People Groups in Syria Information about Syria

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Geography  Location: Bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Lebanon and Turkey
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
Land boundaries:
total: 2,253 km
border countries: Iraq 605 km, Israel 76 km, Jordan 375 km, Lebanon 375 km, Turkey 822 km
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 hitting
Terrain: primarily semiarid and desert plateau; narrow coastal plain; mountains in west
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: unnamed location near Lake Tiberias -200 m
highest point: Mount Hermon 2,814 m
Natural resources: petroleum, phosphates, chrome and manganese ores, asphalt, iron ore, rock
salt, marble, gypsum
Land use:
arable land: 28%
permanent crops: 4%
permanent pastures: 43%
forests and woodland: 3%
other: 22% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 9,060 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: dust storms, sandstorms
Environment—current issues: deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; water
pollution from dumping of raw sewage and wastes from petroleum refining; inadequate supplies of
potable water

Population: 16,673,282 (July 1998 est.)
note: in addition, there are 35,150 people living in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights—18,150
Arabs (16,500 Druze and 1,650 Alawites) and 17,000 Israeli settlers (August 1997 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 46% (male 3,937,575; female 3,748,881)
15-64 years: 51% (male 4,342,022; female 4,157,268)
65 years and over: 3% (male 240,603; female 246,933) (July 1998 est.)
Population growth rate: 3.23% (1998 est.)
Birth rate: 37.83 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)
Death rate: 5.55 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 37.6 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 67.76 years
male: 66.48 years
female: 69.11 years (1998 est.)
Total fertility rate: 5.55 children born/woman (1998 est.)
noun: Syrian(s)
adjective: Syrian
Ethnic groups: Arab 90.3%, Kurds, Armenians, and other 9.7%
Religions: Sunni Muslim 74%, Alawite, Druze, and other Muslim sects 16%, Christian (various
sects) 10%, Jewish (tiny communities in Damascus, Al Qamishli, and Aleppo)
Languages: Arabic (official); Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic, Circassian widely understood;
French, English somewhat understood
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 70.8%
male: 85.7%
female: 55.8% (1997 est.)

Country conventional name:  Syrian Arab Republic
Government type: republic under military regime since March 1963
National capital: Damascus
Legal system: based on Islamic law and civil law system; special religious courts; has not
accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Economy—overview: Syria's predominantly statist economy is on a shaky footing because of
Damascus's failure to implement extensive economic reform. The dominant agricultural sector
remains underdeveloped, with roughly 80% of agricultural land still dependent on rain-fed sources.
Although Syria has sufficient water supplies in the aggregate at normal levels of precipitation, the
great distance between major water supplies and population centers poses serious distribution
problems. The water problem is exacerbated by rapid population growth, industrial expansion, and
increased water pollution. Private investment is critical to the modernization of the agricultural,
energy, and export sectors. Oil production is leveling off, and the efforts of the nonoil sector to
penetrate international markets have fallen short. Syria's inadequate infrastructure, outmoded
technological base, and weak educational system make it vulnerable to future shocks and hamper
competition with neighbors such as Jordan and Israel.
GDP: purchasing power parity—$106.1 billion (1997 est.)
GDP—real growth rate: 4.6% (1997 est.)
GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$6,600 (1997 est.)
GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 28%
industry: 14%
services: 58% (1995)
Inflation rate—consumer price index: 15%-20% (1997 est.)
Labor force:
total: 4.7 million (1995 est.)
by occupation: services 40%, agriculture 40%, industry 20% (1996 est.)
Unemployment rate: 12% (1997 est.)
revenues: $3.9 billion
expenditures: $4.3 billion, including capital expenditures of $1.9 billion (1996 est.)
Industries: petroleum, textiles, food processing, beverages, tobacco, phosphate rock mining
Industrial production growth rate: 0.2% (1996 est.)
Agriculture—products: wheat, barley, cotton, lentils, chickpeas; beef, lamb, eggs, poultry, milk
total value: $4.2 billion (f.o.b., 1997)
commodities: petroleum 70%, textiles 12%, food and live animals 10%, manufactures 5%
partners: EU 57% (Germany 17%, Italy 16%, France 11%), Lebanon 14%, Saudi Arabia 7%
total value: $5.7 billion (c.i.f., 1997)
commodities: machinery and equipment 40%, foodstuffs/animals 15%, metal and metal products
15%, textiles 10%, chemicals 10%, consumer goods 5% (1997 est.)
partners: EU 33% (Italy 9%, Germany 8%, France 4%), South Korea 5%, US 4%, Japan 4%
Currency: 1 Syrian pound (úS) = 100 piastres
More Information about Syria


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Bedouin Arab    General InformationBethany

Circassian    AD2000Bethany

Dom Gypsy    AD2000

Iraqi Arab    Bethany

Jordanian Arab    Bethany

Kurd    AD20000,   Bethany

Persian    AD2000Bethany


Turk    AD2000,   Betany

Turkmen    AD2000,   Bethany


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