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Syria (2003)

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Syria 2003 year

Administrative divisions 14 provinces (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Al Hasakah, Al Ladhiqiyah, Al Qunaytirah, Ar Raqqah, As Suwayda', Dar'a, Dayr az Zawr, Dimashq, Halab, Hamah, Hims, Idlib, Rif Dimashq, Tartus
Age structure 0-14 years: 38.6% (male 3,494,473; female 3,290,699)

15-64 years: 58.2% (male 5,238,026; female 4,991,588)

65 years and over: 3.2% (male 274,744; female 296,010) (2003 est.)
Agriculture - products wheat, barley, cotton, lentils, chickpeas, olives, sugar beets; beef, mutton, eggs, poultry, milk
Airports 92 (2002)
Airports - with paved runways total: 24

over 3,047 m: 5

2,438 to 3,047 m: 16

914 to 1,523 m: 2

under 914 m: 1 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways total: 68

1,524 to 2,437 m: 2

914 to 1,523 m: 11

under 914 m: 55 (2002)
Area total: 185,180 sq km

land: 184,050 sq km

water: 1,130 sq km

note: includes 1,295 sq km of Israeli-occupied territory
Area - comparative slightly larger than North Dakota
Background Following the breakup of the Ottoman Empire during World War I, Syria was administered by the French until independence in 1946. In the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, Syria lost the Golan Heights to Israel. Since 1976, Syrian troops have been stationed in Lebanon, ostensibly in a peacekeeping capacity. In recent years, Syria and Israel have held occasional peace talks over the return of the Golan Heights.
Birth rate 29.54 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Budget revenues: $6 billion

expenditures: $7 billion, including capital expenditures of $3.6 billion (2002 est.)
Capital Damascus
Climate 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
Coastline 193 km
Constitution 13 March 1973
Country name 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)
Currency Syrian pound (SYP)
Death rate 5.04 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Debt - external $22 billion (2002 est.)
Diplomatic representation from the US chief of mission: Ambassador Theodore H. KATTOUF

embassy: Abou Roumaneh, Al-Mansur Street, No. 2, Damascus

mailing address: P. O. Box 29, Damascus

telephone: [963] (11) 333-1342

FAX: [963] (11) 331-9678
Diplomatic representation in the US chief of mission: Ambassador (acting) Imad MUSTAFA

chancery: 2215 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 232-6313

FAX: [1] (202) 234-9548
Disputes - international Golan Heights is Israeli-occupied; Lebanon claims Shaba'a farms in Golan Heights; Syrian troops have been stationed in Lebanon since October 1976; Syria protests Turkish hydrological projects regulating upper Euphrates waters; Turkey is quick to rebuff any perceived Syrian claim to Hatay province
Economic aid - recipient $199 million (1997 est.)
Economy - overview Syria's predominantly statist economy has been growing, on average, more slowly than its 2.4% annual population growth rate, causing a persistent decline in per capita GDP. Recent legislation allows private banks to operate in Syria, although a private banking sector will take years and further government cooperation to develop. External factors such as the international war on terrorism, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the war between the US-led coalition and Iraq probably will drive real annual GDP growth levels back below their 3.5% spike in 2002. A long-run economic constraint is the pressure on water supplies caused by rapid population growth, industrial expansion, and increased water pollution.
Electricity - consumption 21.63 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports 0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports 0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - production 23.26 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source fossil fuel: 57.6%

hydro: 42.4%

nuclear: 0%

other: 0% (2001)
Elevation extremes lowest point: unnamed location near Lake Tiberias -200 m

highest point: Mount Hermon 2,814 m
Environment - current issues deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; water pollution from raw sewage and petroleum refining wastes; inadequate potable water
Environment - international agreements party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification
Ethnic groups Arab 90.3%, Kurds, Armenians, and other 9.7%
Exchange rates Syrian pounds per US dollar - (Official rate): 11.23 (2002), 11.23 (2001), 11.23 (2000), 11.23 (1999), 11.23 (1998), (Free market rate): 49.65 (2001), 49.4 (2000), 51.7 (1999), 52 (1998)
Executive branch chief of state: President Bashar al-ASAD (since 17 July 2000); Vice Presidents Abd al-Halim ibn Said KHADDAM (since 11 March 1984) and Muhammad Zuhayr MASHARIQA (since 11 March 1984)

