Syria is a Southwest Asian country. Situated in the Middle East region, on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, it includes the territory of the Golan Heights, internationally recognized as a part of Syria, but which has been occupied by Israel since 1967. It is bathed by the Mediterranean Sea to the west, and borders with Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east and southeast, Jordan to the south, Israel and Lebanon to the southwest. Geographically it is divided into three zones – the coast, the mountains and the Syrian desert. It has an area of 185 180 km2. The capital, Damascus, is the oldest city in the world, its foundation dates back to 2500 BC. C. The largest Syrian cities are Aleppo, with 1 976 900 residents (2004), Damascus, the capital, with 1 703 900 residents, Homs (800 900 residents), Latakia (469 200 residents) And Hamah (366 900 residents.).
The climate is temperate Mediterranean on the coast and arid inland.
The Orontes River is the largest and only navigable river in the country. Along this river cotton, cereals and fruits are grown. Agriculture thrives along the Orontes and Euphrates rivers, in the area that is part of the so-called Fertile Crescent. The country is also an oil exporter, but its reserves are low compared to other countries in the Middle East. It has natural gas, limestone, phosphates and iron. The industry has also thrived in recent years in the area of textiles, leather goods and chemicals. Syria’s main trading partners are Italy, France, Lebanon and Japan.
Environmental indicator: the value of carbon dioxide emissions, per capita(metric tons, 1999), is 3.4.
With a population of 18 881 361 residents (2006), the country has one of the fastest accelerating rates of demographic growth on the Asian continent, and it is estimated that in 2025 the population will reach 34 million people. The birth and death rates are, respectively, 27.76% and 4.81%. Average life expectancy is 70.32 years. The value of the Human Development Index (HDI) is 0.685 and the value of the Gender-adjusted Development Index (IDG) is 0.688 (2001). The majority of the population is Arab (89%), but there are Kurds (6%) in the North who have their own language, culture and national dress. Sunni Muslims represent 74% of the population, followed by Shiite Muslims (12%), Christians (9%) and Druze (3%). The official language is Arabic.
Syria has been a crossroads of trade routes since ancient times. Syrian traders are found throughout the Middle East and the term Syrian has become synonymous with merchant. After the Phoenicians, Syria was dominated by the Roman, Greek and Byzantine empires. Three years after Muhammad’s death, in 632 AD. C., two Arab armies conquered Damascus. In 1095, Christians in Europe undertook their first crusade. Wars and battles have followed for decades. For two centuries Syria was united to Egypt, under the rule of the Turks, being integrated into the Ottoman Empire in 1516. At that time, Syria comprised the territory currently occupied by Lebanon. In our century, during the First World War, the Allies invaded Syria and Lebanon, which became French protectorates. In 1926 Lebanon became an independent state, withdrawing the ports of Beirut and Tripolis from Syria. Only twenty years later, Syria would become independent. For Syria democracy and rights, please check homeagerly.
Since reaching independence in 1946, Syria has been involved in the Israeli-Arab conflict. The Syrian army lost control of the Golan Heights during the Six-Day War with Israel in 1967. The Syrian state has also maneuvered several rival political and religious factions to annihilate the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), for not wanting to neighboring a revolutionary Palestinian state. Syria is one of the most nationalist and radical Arab states.
For thirty years, from 1970 to 2000, Syria was governed by the authoritarian general Hafiz al-Assad, whose main priority was to regain the Syrian territory lost to Israel in 1967. This policy resulted in the country’s rearmament. President Assad did not authorize Islamic militancy – city dwellers often wore Western clothing. With the death of the general in 2000, his son Bashar al-Assad succeeded him.
In recent years, Syria has been holding talks with Israel with a view to the recovery of the Golan Heights.
- Countryaah.com: Offers a full list of airports in the country of Syria, sorted by city location and acronyms.
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Provides most commonly used abbreviations and initials containing the country name of Syria. Listed by popularity.
1UpTravel.com – Maps of Syria
Browse a collection of city, country, political, shaded relief, historical and thematic maps of Syria. Check out the maps of Damascus and Golan Heights.
MSN Encarta Maps – Syria
Professional quality political map of Syria shows cities and villages, land features and bordering nations. Zoom and print maps.
Syria – Atlapedia Online
Check out both a physical and political map of this country in a troubled region. Also offers an extensive historical overview and country facts.
Syria – MapQuest.com
Color map of the country shows locations of major cities, land features, water systems and bordering nation. Plus, read facts.
Syria – Merriam-Webster Atlas
Compact atlas allows visitors to grasp a good understanding of Syria in a short time. Features a detailed map, country facts and diagrams.
Syria – My Travel Guide Maps
View a graphical map of this Arab republic. Map is perfect for projects or familiarizing oneself with the nation’s layout.
Syria – WorldAtlas.com
Features a country profiles and extensive country facts, plus a number of map diagrams and relief maps.