Syria Military, Economy and Transportation

Syria Military, Economy and Transportation


Economy overview: Syria’s static economy is not on a solid footing due to Damascus’s inability to implement broad economic reforms. The dominant agricultural sector remains underdeveloped, with approximately 80% of agricultural land dependent on natural rainfall irrigation. Although Syria has sufficient water supplies under normal rainfall, the long distances between the main water sources and the most densely populated areas create serious problems in the distribution of water. The problem of water supply is exacerbated by rapid population growth, the expansion of the industrial sector and growing water pollution. Private investment is urgently needed to modernize the agricultural, energy and export-oriented industries. Oil production stabilizes and efforts by non-primary industries to enter international markets have not been successful. The Syrian infrastructure is in poor condition, the technological base is outdated, the education system is weak, which makes the economy vulnerable and uncompetitive compared to its neighbors such as Jordan and Israel. The government recognizes the need for greater economic openness to increase domestic and foreign investment.┬áSee to know more about Syria in 2004.
GDP: at purchasing power parity – $50.9 billion (2000 est.).
Real GDP growth rate: 3.5% (2000 est.).
GDP per capita: at purchasing power parity – $3,100 (2000 est.).
The composition of GDP by sectors of the economy: agriculture: 29%; industry: 22%; services: 49% (1997).
Proportion of the population below the poverty line: 15-25%.
Percentage distribution of household income or consumption: for the poorest 10% of households: n/a; 10% of the wealthiest families: no data.
Inflation rate at consumer prices: 1.5% (2000 est.).
Labor force: 4.7 million people (1998 est.).
Employment structure: agriculture 40%, industry 20%, services 40% (1996 est.).
Unemployment rate: 20% (2000 est.).
Budget: revenues: $2.25 billion; expenditures: $5.4 billion, including capital expenditures – NA (2000 est.).
Spheres of economy: oil, textile, food industry, production of drinks, tobacco, extraction of phosphates.
Growth in industrial production: no data available.
Electricity generation: 17.94 billion kWh (1999)
Sources of electricity generation: fossil fuels: 57.64%; hydropower: 42.36%; nuclear fuel: 0%; others: 0% (1999).
Electricity consumption: 16.684 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity export: 0 kWh (1999).
Electricity import: 0 kWh (1999).
Agricultural products: wheat, barley, cotton, lentils, chickpeas, olives, sugar beets; beef, lamb, egg, poultry, milk.
Exports: $4.8 billion (free on board, 2000 est.)
Exports: petroleum 65%, textiles 10%, manufactured goods 10%, fruits and vegetables 7%, raw cotton 5%, live sheep 2%, phosphates 1% (1998 est.).
Export partners: Germany 21%, Italy 12%, France 10%, Saudi Arabia 9%, Turkey 8% (1999 est.).
Imports: $3.5 billion (free on board, 2000 est.)
Imports: machinery and equipment 23%, foodstuffs and animals 20%, metals and hardware 15%, textiles 10%, chemicals 10% (1998 est.).
Import partners: France 11%, Italy 8%, Germany 7%, Turkey 5%, China 4% (1999 est.).
External debt: $22 billion (2000 est.) Economic aid recipient: $199 million (1997 est.)
Economic aid donor:
Currency: Syrian pound.
Currency code: SYP.
Exchange rate: SYP/USD -46 (2000), 46 (1998), 41.9 (January 1997).
Fiscal year: calendar year.


Telecommunications Telephone lines: 1.313 million (1997).
Mobile cellular phones: no data available.
Telephone system: the mediocre system is currently being upgraded to digital equipment and fiber optic technology; internal: network of coaxial cables and microwave radio relay transmitters; international: satellite ground stations – 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) and 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region); 1 submarine cable; communication via coaxial cables and microwave radio relay transmitters with Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey; participates in the Medarabtel system.
Broadcast stations: AM -14, FM -2, shortwave – 1 (1998).
Radio receivers: 4.15 million (1997).
Television broadcast stations: 44 (and 17 repeaters) (1995).
Televisions: 1.05 million (1997)
Internet country code: sy
Internet providers: 1 (2000).
Number of users: 20,000 (2000).


Transport Railways: total: 2,750 km; with standard gauge: 2,423 km (1.435 m gauge); narrow gauge: 327 km (1.050 m gauge); note: rail link between Syria and Iraq restored in 2000 (2000).
Roads: total: 41,451 km; paved: 9,575 km (including 877 km of expressways); unpaved: 31,876 km (1999 est.)
Waterways: 870 km; are of minimal economic importance.
Pipelines: for crude oil -1,304 km; for oil products – 515 km.
Ports and harbours: Baniyas, Jabla, Latakia, Tartu p.
Merchant navy: total: 133 vessels (of 1,000 tons displacement or more) total 425,392 gross register tons / 612,097 long tons gross tonnage; ships of various types: bulk carriers – 11, cargo ships – 117, livestock ships – 4, ferries – 1 (2000 est.).
Airports: 100 (2000 est.).
Airports with paved runways: total: 24; over 3,047 m: 5; from 2438 to 3047 m: 16; from 914 to 1523 m:1; less than 914 m: 2 (2000 est.).
Airports with unpaved runways: total: 76; from 1,524 to 2,437 m: 2; from 914 to 1523 m:11; less than 914 m: 63 (2000 est.). Helipads: 2 (2000 est.).

Armed forces

Military branches: Syrian Arab Army, Syrian Arab Navy, Syrian Arab Air Force, Syrian Arab Air Force, Police and Security Forces.
Enlistment age: 19 years old.
Total Military Manpower: Male 15 to 49: 4,384,528 (2001 est.).
Eligible for military service: men aged 15 to 49: 2,448,630 (2001 est.).
Number of persons reaching military age each year: male: 200,859 (2001 est.).
Military spending in dollar terms: $921 million (2000 est.); note – official budget data, which may be underestimated.
Military spending as part of GDP: 5.9% (1998).

International Issues

International Issues International Disputes: Golan Heights occupied by Israel; a dispute with Turkey over the use of the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the upper reaches of which are in Turkey; Syrian troops have been in northern, central and eastern Lebanon since October 1976.
Illicit drugs: transit point for opiates and hashish destined for regional and western markets.

Syria Military