Middle East :: SYRIA
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  • 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, albeit unsuccessful, 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 Hafiz 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 Syrian troops - stationed in Lebanon since 1976 in an ostensible peacekeeping role - were withdrawn in April 2005.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, and compounded by additional social and economic factors, antigovernment protests broke out first 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. Demonstrations and violent unrest spread across 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's 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, EU, Turkey, and the US expanded economic sanctions against the regime. In December 2012, the Syrian National Coalition, was recognized by more than 130 countries as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people. Peace talks between the Coalition and Syrian regime at the UN-sponsored Geneva II conference in 2014 failed to produce a resolution of the conflict. Unrest continues in Syria, and according to an April 2016 UN estimate, the death toll among Syrian Government forces, opposition forces, and civilians had reached 400,000. As of January 2016, approximately 13.5 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance in Syria, with 6.5 million people displaced internally, and an additional 4.8 million Syrian refugees, making the Syrian situation 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
    mean elevation: 514 m
    elevation extremes: 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
    agricultural land: 75.8%
    arable land 25.4%; permanent crops 5.8%; permanent pasture 44.6%
    forest: 2.7%
    other: 21.5% (2011 est.)
    14,280 sq km (2012)
    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 42 Israeli settlements and civilian land use sites in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights (2014 est.)
  • People and Society :: SYRIA

  • 17,185,170 (July 2016 est.)
    note: approximately 20,500 Israeli settlers live in the Golan Heights (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 66
    noun: Syrian(s)
    adjective: Syrian
    Arab 90.3%, Kurds, Armenians, and other 9.7%
    Arabic (official), Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic, Circassian, French, English
    Muslim 87% (official; includes Sunni 74% and Alawi, Ismaili, and Shia 13%), Christian 10% (includes Orthodox, Uniate, and Nestorian), Druze 3%, Jewish (few remaining in Damascus and Aleppo)
    religious affiliation:
    0-14 years: 31.95% (male 2,815,140/female 2,675,166)
    15-24 years: 19.65% (male 1,711,847/female 1,664,814)
    25-54 years: 39.03% (male 3,342,264/female 3,364,406)
    55-64 years: 5.26% (male 447,205/female 457,525)
    65 years and over: 4.11% (male 318,691/female 388,112) (2016 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total dependency ratio: 70%
    youth dependency ratio: 63.1%
    elderly dependency ratio: 6.9%
    potential support ratio: 14.5% (2015 est.)
    total: 24.1 years
    male: 23.7 years
    female: 24.6 years (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 160
    1.56% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 75
    21.7 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 75
    4 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 209
    -2.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 169
    urban population: 57.7% of total population (2015)
    rate of urbanization: 1.37% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    Aleppo 3.562 million; DAMASCUS (capital) 2.566 million; Hims (Homs) 1.641 million; Hamah 1.237 million; Lattakia 781,000 (2015)
    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: 0.99 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
    total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
    68 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 87
    total: 15.2 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 17.5 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 12.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 101
    total population: 74.9 years
    male: 72.5 years
    female: 77.4 years (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 114
    2.55 children born/woman (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 76
    53.9% (2009/10)
    3.3% of GDP (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 176
    1.46 physicians/1,000 population (2010)
    1.5 beds/1,000 population (2012)
    urban: 92.3% of population
    rural: 87.2% of population
    total: 90.1% of population
    urban: 7.7% of population
    rural: 12.8% of population
    total: 9.9% of population (2015 est.)
    urban: 96.2% of population
    rural: 95.1% of population
    total: 95.7% of population
    urban: 3.8% of population
    rural: 4.9% of population
    total: 4.3% of population (2015 est.)