head of government: Prime Minister Muhammad Naji al-UTRI (since 10 September 2003), Deputy Prime Ministers Lt. Gen. Mustafa TALAS (since 11 March 1984), Farouk al-SHARA (since 13 December 2001), Dr. Muhammad al-HUSAYN (since 13 December 2001)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president

elections: president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term; referendum/election last held 10 July 2000 - after the death of President Hafez al-ASAD, father of Bashar al-ASAD - (next to be held NA 2007); vice presidents appointed by the president; prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the president

election results: Bashar al-ASAD elected president; percent of vote - Bashar al-ASAD 97.29%

note: Hafiz al-ASAD died on 10 June 2000; on 20 June 2000, the Ba'th Party nominated Bashar al-ASAD for president and presented his name to the People's Council on 25 June 2000
Exports 0 kWh (2001)
Exports $6.2 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Exports 0 cu m (2001 est.)
Exports NA (2001)
Exports - commodities crude oil 70%, petroleum products 7%, fruits and vegetables 5%, cotton fiber 4%, clothing 3%, meat and live animals 2% (2000 est.)
Exports - partners Germany 19.1%, Italy 17.5%, Turkey 7.8%, France 7.5%, Lebanon 5.2% (2002)
Fiscal year calendar year
Flag description three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black, with two small green five-pointed stars in a horizontal line centered in the white band; similar to the flag of Yemen, which has a plain white band, and of Iraq, which has three green stars (plus an Arabic inscription) in a horizontal line centered in the white band; also similar to the flag of Egypt, which has a heraldic eagle centered in the white band
GDP purchasing power parity - $63.48 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector agriculture: 27%

industry: 23%

services: 50% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $3,700 (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 3.6% (2002 est.)
Geographic coordinates 35 00 N, 38 00 E
Geography - note there are 42 Israeli settlements and civilian land use sites in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights (February 2002 est.)
Heliports 7 (2002)
Highways total: 43,381 km

paved: 10,021 km (including 877 km of expressways)

unpaved: 33,360 km (1999)
Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%
Illicit drugs a transit point for opiates and hashish bound for regional and Western markets
Imports 0 kWh (2001)
Imports $4.9 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Imports 0 cu m (2001 est.)
Imports NA (2001)
Imports - commodities machinery and transport equipment 21%, food and livestock 18%, metal and metal products 15%, chemicals and chemical products 10% (2000 est.)
Imports - partners Italy 8.3%, Germany 7.4%, China 5.7%, South Korea 4.8%, France 4.6%, US 4.4%, Turkey 4.1% (2002)
Independence 17 April 1946 (from League of Nations mandate under French administration)
Industrial production growth rate NA%
Industries petroleum, textiles, food processing, beverages, tobacco, phosphate rock mining
Infant mortality rate total: 31.67 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 31.89 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 31.43 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 0.9% (2002 est.)
International organization participation AFESD, AL, AMF, CAEU, ESCWA, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNRWA, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WMO, WToO
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 1 (2000)
Irrigated land 12,130 sq km (1998 est.)
Judicial branch Supreme Constitutional Court (justices are appointed for four-year terms by the president); High Judicial Council; Court of Cassation; State Security Courts
Labor force 5.2 million (2000 est.)
Labor force - by occupation agriculture, industry, services NA (2002)
Land boundaries total: 2,253 km

border countries: Iraq 605 km, Israel 76 km, Jordan 375 km, Lebanon 375 km, Turkey 822 km
Land use arable land: 25.96%

permanent crops: 4.08%

other: 69.96% (1998 est.)
Languages Arabic (official); Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic, Circassian widely understood; French, English somewhat understood
Legal system based on Islamic law and civil law system; special religious courts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Legislative branch unicameral People's Council or Majlis al-shaab (250 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)

elections: last held 2-3 March 2003 (next to be held NA 2007)

