Syrian Arab Republic
الجمهورية العربية السورية
al-Jumhūriyyah al-‘Arabīyah as-Sūriyyah
Flag Coat of arms
Anthem: "Homat el Diyar"
"Guardians of the Land"
Capital Damascus
Largest city Aleppo
Official languages Arabic1
Demonym Syrian
Government Ba'athist Single Party State
 -  President Bashar al-Assad
Legislature People's Council
Independence
 -  from France 17 April 1946 
 -  from the United Arab Republic 28 September 1961 
Area
 -  Total 185,180 km2 (89th)
71,479 sq mi
 -  Water (%) 1.1
Population
 -  April 2016 estimate 18,090,242 (53rd)
 -  Density 118.3/km2 (101st)
306.5/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2011 estimate
 -  Total $105.238 billion (65th)
 -  Per capita US$5,043 (114th)
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
 -  Total US$60.210 billion (66th)
 -  Per capita US$2,958 (118th)
HDI (2011) Decrease 0.632
medium · 119th
Currency Syrian pound (SYP)
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 -  Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Drives on the right
Calling code 9632
Internet TLD .sy, سوريا.
1. Arabic is the official language; spoken languages and varieties are: Syrian Arabic, North Mesopotamian Arabic, Kurmanji Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic, Circassian, Turkish
2. 02 from Lebanon
Syria in its region (claimed)
Syria
Khareetasureea
A map of Syria

Syria is a country in the Middle East, the west part of Asia. It borders (from south to north) on Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey. Its western part faces the Mediterranean Sea. Its eastern and northern parts are mountainous.

The current president and head of state is Bashar al-Assad. Syria's national capital is Damascus. The biggest city is Aleppo. A Syrian civil war began in 2011.

The population of Syria is 74% Sunni, 12% Alawi, 10% Christian, and 3% Druze.

History

Syria has a very long history. It was a land of Phoenicians. Later it became part of the Achaemenid Empire, Roman Empire and then the Eastern Roman Empire. In those days people spoke the Syriac language. The city Antioch was great and one of the important cities in Christendom. In the Arab Empire people began to speak the Arabic language. Today most Syrian people believe in Islam but there are still Christians too.

When World War I ended, France was given control over Lebanon and Syria. Britain was given power over Iraq, Jordan and Palestine. A border was drawn between Iraq and Syria in 1920. France controlled Syria until 1946. That year Syria became its own country.

Syria was part of the United Arab Republic with Egypt in 1958-1961. Syria had some wars with Israel and some territories like the Golan Plateau were occupied by Israel.

Report of the Commission Entrusted by the Council with the Study of the Frontier between Syria and Iraq Listen to this page
The line in the middle of this map is the border drawn in 1920 separating Iraq and Syria.

In 2012 with the Arab Spring a bloody civil war began against President Bashar al-Assad.

Geography

Syria is between latitudes 32° and 38° N, and longitudes 35° and 43° E. It is mostly arid plateau. The area bordering the Mediterranean is fairly green. The Euphrates, Syria's most important river, crosses the country in the east.

The climate in Syria is dry and hot. Winters are mild.

Politics and government

Syria is a republic. The old Constitution of Syria was started on 13 March 1971. It made Syria as a secular socialist state. Islam was the majority religion. A new constitution has been in place since 2012.

Branches of government

The executive branch is the president, two vice presidents, the prime minister, and the Council of Ministers. The constitution says the president must be a Muslim. It does not make Islam the state religion. According to the 2012 constitution, the president is elected by Syrian people in a direct election.

The People's Council is the legislative branch.

State control

Nearly all of Syria’s radio and television outlets are state owned. The Ba'ath Party controls nearly all newspapers.

Human rights

Syria's human rights are among the worst in the world, according to human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch. The authorities arrest democracy and human rights activists, censor websites, detain bloggers, and have travel bans.

Governorates

Syria has fourteen Governorates, or muhafazat. The governorates are divided into sixty districts. The governorates are:

  • Al Hasakah
  • Al Ladhiqiyah
  • Al Qunaytirah
  • Ar Raqqah
  • As Suwayda
  • Dara
  • Dayr az Zawr
  • Dimashq
  • Halab
  • Hamah
  • Homs
  • Idlib
  • Rif Dimashq
  • Tartus

Military

The President of Syria is commander in chief of the Syrian armed forces. There are about 400,000 troops. Males must go in the military when they are age 18.

Economy

Syria is a middle-income country. The economy is based on agriculture, oil, industry, and tourism.

Transport

Syria has three international airports (Damascus, Aleppo and Lattakia). They are hubs for Syrian Air. Foreign airlines also fly to them. Most Syrian cargo is carried by Chemins de Fer Syriens, the Syrian railway company.

Demographics

Population in Syria
Year Million
1971 6.6
1990 12.7
2009 21.9
Source: OECD/World Bank/UNO

Most people live in the Euphrates valley and along the coastal plain, a fertile strip between the coastal mountains and the desert.

Education is free from ages 6 to 12. All children this age must attend school.

Sports

The most popular sports in Syria are football, basketball, swimming, and tennis. Damascus was home to the fifth and seventh Pan Arab Games. Many popular football teams are based in Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, and Latakia.

Civil war 2011-

Since 2011, there has been a civil war between pro-government supporters and rebels who oppose the government. Over 80,000 people have been killed in this war according to United Nations. The United Nations Security Council has condemned the mass killing in Syria in May 2012 but in vain.

Related pages

Images


Syria Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.