Flag of Syria

Language: Arabic

Currency: Syrian pound (SYP)

Calling Code: 963


Syria (Arabic: سوريا Sūriyā), officially Syrian Arab Republic is a sovereign country of the Near East, on the eastern Mediterranean coast, whose form of government is the semi-presidential unitary republic, currently plunged into the Syrian Civil War since March 2011. It shares borders with Turkey in the north, with Iraq in the east, with Israel, Jordan and the Sea of ​​Galilee in the south, and with Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea in the west, the island of Cyprus being visible from its shores in the distance. Syria is a member of the United Nations Organization since its founding.

Syria has a population of 22.85 million inhabitants, most of whom speak Arabic and profess the Islamic religion, with the Sunni being the majority group. Among the non-Sunni Muslims in Syria are Alawites and Shiites. In addition, there are minorities of the Assyrian, Armenian, Turkish and Kurdish ethnic groups along with thousands of Palestinian refugees.

After the First World War, the modern Syrian state emerged as a French Mandate and represented the largest Arab state emerging from the Levant after the end of Ottoman rule. On October 24, 1945, it gained its independence and became a parliamentary republic, although the French troops did not fully withdraw until April 1946. The following years were very tumultuous, with consecutive coups and attempts of failed blows between 1949 and 1963. Between 1958 and 1961 the country formed the United Arab Republic with Egypt, but its ephemeral existence ended with the 1961 Syrian coup d'état. After the Syrian Constitutional Referendum of 1961, the Syrian Arab Republic was constituted although the 1963 coup the country remained unstable. From March 8, 1963 until March 17, 2011, the Baath Arab Socialist Party - Syria Region ruled the country under the declaration of a state of emergency and since 1970 the presidency of Syria has been exercised by family members. Asad, the first General Hafez al-Asad, head of state from 1970 to 2000, followed by his son Bashar al-Asad, current president.


Travel Destination in Syria

Aleika Castle Medieval ruins of Aleika Castle are located near Tartous in Syria.

Aleppo is a second largest city in Syria. It is also one of the oldest cities in the World. History of Aleppo stretches for five thousand years.

Ancient Apamea is a former treasure city and stud-depot of the Seleucid kings.

Bani Qahtan Castle is a medieval Ismaeli Arab stronghold located in Latakia Governorate in Syria.

Bosra is a major ancient city in Syria that was designated as a UNESCO Word Heritage Site.

Bourzey Castle or Mirza Castle is situated on top of the mountain overlooking Ghab valley below in Syria.

Citadel of Salah Ed-Din (Saladin) in Syria was not actually built by him, but he took this impressive castle after a brief siege.

Ancient Doura Europos or Dura Europos is a Hellenistic, Parthian and Roman border city located in Syria.

Hosn Suleiman was inhibited since the time of Phoenicians. Today remains of Greek and Roman periods are mostly visible.

Krak des Chevaliers is one of the largest and best preserved castles from the time of the Crusades.

Medieval Margat Castle in Syria was one of the major strongholds of the Knights Hospitaller in the Holy Land.

Medieval Masyaf Castle became famous as the seat of Order of Assassins who used this stronghold as a base for their operations.

Palmyra as Romans called it or Tadmore as it is known to Syrians means literally a 'date tree'. The city is easily accessed by bases from Damascus.

Medieval Castle of Qal'at Ja'bar is situated on an island on the lake Assad and connected with mainland by a narrow causeway.

Ruins of Qasr al-Heer al-Sharqi is a medieval royal residence that still inspire awe of those who visit the site.

Qasr ibn Wardan is a well preserved complex in Syria from the early Byzantine period.

Rahbeh Castle also known as Qala'at Malek ibn Tauk are badly preserved ruins of the medieval castle in Syria.

Resafa Ancient and early medieval ruins of Resafa are located in Ar-Raqqah Governorate of Syria.

Shahba Ancient city of Shahba located in As-Suwayda Governorate is famous for its buildings and mosaics that adore them.



The name "Syria" comes from the ancient Greek name of the colonies of Assyria, formed from the Semitic word "Sirion". The area on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea south of Cilicia, between Egypt and Mesopotamia, including the Armenian regions of Commagene, Sophene and the Assyrian region of Adiabene, is described by Pliny the Elder as "former Assyria." By the time Pliny completed his main work, Natural History, this region was divided by the Roman Empire into several provinces: Judea (later Palestine, modern Israel, the PNA and part of Jordan), Phoenicia (modern Lebanon), Mesopotamia and Coele-Syria (i.e. "Hollow Syria").



Ancient Syria
The history of Syrian civilization dates back at least to the 4th millennium BC.

Eblaite is the oldest known Semitic language. In the Ebla Library, discovered in 1975, more than 17,000 clay tablets dedicated to crafts, agriculture and art were found. Among the leading crafts of Ebla are the processing of wood, ivory, and pearls. Other famous cities of the era include Mari, Ugarit and Dura-Europos.

In the XXIII century BC. Ebla was conquered by Akkad, and the capital was completely destroyed. Then the Canaanite tribes invaded the territory of Syria, forming many small states. During the period between the invasion of the Canaanite tribes and the conquest of Syria in 64 BC. The Roman Empire, its territory was successively ruled by the Hyksos, Hittites, Egyptians, Arameans, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, ancient Macedonians, the Hellenistic power of the Seleucids, the Great Armenia of Tigran the Great.

From the 16th century BC e. in the south of Syria there is the city of Damascus, originally subordinate to the Egyptian pharaohs.

Syria occupies an important place in the history of Christianity - according to the Bible, Paul adopted the Christian faith on the road to Damascus, and then lived in Antioch, where the disciples of Christ first began to be called Christians (Acts of the Apostles).

