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Syria (Syrian Arab Republic)

Population: 17 951 639

GDP: 64 700 000 000.00 $

 

Following World War I, France acquired a mandate over the northern portion of the former Ottoman Empire province of Syria. The French administered the area as Syria until granting it independence in 1946. The new country lacked political stability, however, and experienced a series of military coups during its first decades. Syria united with Egypt in February 1958 to form the United Arab Republic. In September 1961, the two entities separated, and the Syrian Arab Republic was reestablished. In November 1970, Hafiz al-Asad, a member of the socialist Ba'th Party and the minority Alawi sect, seized power in a bloodless coup and brought political stability to the country. In the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, Syria lost the Golan Heights to Israel.

 

 

During the 1990s, Syria and Israel held occasional peace talks over its return. Following the death of President al-Asad, his son, Bashar al-Asad, was approved as president by popular referendum in July 2000. Syrian troops - stationed in Lebanon since 1976 in an ostensible peacekeeping role - were withdrawn in April 2005. During the July-August 2006 conflict between Israel and Hizballah, Syria placed its military forces on alert but did not intervene directly on behalf of its ally Hizballah.

 

 

In May 2007 Bashar al-Asad's second term as president was approved by popular referendum. Influenced by major uprisings that began elsewhere in the region, antigovernment protests broke out in the southern province of Dar'a in March 2011 with protesters calling for the repeal of the restrictive Emergency Law allowing arrests without charge, the legalization of political parties, and the removal of corrupt local officials. Since then demonstrations and unrest have spread to nearly every city in Syria, but the size and intensity of protests have fluctuated over time.

 

 

The government responded to unrest with a mix of concessions - including the repeal of the Emergency Law and approving new laws permitting new political parties and liberalizing local and national elections - and force. However, the government's response has failed to meet opposition demands for Asad to step down, and the government's ongoing security operations to quell unrest and widespread armed opposition activity have led to extended violent clashes between government forces and oppositionists. International pressure on the Asad regime has intensified since late 2011, as the Arab League, EU, Turkey, and the United States have expanded economic sanctions against the regime. Lakhdar Brahimi, current Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States on the Syrian crisis, in October 2012 began meeting with regional heads of state to assist in brokering a cease-fire.

 

 

In December 2012, the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces was recognized by more than 130 countries as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people. Unrest persisted in 2013, and the death toll among Syrian Government forces, opposition forces, and civilians has topped 100,000. Peace talks between the Syrian Opposition Coalition and Syrian regime at the UN sponsored Geneva II conference in 2014 failed to produce progress toward a resolution of the conflict.

 

Population: 17,951,639 (2014).

note: approximately 18,900 Israeli settlers live in the Golan Heights

 

Nationality: noun: Syrian(s), adjective: Syrian.

 

Ethnic groups: Arab 90.3%, Kurds, Armenians, and other 9.7%.

 

Languages: Arabic (official), Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic, Circassian (widely understood); French, English (somewhat understood).

 

Religions: Muslim 87% (official; includes Sunni 74% and Alawi, Ismaili, and Shia 13%), Christian (includes Orthodox, Uniate, and Nestorian) 10% (includes Orthodox, Uniate, and Nestorian), Druze 3%, Jewish (few remaining in Damascus and Aleppo).

GDP

 

GDP: $ 64 700 000 000.00 (2011).

 

Syrian Armed Forces: Land Forces, Naval Forces, Air Forces (includes Air Defense Forces).

 

Golan Heights is Israeli-occupied with the almost 1,000-strong UN Disengagement Observer Force patrolling a buffer zone since 1964; lacking a treaty or other documentation describing the boundary, portions of the Lebanon-Syria boundary are unclear with several sections in dispute; since 2000, Lebanon has claimed Shab'a Farms in the Golan Heights; 2004 Agreement and pending demarcation settles border dispute with Jordan.

 

Refugees (country of origin): 526,744 (Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA)) (2014); undetermined (Iraq) (2015).

 

The ongoing civil war had created more than 3.9 million Syrian refugees - dispersed in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey - as of March 2015.

 

Internally displaced persons: 7,600,000 (ongoing civil war since 2011) (2014).

 

Stateless persons: 160,000 (2013); note - Syria's stateless population is composed of Kurds and Palestinians; stateless persons are prevented from voting, owning land, holding certain jobs, receiving food subsidies or public healthcare, enrolling in public schools, or being legally married to Syrian citizens; in 1962, some 120,000 Syrian Kurds were stripped of their Syrian citizenship, rendering them and their descendants stateless; in 2011, the Syrian Government granted citizenship to thousands of Syrian Kurds as a means of appeasement; however, resolving the question of statelessness is not a priority given Syria's ongoing civil war.

 

Syria is a transit point for opiates, hashish, and cocaine bound for regional and Western markets; weak anti-money-laundering controls and bank privatization may leave it vulnerable to money laundering.

 

Capital: Damascus

 

Location: Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Lebanon and Turkey. The capital of Damascus - located at an oasis fed by the Barada River - is thought to be one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities; there are 41 Israeli settlements and civilian land use sites in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

 

Geographic coordinates:

35 00 N, 38 00 E.

 

Area:

total: 185,180 sq km

land: 183,630 sq km

water: 1,550 sq km

note: includes 1,295 sq km of Israeli-occupied territory

 

Land boundaries:

total: 2,363 km

border countries: Iraq 599 km, Israel 83 km, Jordan 379 km, Lebanon 403 km, Turkey 899 km.

 

Coastline: 193 km.

 

Natural resources: petroleum, phosphates, chrome and manganese ores, asphalt, iron ore, rock salt, marble, gypsum, hydropower.

22/11/2016

The United States said on Tuesday it had issued a second license to France's Airbus (AIR.PA) to sell commercial planes to Iran Air, bringing Iran's flag carrier a step closer to receiving new Western jets under last year's deal to ease sanctions.

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