5,889,837
    females age 16-49: 5,660,751 (2010 est.)
    males age 16-49: 5,055,510
    females age 16-49: 4,884,151 (2010 est.)
    male: 256,698
    female: 244,712 (2010 est.)
  • Transnational Issues :: SYRIA

  • Golan Heights is Israeli-occupied with the almost 1,000-strong UN Disengagement Observer Force patrolling a buffer zone since 1964; lacking a treaty or other documentation describing the boundary, portions of the Lebanon-Syria boundary are unclear with several sections in dispute; since 2000, Lebanon has claimed Shab'a Farms in the Golan Heights; 2004 Agreement and pending demarcation settles border dispute with Jordan
    refugees (country of origin): 526,744 (Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA)) (2014); undetermined (Iraq) (2015)
    note: the ongoing civil war has created almost 4 million Syrian refugees - dispersed in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey - as of May 2015
    IDPs: 7.6 million (ongoing civil war since 2011) (2014)
    stateless persons: 160,000 (2013); note - Syria's stateless population is composed of Kurds and Palestinians; stateless persons are prevented from voting, owning land, holding certain jobs, receiving food subsidies or public healthcare, enrolling in public schools, or being legally married to Syrian citizens; in 1962, some 120,000 Syrian Kurds were stripped of their Syrian citizenship, rendering them and their descendants stateless; in 2011, the Syrian Government granted citizenship to thousands of Syrian Kurds as a means of appeasement; however, resolving the question of statelessness is not a priority given Syria's ongoing civil war
    current situation: due to Syria’s political uprising and violent unrest, hundreds of thousands of Syrians, foreign migrant workers, and refugees have fled the country and are vulnerable to human trafficking; the lack of security and inaccessibility of the majority of the country makes it impossible to conduct a thorough analysis of the scope and magnitude of Syria’s human trafficking situation; Syria is a source and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; Syrian refugee women and girls are forced into exploitive marriages or prostitution in neighboring countries, while refugee children are forced into street begging domestically and abroad; the Syrian armed forces and opposition forces are using Syrian children in combat and support roles and as human shields
    tier rating: Tier 3 - the government does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; increasing violence undercut any law enforcement efforts in 2013; the government failed to protect and prevent children from recruitment by government forces and armed opposition groups; a new law passed in 2013 criminalizing the recruitment of children under 18 by armed forces was not enforced; authorities did not make efforts to investigate and punish trafficking offenders, including complicit government employees; no trafficking victims were identified or provided with protective services; the government did not attempt to inform the public about human trafficking or to provide anti-trafficking training to officials (2014)
    a transit point for opiates, hashish, and cocaine bound for regional and Western markets; weak anti-money-laundering controls and bank privatization may leave it vulnerable to money laundering
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