election results: percent of vote by party - NPF 67%, independents 33%; seats by party - NPF 167, independents 83; note - the constitution guarantees that the Ba'th Party (part of the NPF alliance) receives one-half of the seats
Life expectancy at birth total population: 69.39 years

male: 68.18 years

female: 70.67 years (2003 est.)
Literacy definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 76.9%

male: 89.7%

female: 64% (2003 est.)
Location Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Lebanon and Turkey
Map references Middle East
Maritime claims contiguous zone: 41 NM

territorial sea: 35 NM
Merchant marine total: 129 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 450,135 GRT/645,296 DWT

ships by type: bulk 13, cargo 109, container 2, livestock carrier 3, refrigerated cargo 1, roll on/roll off 1

note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Egypt 1, Greece 2, Italy 1, Lebanon 10 (2002 est.)
Military branches Syrian Arab Army, Syrian Arab Navy, Syrian Arab Air Force (includes Air Defense Forces), Police and Security Force
Military expenditures - dollar figure $858 million (FY00 est.); note - based on official budget data that may understate actual spending
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 5.9% (FY00)
Military manpower - availability males age 15-49: 4,715,386 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service males age 15-49: 2,629,148 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - military age 19 years of age (2003 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually males: 210,941 (2003 est.)
National holiday Independence Day, 17 April (1946)
Nationality noun: Syrian(s)

adjective: Syrian
Natural hazards dust storms, sandstorms
Natural resources petroleum, phosphates, chrome and manganese ores, asphalt, iron ore, rock salt, marble, gypsum, hydropower
Net migration rate 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Pipelines gas 2,300 km; oil 2,183 km (2003)
Political parties and leaders National Progressive Front or NPF (includes Arab Socialist Renaissance (Ba'th) Party (governing party) [President Bashar al-ASAD, secretary general], Socialist Unionist Democratic Party [Ahmad al ASAD], Syrian Communist Party [leader NA], Unionist Socialist Party [leader NA], Arab Socialist Party [Abd al-Ghani QANNUT], and Arab Socialist Unionist Movement [Sami SUFAN]) [President Bashar al-ASAD, chairman]; Syrian Arab Socialist Party or ASP [Safwan QUDSI]; Syrian Communist Party or SCP [Yusuf FAYSAL]; Syrian Social National Party [Jubran URAYJI]
Political pressure groups and leaders conservative religious leaders; Muslim Brotherhood (operates in exile in Jordan and Yemen); non-Ba'th parties have little effective political influence
Population 17,585,540 (July 2002 est.)

note: in addition, about 40,000 people live in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights - 20,000 Arabs (18,000 Druze and 2,000 Alawites) and about 20,000 Israeli settlers (February 2003 est.) (July 2003 est.)
Population below poverty line 15%-25%
Population growth rate 2.45% (2003 est.)
Ports and harbors Baniyas, Jablah, Latakia, Tartus
Radio broadcast stations AM 14, FM 2, shortwave 1 (1998)
Railways total: 2,743 km

standard gauge: 2,425 km 1.435-m gauge

narrow gauge: 318 km 1.050-m gauge (2002)
Religions Sunni Muslim 74%, Alawite, Druze, and other Muslim sects 16%, Christian (various sects) 10%, Jewish (tiny communities in Damascus, Al Qamishli, and Aleppo)
Sex ratio at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.93 male(s)/female

total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2003 est.)
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal
Telephone system general assessment: fair system currently undergoing significant improvement and digital upgrades, including fiber-optic technology

domestic: coaxial cable and microwave radio relay network

international: satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) and 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region); 1 submarine cable; coaxial cable and microwave radio relay to Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey; participant in Medarabtel
Telephones - main lines in use 1.313 million (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular NA
Television broadcast stations 44 (plus 17 repeaters) (1995)
Terrain primarily semiarid and desert plateau; narrow coastal plain; mountains in west
Total fertility rate 3.72 children born/woman (2003 est.)
Unemployment rate 20% (2002 est.)
Waterways 870 km (minimal economic importance)
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