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Syria  

COUNTRY

Formal Name: Syrian Arab Republic.

Short Form: Syria.

Term for Citizens: Syrians.

Capital: Damascus. 

 

Government: Republic. Gained independence in 1946. 

Head of State: President Bashar al-Assad since 2000. 

Head of Government: Prime Minister  Naji Otari since 2003.

GEOGRAPHY

Size: About 185,180 square kilometers.

Topography: Country 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.

SOCIETY

 Area: 185,180 sq km (71,498 sq miles).

Population: 16,110,000 (1999).

Population Density: 87.0 per sq km (1999).

Capital: Damascus. 

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. 

Languages: Official 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.  

Religion: Islam, Christianity, Jews, Yazidis, and others. 

ECONOMY

Agriculture: Historically most important source of employment.  Main products: cotton, wheat, and barley. Farming primarily by private sector.  

Industry:  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.

 

Other Information

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 the northeast.

Time: GMT + 2 (GMT + 3 from 30 March to 30 September).

Electricity: 220 volts AC, 50Hz. European-style two-pin plugs.

Telephone: IDD 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: www.syriatel.com).

Fax: Available 


Internet: Access to Internet services is available. Syrian Telecommunication Establishments (website: www.ste.net.sy) is the main ISP.

Telegram: Service available from the main telegraph office in Damascus, most hotels and post offices.

Post: Airmail 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.

Press: The 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 available.

More Information

 
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