Syria | Facts & Information

Updated September 9, 2022 | Infoplease Staff
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Facts & Figures

  • President: Bashar al-Assad (2000)

    Prime Minister: Riyad Farid Hijab (2012)

    Land area: 71,062 sq mi (184,051 sq km); total area: 71,498 sq mi (185,180 sq km)

    Population (2014 est.): 17,951,639 (growth rate: -9.73%); birth rate: 22.76/1000; infant mortality rate: 15.79/1000; life expectancy: 68.41; density per sq mi: 306.5

    Capital (2011 est.): Damascus, 2.65 million

    Other large cities: Aleppo, 3.164 million; Hims, 1.369 million; Hamah, 933,000

    Monetary unit: Syrian pound

    National name: Al-Jumhuriyah al-'Arabiyah as-Suriyah

    Current government officials

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

    Ethnicity/race: Arab 90.3%, Kurds, Armenians, and other 9.7%

    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)

    Literacy rate: 84.1% (2011 est.)

    Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2011 est.): $107.6 billion; per capita $5,100. Real growth rate: -2.3%. Inflation: 59.1% (2013 est.). Unemployment: 17.8% (2013 est.). Arable land: 24.9%. Agriculture: wheat, barley, cotton, lentils, chickpeas, olives, sugar beets; beef, mutton, eggs, poultry, milk. Labor force: 5.014 million (2013 est.); agriculture 17%, industry 16%, services 67% (2008 est.). Industries: petroleum, textiles, food processing, beverages, tobacco, phosphate rock mining, cement, oil seeds crushing, automobile assembly. Natural resources: petroleum, phosphates, chrome and manganese ores, asphalt, iron ore, rock salt, marble, gypsum, hydropower. Exports: $2.675 billion (2013 est.): crude oil, minerals, petroleum products, fruits and vegetables, cotton fiber, textiles, clothing, meat and live animals, wheat. Imports: $8.917 billion (2013 est.): machinery and transport equipment, electric power machinery, food and livestock, metal and metal products, chemicals and chemical products, plastics, yarn, paper. Major trading partners: Iraq, Saudi Arabia, China, Kuwait, Iran, UAE, Libya (2012).

    Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 4.425 million (2012); mobile cellular: 12.928 million (2012) Radio broadcast stations: AM 14, FM 2, shortwave 1 (2007). Radios: 4.15 million (1997). Television broadcast stations: 44 (plus 17 repeaters) (1995). Televisions: 1.05 million (1997). Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 416 (2012). Internet users: 4.469 million (2009).

    Transportation: Railways: total: 2,052 km (2008). Highways: total: 69,873 km; paved: 63,060 km (including 1,103 km of expressways); unpaved: 6,813 km (2010). Waterways: 900 km; minimal economic importance. Ports and harbors: Baniyas, Latakia, Tartus. Airports: 90 (2013).

    International disputes: 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.

    Major sources and definitions