Islamic rule
Islam gained a foothold in Syria in 661, when Damascus became the capital of the Arab Caliphate under the Umayyads. At this time, the Caliphate was already a powerful state, stretching from the Iberian Peninsula to Central Asia. Damascus became the cultural and economic center of the entire Arab world, already in the VIII century being one of the largest cities in the world. In 750, the Umayyads were overthrown by the Abbasid dynasty, after which the capital of the Caliphate moved to Baghdad.

In the XII century, crusader states were formed on the territory of Syria, which lasted less than a hundred years. From the 13th century, Damascus became the provincial center of the Mamluk Empire. In 1400, Syria was attacked by the Timurids. Tamerlane defeated the Mamluk detachments, destroyed Damascus and took all his wealth to Samarkand. Since 1517, Syria became part of the Ottoman Empire for 4 centuries.

On the eve of the First World War, the territory of modern Syria was part of the three vilayets of the Ottoman Empire - Beirut, Aleppo and Damascus (Syria). The eastern, sparsely populated and mostly desert part of modern Syria was the western part of the independent sanjak of Zor with its center in Deir ez-Zor. The territory of the Sanjak of Zor roughly coincides with the territory controlled in 2014-2017 by the Islamic State.

French Mandate
Shortly after the defeat in the First World War, the Ottoman Empire collapsed, and many of its territories were occupied. In 1920, the Syrian Arab Kingdom was founded with its center in Damascus. Faisal of the Hashemite dynasty, who later became the king of Iraq, was declared king. But the independence of Syria did not last long. A few months later, the French army occupied Syria, defeating the Syrian troops on July 23 at the battle of the Maysalun Pass.

In 1922, the League of Nations decided to legalize the occupation of the lands of the Ottoman Empire by Great Britain and France. Great Britain in 1917 occupied part of the Ottoman Empire - the region "Palestine". In 1922, the regime of direct occupation is replaced by administrative control - Mandate from the League of Nations. Subsequently, Palestine was divided. The lands east of the Jordan River were separated from it, where Transjordan was created under the protectorate of Great Britain.

France, in turn, receives in 1922 the Mandate of the League of Nations for the territory of Syria. In 1926, the mandated territory was divided into Lebanon and Syria.

In 1926, the country's constitution was introduced in Lebanon, confirming the mandate of France and providing for an elected president and a unicameral parliament.

In 1936, a treaty was signed between Syria and France providing for the independence of Syria, but in 1939 France refused to ratify it. In 1940, France itself was occupied by German troops and Syria came under the control of the Vichy Regime (Governor-General Henri Dentz). Nazi Germany, having provoked a rebellion by Prime Minister Gailani in British Iraq, sent units of its air force to Syria.

In June-July 1941, with the support of British troops, Free French units, led by Generals Charles de Gaulle and Georges Catrou, occupied Syria during a bloody conflict with Dentz's troops. General de Gaulle in his memoirs directly pointed out that the events in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon were directly related to the German plans to invade Greece (including the island of Crete), Yugoslavia and the USSR, since they had the task of diverting the Allied armed forces to secondary theaters of war.


On September 27, 1941, France granted independence to Syria, leaving its troops on its territory until the end of World War II. On January 26, 1945, Syria declared war on Germany and Japan. In April 1946, French troops were evacuated from Syria under pressure from the USSR and opposition from the United States. After that, the Syrian government for decades went in the direction of the predominance of foreign contacts with the USSR.

recent history
Shukri al-Kuatli, who fought for the country's independence under the Ottoman Empire, became the president of independent Syria. In 1947, a parliament began to operate in Syria. The main political forces were the pro-presidential National Socialist Party of Syria (at the moment it operates only in Lebanon), the Arab Socialist Renaissance Party and the then underground Communist Party of Syria. The National Social Party of Syria was the bearer of the pro-fascist ideology of the "welfare state", distinguished by anti-Semitism and sympathy for the Nazis. Many Nazi criminals took refuge in Syria and became the founders of its special services.

After Syria gained independence, attacks on Syrian Jews intensified, and their businesses were boycotted. The new government banned emigration to Palestine, and the teaching of Hebrew in Jewish schools was severely restricted.

After the adoption of the UN decision on the partition of Palestine on November 27, 1947, Jewish pogroms took place in Syria. Only in Aleppo, with a Jewish community that lived in the city for 2.5 thousand years and numbered from 6 to 7 thousand Jews, on December 1, 1947, 150 houses, 5 shops and 10 synagogues were destroyed. From 8 to 75 Jews were killed, several hundred were wounded. After the pogrom, many Jews fled the city to Turkey and Lebanon, to the territory of the future Israel and to the USA. In 1948, the Jewish community of Syria, which numbered 50,000 in 1900, was reduced to 30,000. The pogroms continued in 1948 and in subsequent years, as a result, Jews were forced to flee almost completely from Syria to Israel, the United States and the countries of South America, and there are currently fewer than 100 Syrian Jews living in Damascus and Latakia.

In 1948, the Syrian army took a limited part in the Arab-Israeli war launched by the Arab League. At the end of the war, accusations against the government of incompetence and misappropriation of funds began to be heard in the country's parliament, which forced him, after the riots, to resign, and the military to introduce a state of emergency in the country. Colonel Husni al-Zaym came to power, revoking the 1930 constitution, banning political parties, and subsequently proclaiming himself president.

