Term for Citizens:
Republic. Gained independence in
of State: President Bashar al-Assad since 2000.
of Government: Prime Minister
Naji Otari since 2003.
consists of coastal zone divided by narrow double mountain range
from large eastern region that includes various mountain ranges,
large desert regions, and Euphrates River basin.
sq km (71,498 sq miles).
Population Density: 87.0
per sq km (1999).
Education: Nearly full
enrollment in compulsory tuition-free public schools at primary
level. School system consists of six years of primary, three years
of lower secondary, and three years of upper secondary education.
Four major universities and various teacher-training and vocational
institutes, all government owned and operated.
language, Arabic, mother tongue of about 90 percent of population,
understood by most others. Kurdish (Kirmanji), Armenian, Turkic, and
Syriac spoken by minorities; French and English spoken by educated
elites in major urban areas.
Christianity, Jews, Yazidis, and others.
most important source of employment. Main products: cotton,
wheat, and barley. Farming primarily by private sector.
Manufacturing (including extractive industries). Crude oil
production small by world standards but important to industrial
growth and development. Discovery of high-quality oil a gives hope
for economic growth. New emphasis on phosphate production. Industry
based on cement, food processing, and textiles. Most large-scale
industry owned by state.
Imports: Major imports:
oil, machinery, metal products, materials for processing, and foods.
Exports: Major exports:
crude oil, cotton, and phosphates.
Major Trade Areas:
Eastern Europe, Soviet Union, Western Europe, Arab states, and Iran.
The country can be divided geographically
into four main areas: the fertile plain in the northeast, the
plateau, coastal and mountain areas in the west, the central plains,
and the desert and steppe region in the central and southeastern
areas. The Euphrates flows from Turkey in the north, through Syria,
down to Iraq in the southeast. It is the longest river in Syria, the
total length being 2330km (1450 miles), of which 600km (370 miles)
pass through Syria. The Khabur River supports the al-Khabur Basin in
+ 2 (GMT + 3 from 30 March to 30 September).
volts AC, 50Hz. European-style two-pin plugs.
is available. Country code: 963. Outgoing international code: 00.
Mobile telephone: GSM
900/1800 network. Network operators include Syrian
Telecommunications Establishment and Mobile Syria (website:
to Internet services is available. Syrian Telecommunication
Establishments (website: www.ste.net.sy)
is the main ISP.
available from the main telegraph office in Damascus, most hotels
and post offices.
to Western Europe takes up to ten days. Parcels sent from Syria
should be packed at the post office. There are post offices in
virtually all towns. Post office hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1500; larger
branches will be open all day.
Syria Times is published daily in English. All other
newspapers are in Arabic (the most important ones being Al-Baath,
Tishrin and Al-Thawra). International papers are also widely