    0.01% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 132
    900 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 121
    less than 100 (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 110
    21.6% (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 41
    10.1% (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 70
    5.1% of GDP (2009)
    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: 9 years
    male: 9 years
    female: 9 years (2013)
    total number: 192,915
    percentage: 4% (2006 est.)
    total: 35.8%
    male: 26.6%
    female: 71.1% (2011 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)
    etymology: name ultimately derived from the ancient Assyrians who dominated northern Mesopotamia, but whose reach also extended westward to the Levant; over time, the name came to be associated more with the western area
    presidential republic; highly 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 (2016)
    mixed legal system of civil and Islamic law (for family courts)
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
    citizenship by birth: no
    citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Syria; if the father is unknown or stateless, the mother must be a citizen of Syria
    dual citizenship recognized: yes
    residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years
    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 Imad Muhammad Dib KHAMIS (since 22 June 2016); Walid al-MUALEM (since 2006); Deputy Prime Minister Fahd Jasim al-FURAYJ, Lt. Gen. (since 2012)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
    elections/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority popular 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 approved as president; percent of vote - Bashar al-ASAD (Ba'th Party) 88.7%, Hassan al-NOURI (independent) 4.3%, Maher HAJJER (independent) 3.2%, other/invalid 3.8%
    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 13 April 2016 (next to be held in 2020)
    election results: percent of vote by party - NPF 80%, other 20%; seats by party - NPF 200, other 50
    highest court(s): Court of Cassation (organized into civil, criminal, religious, and military divisions, each with 3 judges); Supreme Constitutional Court (consists of 7 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/alliances: Arab Socialist Union of Syria or ASU [Safwan al-QUDSI]
    National Progressive Front or NPF [Bashar al-ASAD, Suleiman QADDAH] (alliance includes Arab Socialist Renaissance (Ba'th) Party [President Bashar al-ASAD], Socialist Unionist Democratic Party [Fadlallah Nasr al-DIN]
    Syrian Communist Party (two branches) [Wissal Farha BAKDASH, Yusuf Rashid FAYSAL]
    Syrian Social Nationalist Party or SSNP [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 [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 [Anas al-ABDAH]
    note: there are also hundreds of local and provincial political and armed opposition groups that organize protests, provide civilian services, and stage armed attacks
    note: Embassy ceased operation and closed on 18 March 2014
    chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Mounir KOUDMANI (since 1 June 2012)
    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 for Syria Michael RATNEY (since 27 July 2015); 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

  • Syria's economy continues to deteriorate amid the ongoing conflict that began in 2011, declining by 62% from 2010 to 2014. The government has struggled to address the effects of international sanctions, widespread infrastructure damage, diminished domestic consumption and production, reduced subsidies, and high inflation, which have caused dwindling foreign exchange reserves, rising budget and trade deficits, a decreasing value of the Syrian pound, and falling household purchasing power.
    During 2014, the ongoing conflict and continued unrest and 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 turmoil, Damascus had begun 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, but the economy remains highly regulated. 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, water pollution, and widespread infrastructure damage.
    $55.8 billion (2014 est.)
    $61.9 billion (2013 est.)
    $97.5 billion (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2014 US dollars
    the war-driven deterioration of the economy resulted in a disappearance of quality national level statistics in the 2012-13 period
    country comparison to the world: 106
    $24.6 billion (2014 est.)
    -9.9% (2015 est.)
    -36.5% (2014 est.)
    -30.9% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 219
    $5,100 (2011 est.)
    $5,100 (2010 est.)
    $5,200 (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2011 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 168
    NA% (2015 est.)
    18.5% of GDP (2014 est.)
    NA% (2013 est.)
    household consumption: 63.4%
    government consumption: 22.5%
    investment in fixed capital: 19.2%
    investment in inventories: 10.9%
    exports of goods and services: 9.1%
    imports of goods and services: -25.1% (2015 est.)
    agriculture: 19.5%
    industry: 18.9%
    services: 61.6% (2015 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
    -4.8% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 186
    3.577 million (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 98
    agriculture: 17%
    industry: 16%
    services: 67% (2008 est.)
    50% (2015 est.)
    57.7% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 202
    82.5% (2014 est.)
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%
    revenues: $3.9 billion
    expenditures: $5.7 billion
    note: government projections for FY2016
    15.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 190
    -7.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 193
    52% of GDP (2015 est.)
    48.8% of GDP (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 76
    calendar year
    38.1% (2015 est.)