On August 14, 1949, al-Zaim was killed and power passed to Colonel Sami Hinawi, who restored the civilian regime. The People's Council was chosen to adopt the new constitution, with the majority in the Aleppo branch of the National Party, which favors union with Iraq. The idea of ​​a political union with Iraq caused discontent among the military, whose leader was Adib al-Shishakli, and on December 19, Hinawi was removed. On September 5, 1950, a new constitution was proclaimed, according to which Syria became a parliamentary republic, but already in November 1951, the constitution was suspended, and the country's parliament was dissolved. In 1953, Shishakli promulgated a new constitution and, after a referendum, became president.

In February 1954, a military-civilian coalition led by Hashim Bey Khalid al-Atassi came to power in the country, returning the 1950 constitution. In 1954, following the results of the elections, the Arab Socialist Renaissance Party won the majority of seats in parliament, demanding fundamental changes in industry and agriculture. In the elections in 1955, Shukri al-Quatli was elected president of the country, with the support of Saudi Arabia and the conservatives in parliament.

On March 15, 1956, a collective security treaty was concluded between Syria, Egypt and Saudi Arabia against possible Israeli aggression.

In November 1956, as a direct result of the Suez Crisis, Syria signed a treaty with the Soviet Union. This became a fulcrum for communist influence in the government in exchange for military equipment. Turkey was concerned about this increase in the strength of Syrian military equipment, as it seemed possible that Syria would try to take back Iskenderun. Only a heated debate in the United Nations stopped the threat of war.

United Arab Republic
On February 22, 1958, in the wake of the popularity of the pan-Arab movement, Syria and Egypt united into one state - the United Arab Republic with its center in Cairo. Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser became the president of the new state, but the Syrians also held many important posts. However, Nasser soon dissolved all Syrian political parties. In Syria, large-scale nationalization of agriculture began, and then industry and the banking sector. The formation of a new state was supported by the leadership of the USSR: loans were granted to the UAR, and the participation of the USSR in more than fifty industrial construction projects was also announced.

In Syria, dissatisfaction with the unification gradually grew. The Syrians believed that all the leading positions were occupied by the Egyptians, and they are in a disadvantaged position. Soon, discontent turned into an open rebellion: on September 28, 1961, a coup d'état took place in Damascus under the leadership of a group of officers; The Egyptians tried to suppress the center of resistance, but to no avail. A national government headed by Mamun Kuzbari was created. Thus, the UAR lasted only 3.5 years.

Syrian Arab Republic
One of the most secular states of the Arab East, in particular, the church is separated from the state, the budget is separated from the expenses of the ruling group, elections are held. After Syria left the confederation, the country was headed by liberal Nazim al-Qudsi. He returned many nationalized enterprises to their former owners. On March 28, 1962, a coup again took place in the country under the leadership of the same group of army officers. Al-Qudsi and his prime minister were arrested. After 5 days, supporters of the former regime overthrew the interim government, and Al-Qudsi again became the president of the country.

On March 8, 1963, a military coup again took place in Syria, as a result of which the Arab Socialist Renaissance Party (PASV) came to power (the name “Baath” (ar. “revival”) is often used). In 1964, a new constitution was adopted, which established the leading role of the PASV. The country was headed by Amin al-Hafez, who launched radical socialist reforms. In particular, the nationalization of the main sectors of the economy was again carried out. On February 23, 1966, Syria was shaken by the fifth coup in 4 years, led by Salah Jadid and Hafez al-Assad. Amin al-Hafez was overthrown, but the PASV remained in power, and the socialist path of Syria's development remained largely unchanged.

In 1967, during the Six Day War, the Golan Heights were occupied by Israel. Israeli air strikes during the war caused enormous damage to the economy. The failure of the government to ensure the restoration of industry after the war led to anti-government actions in 1968-1969. In November 1970, as a result of the "corrective movement" in the PASP, which was headed by Hafez al-Assad, Salah Jadid's group was removed from power. Thus, Syria became the main ally of the Soviet Union in the Middle East. The USSR provided Syria with assistance in modernizing the economy and the armed forces.

In 1973, Syria, along with other Arab states, attacked Israel. The Arabs failed to defeat Israel, and after 18 days the war was stopped. By decision of the UN Security Council, at the end of the war in 1973, a buffer zone was created separating Israel and Syria. At the moment, the Golan Heights are controlled by Israel, but Syria is demanding their return.

In 1976, at the request of the Lebanese government, Syrian troops entered the country to stop the civil war. The war ended in 1990 with the establishment of a government in Lebanon that maintains friendly relations with Syria. Syrian troops left Lebanon only in 2005, after the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Syria supported Iran in the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-1988.

In 1976-1982, an armed struggle of Islamists against the ruling Baath Party unfolded in the country, accompanied by mass demonstrations and terrorist attacks. The events were called the Islamic uprising. The uprising was led by the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood. The key episode was the massacre in Hama in February 1982, during which the Syrian army bombed and then stormed the opposition stronghold of the city of Hama. According to various estimates, from 17 to 40 thousand people were killed, including 1,000 soldiers.

After the death of Hafez al-Assad on June 10, 2000, who had ruled the country for almost 30 years, his son Bashar al-Assad was elected president following a referendum.


In the US State Department's 2002 report, "The Traits of International Terrorism in 2001", published in 2002, Syria was named a state that supports terrorism. In 2003, in response to criticism of the coalition invasion of Iraq, the United States accused Syria of supporting terrorism and imposed sanctions on it.

According to some reports, during the Israeli-Lebanese war in 2006, Syria supplied weapons to Hezbollah.

On May 27, 2007, in a referendum, Bashar al-Assad was re-elected for a new seven-year presidential term. He was supported by 97.62% of voters.

According to the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, bilateral relations between the Russian Federation and Syria include politics, economics, investment and culture.

