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Syria (2005)

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Syria 2005 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: 37.4% (male 3,556,795/female 3,350,267)

15-64 years: 59.3% (male 5,601,971/female 5,333,799)

65 years and over: 3.3% (male 288,868/female 317,052) (2005 est.)
Agriculture - products wheat, barley, cotton, lentils, chickpeas, olives, sugar beets; beef, mutton, eggs, poultry, milk
Airports 92 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways total: 26

over 3,047 m: 5

2,438 to 3,047 m: 16

914 to 1,523 m: 3

under 914 m: 2 (2004 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways total: 66

1,524 to 2,437 m: 2

914 to 1,523 m: 10

under 914 m: 54 (2004 est.)
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. Syrian troops - stationed in Lebanon since 1976 in an ostensible peacekeeping role - were withdrawn in April of 2005. Over the past decade, Syria and Israel have held occasional peace talks over the return of the Golan Heights.
Birth rate 28.29 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Budget revenues: $6.58 billion

expenditures: $9.45 billion, including capital expenditures of $4.67 billion (2004 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)
Death rate 4.88 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Debt - external $4 billion (excludes military debt and debt to Russia) (2004 est.)
Diplomatic representation from the US chief of mission: Ambassador Margaret SCOBEY

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 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 with the almost 1,000-strong UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) patrolling a buffer zone since 1964; Lebanon claims Shaba'a farms in Golan Heights; international pressure prompts the removal of Syrian troops and intelligence personel stationed in Lebanon since October 1976; Syria protests Turkish hydrological projects regulating upper Euphrates waters; 2004 Agreement and pending demarcation settles border dispute with Jordan
Economic aid - recipient $180 million (2002 est.)
Economy - overview Real GDP growth rose to 2.3 percent in 2004, a slight increase from 2003 when the predominantly statist economy suffered from disruptions caused by the war in Iraq and other developments in the region. Annual real GDP growth has averaged 2.3 percent for the last seven years. The Government of Syria has implemented modest economic reforms in the last few years, including cutting interest rates, opening private banks, consolidating some of the multiple exchange rates, and raising prices on some subsidized foodstuffs. Nevertheless, the economy remains highly controlled by the government. Long run economic constraints include declining oil production and exports and pressure on water supplies caused by rapid population growth, industrial expansion, and increased water pollution.
Electricity - consumption 24.32 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports 0 kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports 0 kWh (2002)
Electricity - production 26.15 billion kWh (2002)
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, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, 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): 11.225 (2004), 11.225 (2003), 11.225 (2002), 11.225 (2001), 11.225 (2000), (parallel market rate in Amman and Beirut) NA (2004), 52.8 (2003), 52.4 (2002), 50.4 (2002), 49.4 (2000)
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)

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 Hafiz al-ASAD, father of Bashar al-ASAD - (next to be held 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 (2002)
Exports $6.086 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports 0 cu m (2001 est.)
Exports 285,000 bbl/day (2004)
Exports - commodities crude oil, petroleum products, fruits and vegetables, cotton fiber, clothing, meat and live animals, wheat
Exports - partners Italy 22.7%, France 18%, Turkey 12.9%, Iraq 9%, Saudi Arabia 6.2% (2004)
Fiscal year calendar year
Flag description three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black, colors associated with the Arab Liberation flag; two small green five-pointed stars in a horizontal line centered in the white band; former flag of the United Arab Republic where the two stars represented the constituent states of Syria and Egypt; similar to the flag of Yemen, which has a plain white band, Iraq, which has three green stars (plus an Arabic inscription) in a horizontal line centered in the white band, and that of Egypt, which has a gold Eagle of Saladin centered in the white band; the current design dates to 1980
GDP - composition by sector agriculture: 25%

industry: 31%

services: 44% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $3,400 (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 2.3% (2004 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 (2004 est.)
Highways total: 45,697 km

paved: 6,489 km (including 1,001 km of expressways)

unpaved: 39,208 km (2002)
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; weak anti-money-laundering controls, bank privatization may leave it vulnerable to money-laundering
Imports 0 kWh (2002)
Imports $5.042 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports 0 cu m (2001 est.)
Imports NA
Imports - commodities machinery and transport equipment, electric power machinery, food and livestock, metal and metal products, chemicals and chemical products, plastics, yarn, paper
Imports - partners Turkey 9.4%, Ukraine 8.7%, China 7.8%, Russia 5.4%, Saudi Arabia 5.2%, US 4.7%, South Korea 4.6%, Italy 4.3% (2004)
Independence 17 April 1946 (from League of Nations mandate under French administration)
Industrial production growth rate 7% (2002 est.)
Industries petroleum, textiles, food processing, beverages, tobacco, phosphate rock mining
Infant mortality rate total: 29.53 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 29.76 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 29.28 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 2.1% (2004 est.)
International organization participation ABEDA, AFESD, AMF, CAEU, 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, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNRWA, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO
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 5.12 million (2004 est.)
Labor force - by occupation agriculture 30%, industry 27%, services 43% (2002 est.)
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: 25.22%

permanent crops: 4.43%

other: 70.35% (2001)
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: 70.03 years

male: 68.75 years

female: 71.38 years (2005 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 territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 41 nm
Merchant marine total: 120 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 446,981 GRT/636,620 DWT

by type: bulk carrier 8, cargo 105, container 1, livestock carrier 4, petroleum tanker 1, roll on/roll off 1

foreign-owned: 12 (Egypt 1, Greece 1, Jordan 2, Lebanon 7, Romania 1)

registered in other countries: 73 (2005)
Military branches Syrian Arab Army, Syrian Arab Navy, Syrian Arab Air Force (includes Air Defense Command), 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)
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 (2005 est.)
Pipelines gas 2,300 km; oil 2,183 km (2004)
Political parties and leaders Arab Socialist Unionist Movement [Ahmed al-AHMED]; National Progressive Front or NPF (includes Arab Socialist Renaissance (Ba'th) Party; the governing party) [President Bashar al-ASAD, secretary general]; Socialist Unionist Democratic Party [Fadlallal Nasr Al-DIN]; Syrian Arab Socialist Party or ASP [Safwan QUDSI]; Syrian Communist Party (two branches) [Wissal Farha BAKDASH, Yuusuf Rashid FAYSAL]; Syrian Social National Party [Jubran URAYJI]; Unionist Socialist Party [Fayez ISMAIL]
Political pressure groups and leaders conservative religious leaders; Kurdish Democratic Alliance [leader NA]; Kurdish Democratic Front [leader NA]; Muslim Brotherhood (operates in exile in London) [Ali Badr Eddine al-BAYANOUNI]; National Democratic Front [Hassan Abd al-AZIM]
Population 18,448,752

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 (July 2005 est.)
Population below poverty line 20% (2004 est.)
Population growth rate 2.34% (2005 est.)
Ports and harbors Baniyas, Latakia
Radio broadcast stations AM 14, FM 2, shortwave 1 (1998)
Railways total: 2,711 km

standard gauge: 2,460 km 1.435-m gauge

narrow gauge: 251 km 1.050-m gauge (2004)
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: 0.91 male(s)/female

total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2005 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: country code - 963; 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 2,099,300 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular 400,000 (2002)
Television broadcast stations 44 (plus 17 repeaters) (1995)
Terrain primarily semiarid and desert plateau; narrow coastal plain; mountains in west
Total fertility rate 3.5 children born/woman (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate 20% (2002 est.)
Waterways 900 km (not economically significant) (2002)
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