    29.2% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 223
    0.75% (31 December 2015)
    5% (31 December 2014)
    country comparison to the world: 125
    27% (31 December 2015 est.)
    18.5% (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 6
    $5.254 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    $6.718 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 97
    $11.05 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $12.71 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 106
    $5.285 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    $8.6 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 122
    -$3.148 billion (2015 est.)
    -$3.667 billion (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 160
    $2.14 billion (2015 est.)
    $3.015 billion (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 137
    crude oil, minerals, petroleum products, fruits and vegetables, cotton fiber, textiles, clothing, meat and live animals, wheat
    Iraq 64.7%, Saudi Arabia 11.2%, Kuwait 7.1%, UAE 6.1%, Libya 4.6% (2015)
    $6.663 billion (2015 est.)
    $8.028 billion (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 114
    machinery and transport equipment, electric power machinery, food and livestock, metal and metal products, chemicals and chemical products, plastics, yarn, paper
    Saudi Arabia 28%, UAE 13.7%, Iran 10.1%, Turkey 9%, Iraq 8.3%, China 6.1% (2015)
    $772.9 million (31 December 2015 est.)
    $1.428 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 136
    $5.3 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    $4.597 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 127
    Syrian pounds (SYP) per US dollar -
    236.41 (2015 est.)
    153.695 (2014 est.)
    153.695 (2013 est.)
    64.39 (2012 est.)
    48.371 (2011 est.)
  • Energy :: SYRIA

  • population without electricity: 1.6 million
    electrification - total population: 96 %
    electrification - urban areas: 100 %
    electrification - rural areas: 81 % (2013)
    29.48 billion kWh (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 64
    25.7 billion kWh (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 66
    0 kWh (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 200
    1.234 billion kWh (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 58
    8.958 million kW (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 59
    82.9% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 93
    0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 185
    16.8% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 99
    0.3% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 107
    22,660 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 66
    0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 192
    0 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 130
    2.5 billion bbl (1 January 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 32
    168,800 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 60
    224,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 57
    18,940 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 73
    63,820 bbl/day (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 71
    5.3 billion cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 50
    5.65 billion cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 57
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 187
    350 million cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 67
    240.7 billion cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 45
    50.92 million Mt (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 60
  • Communications :: SYRIA

  • total subscriptions: 4.082 million
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 24 (July 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 41
    total: 13.904 million
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 81 (July 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 66
    general assessment: 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 increased markedly prior to the civil war in 2011; mobile-cellular service stands at about 80 per 100 persons
    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 (2015)
    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)
    total: 5.116 million
    percent of population: 30% (July 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 71
  • 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 (2014)
    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 and Security :: 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)
  • 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 would settle border dispute with Jordan
    refugees (country of origin): 528,616 (Palestinian Refugees); undetermined (Iraq) (2015)
    note: the ongoing civil war has created about 4.8 million Syrian refugees - dispersed in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey - as of October 2016
    IDPs: 6,563,462 (ongoing civil war since 2011) (2015)
    stateless persons: 160,000 (2015); note - Syria's stateless population consists 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: as conditions continue to deteriorate due to Syria’s civil war, human trafficking has increased; Syrians remaining in the country and those that are refugees abroad are vulnerable to trafficking; Syria is a source and destination country for men, women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; Syrian children continue to be forcibly recruited by government forces, pro-regime militias, armed opposition groups, and terrorist organizations to serve as soldiers, human shields, and executioners; ISIL forces Syrian women and girls and Yazidi women and girls taken from Iraq to marry its fighters, where they experience domestic servitude and sexual violence; Syrian refugee women and girls are forced into exploitive marriages or prostitution in neighboring countries, while displaced children are forced into street begging domestically and abroad
    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; in 2014, Syria’s violent conditions enabled human trafficking to flourish; the government made no effort to investigate, prosecute, or convict trafficking offenders or complicit government officials, including those who forcibly recruited child soldiers; authorities did not identify victims and failed to ensure victims, including child soldiers, were protected from arrest, detention, and severe abuse as a result of being trafficked (2015)
    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