As of 2011, 75-100 thousand citizens of the Russian Federation lived in Syria. For decades, there have been agreements on cooperation in various fields at the government level. Russia considers Syrian Kurdistan a part of Syria, and since 2016 a public organization of Syrian Kurds has been opened in the Russian Federation.

Since the 19th century, Russia has already occupied the fourth place in Syria's foreign trade turnover.

Civil war in Syria (since 2011)
The revolutions taking place in the Middle East have also spread to Syria. In March 2011, in the city of Dar'a in the south of the country, and then in other cities of the country, protests began demanding a change in the existing regime. These speeches for the most part began on Fridays after Friday prayers, which led to their name "Friday Revolution". Various demands were put forward, from the resignation of the government to the overthrow of the regime. In connection with these events, the country's leadership made serious changes: it canceled the law on the state of emergency, the laws on the media and political parties, announced democratic reforms.

On December 11, 2012, news agencies reported that the United States no longer perceives Bashar al-Assad as the leader of Syria and is relying on the armed opposition (Syrian National Coalition).

On June 3, 2014, the first presidential elections were held in Syria since the Baath party came to power in 1963, in which Bashar al-Assad was re-elected for a third term.

By the summer of 2014, the eastern part of the country was under the rule of the Islamic State, which proclaimed the creation of a caliphate in part of the territory of Syria and Iraq, with its capital in the city of Raqqa.

As of April 2015, as a result of hostilities, 3.9 million Syrians left their country, and another 7.6 million were internally displaced persons. Most refugees find shelter in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, about 200 thousand people left for European countries, which is why the number of migrants near the borders of the European Union reached in July 2015 the highest figure since the start of such a count in 2008. As the authorities regained control over the territories, the return of refugees began, about 1-1.7 million refugees are ready to return.

After a series of serious defeats in 2015 (the loss of the cities of Idlib and Palmyra, as well as the capture of the Abu ed-Duhur air base), at the end of September, official Damascus turned to the Russian Federation for military assistance. On September 30, Russia officially confirmed the transfer to Syria of an aviation group of several dozen aircraft and helicopters and support units.

In March 2015, the US Secretary of State announced the need to establish a dialogue with the official government of Syria. According to The Wall Street Journal correspondents Noor Malas and Carol Lee, the administration of US President Barack Obama for a number of years held secret negotiations with representatives of the Syrian authorities in order to find people who would be ready to assist in a military coup and removal from the leadership of the country of the current President Bashar al-Assad.

In the period 2015-2016, hostilities continued throughout the country. The armed opposition, consisting of many groups, continued systematic shelling of cities under the control of government troops, there were street battles with the use of heavy weapons in several large cities of the country, including the capital.

The turning point in the military conflict was the liberation of the city of Aleppo by the Syrian army on December 22, 2016. In early 2017, the Syrian army concentrated its main forces on the fight against the Islamic State, as a result of which, by the end of autumn, the Islamic State had lost most of its territories in Syria, retaining only a few small territories controlled by it in different parts of the country (Yarmouk camp to the south from Damascus, south of Idlib governorate, Quneitra governorate, as well as small areas of the eastern bank of the Euphrates River). On December 6, 2017, Russian President V.V. Putin officially announced the complete defeat of the terrorists of the Islamic State with the preservation of separate centers of resistance. The amount of spending from the Russian budget for military operations in Syria has not been disclosed. After the completion of the operation in the east of the country, the main hostilities moved to the governorate of Idlib.


State structure

Syria is a multi-party presidential-parliamentary republic.

The head of state is the president. The president, according to the country's constitution, is elected for 7 years, the number of terms in office is limited to two consecutive terms. The president has the power to appoint a cabinet of ministers, declare martial law or a state of emergency, sign laws, grant amnesties, and amend the constitution. The president determines the country's foreign policy and is the supreme commander of the armed forces.

Legislative power in the country is represented by the People's Council (Arabic مجلس الشعب‎ - Majlis ash-Shaab). Deputies of the 250-seat parliament are directly elected for a 4-year term. Following the results of the parliamentary elections in 2003, 7 parties passed to the People's Council. Led by the Ba'ath, they form the Syrian National Progressive Front (NPF). 83 deputies do not have party affiliation. The People's Council approves the country's budget and is also involved in legislative activities.

The judicial system is a unique combination of Islamic, Ottoman and French traditions. The basis of Syrian legislation is, according to the constitution, Islamic law, although the actual legislation in force is based on the Napoleonic Code. There are three levels of courts: the Court of First Instance, the Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court, which is the highest instance. The Constitutional Court is composed of five judges, one of whom is the President of Syria and four others are appointed by the President. Thus, the president has full control over both the executive and legislative and judicial powers.

In addition to this, the system of religious courts deals with family matters and other domestic matters.



The government of Syria is headed by the prime minister. The current Prime Minister is Imad Khamis.

On February 15, 2006, career diplomat Farouk Sharaa was sworn in as vice president of Syria, who, as vice president, should oversee the country's foreign policy and information policy. The oath was also taken by new ministers appointed during the February 11 government reshuffle.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry was headed by Walid al-Muallem, who for ten years was the Syrian ambassador to the United States, and since the beginning of 2005 served as deputy foreign minister. The government of Mohammed Naji Otri included 14 new ministers. The head of the military police, Bassam Abdel Majid, took over the post of interior minister, which remained vacant after the suicide of former Syrian Interior Minister Ghazi Kanaan in October 2005. Deputy Prime Minister for Economics Abdallah Dardari, Defense Minister Hassan Turkmani, Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Hussein, Minister of Economy and Trade Amer Lutfi.
In the course of subsequent personnel changes, the former Chief of the General Staff of the Syrian Armed Forces, Ali Habib, became the Minister of Defense, and Lamia Asi became the Minister of Economy.


Human rights

Since 1963, a state of emergency has been in effect in Syria, in connection with which there have been expanded powers of law enforcement agencies. Because of this, the country has often faced accusations of violating civil rights. In particular, Amnesty International has repeatedly mentioned in its reports the presence of hundreds of political prisoners in the country, the use of torture as a common practice, the absence of a fair and independent judiciary, and discrimination against women and national minorities.

Syria is one of the most secular countries in the Arab world.

In April 2011, the state of emergency was lifted.

Representatives of several religions and peoples live in the country. In 1960-1980, the official authorities carried out a strict assimilation of the Kurdish minority (10% of the Kurds did not have citizenship, but a residence permit, since 2011 the rights of the Kurds were increased to be secured by a separate law instead of "common grounds"). Since the 1960s, publications in the Kurdish language, its teaching in schools and even its use in personal communication in public places have been banned in the country. The Kurds did not have the right to create cultural, educational, public and sports organizations. This did not cause any armed confrontation; in parallel, in neighboring Turkey, the "Kurdish" issue is constantly in an acute military stage.

In the early 1980s, there was a local uprising by an armed, non-governmental religious group that killed up to 40,000 people.

The country uses the death penalty.

A number of human rights organizations in their reports regularly characterize Syria as an extremely unfavorable country in terms of human rights. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Freedom House and others accuse the Syrian authorities of restricting freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, torture and deprivation of medical care.


According to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, which published a rating of the most dangerous countries for women in the world in January 2019, Syria ranks third in the list of countries with the greatest number of risks for women in terms of health care, access to economic resources, ordinary life, sexual violence, human trafficking.


Foreign policy

Syria's foreign policy is oriented, first of all, to the settlement of all, including territorial disputes with Israel related to the return of the Golan Heights to the jurisdiction of Damascus. Although Syria's relations with other Arab countries were damaged after President Assad spoke out in support of Iran during the Iran-Iraq war, Syrian diplomacy is trying in every possible way to rally the Arab world around the problem of a Middle East settlement.

Syria has a special relationship with Russia. Damascus considers the Russian Federation as its main military-political and trade-economic partner. The possibility of locating a Russian naval base in the Mediterranean port of Tartus is being considered. Traditionally, Russia is a supplier of weapons and other military products to Syria.

Relations with the West are more strained. The United States accuses the Syrian authorities of sponsoring international terrorism, encouraging Iraqi resistance, and arming Hezbollah. Also, the United States has repeatedly accused the government of Bashar al-Assad of violating human rights and dictatorial methods of government.

Relations with France remained good for decades, thanks to the huge work and investments in the Syrian economy that began even before the 2nd World War.

On July 20, 2022, Syria announced the severance of diplomatic relations with Ukraine. This decision was a reaction to the actions of Kyiv, which back in 2018 refused to renew visas for Syrian diplomats.



The area of ​​Syria is 185.2 thousand km².

The Ansariya (An-Nusayriya) mountain range divides the country into a humid western part and an arid eastern part. The fertile coastal plain is located in northwestern Syria and stretches for 130 km from north to south along the Mediterranean coast from the Turkish to the Lebanese border. Almost all of the country's agriculture is concentrated here. The highest mountain in Syria is Nabi Yunis (1575 m). Most of the Syrian territory is located on an arid plateau dotted with the mountain ranges of Dajabl-ar-Ruwak, Jabal-Abu-Rujmayn and Jabal-Bishri. The average height of the plateau above sea level ranges from 200 to 700 meters. To the north of the mountains is the Hamad desert, to the south is Homs.



The climate is generally dry. The average annual rainfall does not exceed 100 mm. The average temperature in January is +7.2 °С, in July +26.6 °С.

Water resources
In the east, Syria is crossed by the Euphrates and flows through its territory for 675 km. In 1973, a dam was built in the upper reaches of the river, which led to the formation of a reservoir called Lake Asada. In the areas along the Euphrates, agriculture is widespread. Large tributaries of the Euphrates are Khabur and Belikh. In the extreme northeast, for 44 km along the border with Turkey, the second main river of the Middle East, the Tigris, flows. And in the west flows the Orontes River (El-Asi, 325 km), which flows from Lebanon to Turkey. The Yarmouk River flows along the border with Jordan.

Flora and fauna
Ficus, magnolia, plane tree, cypress, myrtle, laurel, hibiscus grow in the west of Syria. Aleppo pine is endemic to Syria. Citrus, olive trees, figs and grapes are cultivated in irrigated areas. The forests proper (of beech and cedar) occupy a small part of the territory of Syria. In the east of Syria, desert vegetation prevails: tamarisk, astragalus, camel thorn, biyurgun, saxaul, boyalych. The animal world is not rich, there are antelopes, wild boars, jackals, foxes, hares, hyenas, the Syrian hamster and the Syrian brown bear. Storks and herons come to Syria for the winter.


Administrative division

Syria is divided into 14 governorates, the head of which is appointed by the Minister of the Interior after the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers. Each governorate elects a local parliament. The governorate of Quneitra has been occupied by Israel since 1973, part of the governorate is under the control of the UN.


Golan heights

The territory of the Golan Heights makes up the Syrian governorate of Al-Quneitra, with its center in the city of the same name. Israeli troops captured the Golan Heights in 1967, and until 1981 the region was under the control of the Israel Defense Forces. In 1974, the UN Emergency Forces were introduced into the region. A demarcation line was drawn directly along the eastern border of the Quneitra governorate and a demilitarized zone was established. The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) is based in the area.

In 1981, the Israeli Knesset passed the "Golan Heights Law", which unilaterally declared Israeli sovereignty over the territory. The annexation was invalidated by the UN Security Council Resolution of 17 December 1981 and condemned by the UN General Assembly in 2008.

The center of the Israeli Golan was the city of Katzrin. The majority of the non-Jewish population in the Golan are Druze retaining Syrian citizenship (they are granted the right to acquire Israeli citizenship). In Syria, they enjoy some privileges, in particular, they are guaranteed free higher education.

In 2005, the population of the Golan Heights was approximately 40 thousand people, including 20 thousand Druze, 19 thousand Jews and about 2 thousand Alawites. The largest settlement in the region is the Druze village of Majdal-Shams (8.8 thousand people). Initially, only UNDOF personnel had the right to move freely between Syria and Israel. But in 1988, the Israeli authorities allowed Druze pilgrims to cross into Syria so that they could visit the Temple of Abel, located in the neighboring governorate of Dar'a. Also, since 1967, Druze brides who decide to marry a Syrian are allowed to move to the Syrian side, and they already lose their right to return. Syria and Israel are de jure at war.



Weaknesses: Civil War. international sanctions.

In 2014, the decline in GDP was also caused by international sanctions, destroyed infrastructure, reduced domestic consumption and production, and high inflation. In 2014, the war and the ongoing economic downturn created a humanitarian catastrophe, with the number of people in need in Syria rising from 9.4 million to 12.2 million, and the number of refugees rising from 2.2 million to 3.3 million. Syria's problems in the long term are foreign trade barriers, reduced oil production, high unemployment, and lack of water resources.

The inflation rate in 2014 was estimated at 34.8%. In 2014, according to Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index (an annual ranking of the countries of the world, reflecting the assessment of the level of perception of corruption by international analysts), Syria was ranked 159 out of 175 countries. According to the World Bank's annual Doing Business ranking in 2014, Syria was ranked 165th in terms of ease of doing business.

The public sector, which retained the leading role in the economy (70% of the main means of production), accounts for about half of the national income and approximately 75% of the value of industrial output. The state fully controls the sphere of finance, energy, rail and air transport. As part of the course towards gradual liberalization and modernization of the economy proclaimed by the Syrian leadership, a line has been taken to provide public sector enterprises with greater economic independence, in particular, the right to enter the foreign market and attract foreign investment.

The private sector has grown rapidly. It produces 25% of the value of industrial products, it occupies a dominant position in agriculture (almost 100%), domestic trade (90%), foreign trade (70%), services, vehicles, housing construction.

The main part of the national income is created in industry. The most developed industries are oil, oil refining, electric power, gas production, phosphate mining, food, textile, chemical (production of fertilizers, plastics), and electrical engineering.

Agriculture (50% of the working population) accounts for about 30% of national income and 17% of export earnings (cotton, livestock products, vegetables and fruits). Only a third of the territory of Syria is suitable for agriculture.

In the future, political instability, hostilities and trade and economic sanctions imposed on Syria led to a deterioration in the country's economy.

by May 23, 2012, the losses from international sanctions against Syria amounted to 4 billion US dollars, the sanctions led to a shortage of essential goods
On January 10, 2013, the Syrian Foreign Ministry sent a message to the UN Security Council, in which it notified the international community about the looting of about 1,000 factories and enterprises by militants in the commercial and industrial center of Aleppo. Equipment and goods were illegally exported to Turkish territory, and the Turkish border authorities did not prevent this.

International trade
In 2016, the volume of Syria's foreign trade amounted to - Export $ 748 million am. dollars, import - $4.17 billion am. dollars, the negative balance of foreign trade - $ 3.42 billion am. Doll.

Main export commodities: fruits and vegetables, spices, oilseeds, cotton.

The main buyers are Lebanon 17% (US$127 million), Egypt 16% (US$116 million), Jordan 12% (US$88.1 million), Turkey 8.5% (63.5 US$ million) and Saudi Arabia 7.8% ($58.2 million US$)

The main imports are foodstuffs (sugar, vegetable oils, flour and grain products, etc.), machinery and equipment, including cars, cigarettes, timber and chemicals.

The main suppliers are Turkey 27% (US$1.13 billion), China 22% (US$915 million), Lebanon 4.8% (US$198 million), South Korea 4.7% ( US$193 million) and Egypt 4.4% (US$181 million)

The share of Russia is 2% in imports and 1.4% in exports.

In the structure of Russia's exports to Syria in 2017, the main share of deliveries fell on the following types of goods (the percentage of the total volume of Russia's exports to Syria is indicated): Food products and agricultural raw materials - 34.76%, Wood and pulp and paper products - 15.59 %, Products of the chemical industry - 10.46% (in 2016 - 4.13%); Machinery, equipment and vehicles - 5.01%

In the structure of Russia's imports from Syria in 2017, the main share of deliveries fell on food products and agricultural raw materials - 95.43% of Russia's total imports from Syria.



Car roads
The total length of roads in Syria is 36,377 km. Of them:
paved - 26,299 km;
without hard coating - 10,078 km.

The total length of railways is 2750 km. In Syria, two types of gauge are used at once. 2423 km of roads were laid with a standard gauge of 1435 mm, and 327 km with a gauge of 1050 mm. A road with a gauge of 1050 mm was built by the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the 20th century and connected Damascus with Medina. This thread is currently inactive. Railway communication is established with three neighboring states: Turkey, Iraq and Jordan. At present, the construction of the Tartus-Latakia line is underway; it is planned to lay the railways Damascus - Dara and Deir ez-Zor - Abu Kemal.

Air Transport
The number of airports is 104 (1999), of which 24 have concrete runways. 3 have international status. The state-owned airline, Syrianair, operates flights to more than 50 cities.

Pipeline transport
The total length of pipe lines is 1,304 km, of which 515 are oil pipelines.

Sea transport
The main ports on the Mediterranean Sea: Tartus, Latakia, Banyas.



According to the United Nations Population Fund, the total population of Syria in 2011 was 20.8 million, including 10.5 million men and 10.3 million women; the proportion of the urban population is 56%, the population growth rate in 2010-2015 will be 1.7%, life expectancy will be 74 years for men and 78 years for women.

Most of the population is concentrated on the Mediterranean coast and along the banks of the Euphrates. Population density - 103 people / km². Syria guarantees free education from 6 to 11 years of age and is compulsory. The 12 years of schooling consist of 6 years of elementary school, 3 years of general education and 3 more years of special training required to enter university. Literacy among Syrians over the age of 15 is 86% for men and 73.6% for women.


Ethnic composition

Syrian Arabs (including about 400,000 Palestinian refugees) make up about 90% of the country's population.

The largest national minority - the Kurds - makes up 9% of the population of Syria. Most Kurds live in the north of the country in Western (Syrian) Kurdistan, many still use the Kurdish language. There are also Kurdish communities in all major cities.

The third largest ethnic group in the country are the Syrian Turkmens (Turcomans), who make up 7% of the population of Syria.

The Circassians are the descendants of the Muhajirs, migrants from the Caucasus, and are mainly engaged in cattle breeding and agriculture. Before the Yom Kippur War and the destruction of the city of Quneitra, half of the Circassians lived in the governorate of Quneitra; many of them moved to Damascus.

There are also large communities of Armenians and Assyrians in the country.


Religious composition

Syrian Arabs (including about 400,000 Palestinian refugees) make up about 90% of the country's population.

The largest national minority - the Kurds - makes up 9% of the population of Syria. Most Kurds live in the north of the country in Western (Syrian) Kurdistan, many still use the Kurdish language. There are also Kurdish communities in all major cities.

The third largest ethnic group in the country are the Syrian Turkmens (Turcomans), who make up 7% of the population of Syria.

The Circassians are the descendants of the Muhajirs, migrants from the Caucasus, and are mainly engaged in cattle breeding and agriculture. Before the Yom Kippur War and the destruction of the city of Quneitra, half of the Circassians lived in the governorate of Quneitra; many of them moved to Damascus.

There are also large communities of Armenians and Assyrians in the country.

The share of Christians in 2010 was estimated at 5% - 6% of the population. Throughout the 20th century, the proportion of Christians in the total population of the country has steadily declined - from 16% at the beginning of the century to 7.8% in 2000. This was due to both the higher natural increase among Muslims and the significant emigration of Christians to North and South America and the wealthier countries of the Persian Gulf. The number of Catholics in 2010 was estimated at 430 thousand people. Most of them are believers of the five Eastern Catholic churches (Melkites, Syro-Catholics, Maronites, Armenian Catholics and Chaldean Catholics). The Orthodox are represented by the Antiochian Orthodox Church (260,000, 2010). There are also many supporters of the ancient Eastern churches in the country - the Syrian Orthodox Church (195 thousand), the Armenian Apostolic Church (150 thousand) and the Assyrian Church of the East (70 thousand). Approximately half of the Protestants (40 thousand) are Reformed, the rest are believers of the Anglican, Perfectionist, Baptist and Pentecostal communities.

In 2011, the Yezidi community in Syria numbered 80,000 people. In addition to the above, there are very small groups of supporters of the Baha'i faith, Zoroastrians and Jews in the country.



The official and most widely spoken language is Arabic.

In the northern regions of the country, the Kurdish language is often used.

The most common languages ​​also include Turkmen, Adyghe (Circassian) and Armenian. In some areas there are various dialects of Aramaic. Among foreign languages, the most popular are English and Russian, which since 2014 has been gradually introduced into secondary schools in the Damascus-controlled western part of the country as a subject starting from the 7th grade. By the beginning of the 21st century, at least 35 thousand specialists lived in Syria who had ever studied in Russian in the USSR and in the CIS countries. French was quite popular in Syria during the period between the two world wars, when the country was ruled by France. However, since then, Russian has significantly supplanted French as a second foreign language: only one French school remains in the country in Damascus, and the number of active Francophones in Syria does not exceed 5,000 as of 2014.



As one of the oldest states in the world, Syria has become the cradle of many civilizations and cultures. In Syria, the Ugaritic cuneiform was born and one of the first forms of writing - Phoenician (XIV century BC). Syrian scientists and artists made a significant contribution to the development of Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine cultures. Among them: the scientist Antiochus of Ascalon, the writer Lucian from Samosata, the historians Herodian, Ammianus Marcellinus, John Malala, John of Ephesus, Yeshu Stylite, Yahya of Antioch, Michael the Syrian. Also known are Christian theologians Paul of Samosata, John Chrysostom, Ephraim the Syrian, John of Damascus.

In the 12th century, the famous warrior and writer Usama ibn Munkiz lived and worked in Syria, the author of the autobiographical chronicle The Book of Edification, the most valuable source on the history of the Crusades.

The learned deacon Pavel from Aleppo (Bulos ibn Makarius az-Zaim al-Khalebi), having visited the Muscovite state in 1654-1656, described in detail in his book “Journey of Patriarch Macarius of Antioch to Russia” the everyday culture, folk customs and religious rites of Russian and Ukrainians, as well as the foreign policy of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich and the church reforms of Patriarch Nikon.

The capital of Syria - the city of Damascus - is one of the world's historical centers for the production of bladed weapons, the birthplace of the famous "Damascus steel".

The Syrians have made a significant contribution to the development of Arabic literature, especially poetry, and music. Syrian writers of the 19th century, many of whom later immigrated to Egypt, made a decisive contribution to the revival of Arab culture (a kind of "analog" of the Renaissance in Europe - Nahda). The most famous Syrian writers of the 20th century, who made the largest contribution to pan-Arab culture, include Adonis, Gada al-Samman, Nizar Qabbani, Ulfat Idilbi, Hanna Mina and Zakaria Tamer.

Cinema in Syria is not very developed. On average, the Syrian National Film Organization releases 1-2 films a year. Among the famous directors are Amirali Omar, Osama Mohammed and Abdel Hamid, Abdul Razzak Ghanem (Abu Ghanem) and others. Many Syrian filmmakers work abroad. Nevertheless, in the 1970s, Syrian-made serials were popular in the Arab world.

Together with the Syrian film studio "Ganem-Film" feature films were shot in the USSR and Russia: "Zagon" (1987), "The Last Night of Scheherazade" (1987), "Richard the Lionheart" (1992), "Destroy the Thirtieth!" (1992), "Angels of Death" (1993), "Tragedy of the Century" (1993), "The Great Commander Georgy Zhukov" (1995), etc.

In modern Syrian society, special attention is paid to the institution of the family and religion, as well as education.

The modern life of Syria is closely intertwined with ancient traditions. Thus, in the old quarters of Damascus, Aleppo and other Syrian cities, living quarters are preserved, located around one or more courtyards, as a rule, with a fountain in the center, with citrus orchards, vines and flowers. Outside of large cities, residential areas are often combined into small towns. Buildings in such areas are mostly very old (often hundreds of years old) and are constantly passed down from generation to generation.

From 2000 to 2008, the number of Internet users in Syria grew from 30,000 to 1 million. However, the authorities block internet users from accessing sites such as YouTube, Blogspot and Facebook, as well as Kurdish and Islamist party sites. Against the background of other Arab countries, multi-server instant messaging networks, for example, based on the XMPP protocol, have gained extraordinary popularity. Due to the peculiarities of the behavior of the Syrians in this network, many nodes completely block the input of the Arabic alphabet.



Prior to Syria's independence, more than 90% of its population was illiterate. In 1950, free and compulsory primary education was introduced. Before the start of the civil war in Syria, there were about 10 thousand primary and more than 2.5 thousand secondary schools; 267 vocational schools (including 77 industrial, 65 commercial, 18 agricultural and veterinary, and 107 women's); 4 universities.

Textbooks in secondary schools (under the rule of Bashar al-Assad) are issued free of charge up to and including grade 9.

Damascus University was founded in 1903. It is the leading institution of higher education in the country. The second most important is the university in Aleppo, founded in 1946 as an engineering faculty of Damascus University, but in 1960 became an independent educational institution. In 1971, the University of Tishrin (Teshrin) was established in Latakia. The youngest university founded in Homs is Al-Baath University. In addition, a large number of Syrians receive higher education abroad, mainly in Russia and France.



Syria has free public health care. There are about 300 hospitals in the country, and there are about 900 inhabitants per doctor. In addition, civil servants are entitled to compensation (up to 100%) of private medical costs, provided that these medical services are provided in Syria.

Syrian Minister of Health Abd-Assalam An-Naib noted in 2014 that in the field of medicine, Syria occupied one of the first places in the region. There were 49 polyclinics in the country's healthcare system, and the population was fully provided with medicines (72 drug production enterprises functioned, up to 97% of the population was provided with national medicines), complex operations were performed, including heart and kidney transplantation, which, according to the minister, made possible thanks to the experience adopted from the Soviet Union. At present, the Syrian healthcare system has suffered great damage.

Pension provision
Men retire at 60. In the event of the death of a pensioner, his pension is received by the widow and children, while sons receive it until they reach adulthood, and daughters until they get married. If the daughter could not get married, then she receives a pension throughout her life.


Mass media

State television and radio company - ORTAS (fr. Organisme de la Radio-Télévision Arabe Syrienne, Arabic. الهيئة العامة للإذاعة والتلفزيون‎ - “General Directorate of Radio Broadcasting and Television”), which includes the 1st (launched in 126) and 126 (launched in 1985), Radio Damascus (Arabic إذاعة دمشق‎), Voice of the People (Arabic صوت الشعب‎) and Voice of Youth (Arabic صوت الشباب‎).


Armed forces

The supreme commander of the armed forces is the president of the country. Military service in the Syrian army is carried out by conscription. Young men are drafted into the army for 2 years upon reaching the draft age (18 years) and only on condition that the young man has at least one brother. Otherwise, he is declared the breadwinner of the family and is not subject to conscription.

The total number of armed forces during the years of the civil war has significantly decreased and is about 130 thousand people (15th place in the world). About 14,000 Syrian troops were in Lebanese territory before Syria withdrew its foreign contingent in April 2005 (introduced at the request of the Lebanese leadership). The collapse of the Soviet Union, which was the main military-technical partner of Syria, significantly worsened the position of the Syrian army. From the 1990s to the present, Syria has been purchasing weapons from China and North Korea. Russia is the main supplier of repair equipment and spare parts, as well as the main political partner. The country also receives financial assistance from the Arab states of the Persian Gulf as payment for its participation in the operation against Iraq. In addition to this, Syria is conducting independent research in the field of weapons.

On September 30, 2015, Russian President V.V. Putin ordered the use of the Russian Aerospace Forces in Syria as support for President Bashar al-Assad in the war against the armed opposition and ISIS.

The armed forces include the army, air force, navy and air defense forces.