Overview of Syria

Overview of Syria Last updated on Monday 26th April 2010

Overview Syria

Official name

The Syrian Arab Republic


Damascus (Dimashq), population approximately 4-6 million

Main port

Lattakia on the north coast (pop. 222,500)
Second port is Tartus

Additional urban centres

Aleppo (pop. 1 million)
Homs (pop. 406,300)
Hama (pop. 190,000)

Administrative Divisions

14 provinces


16,350,000 (estimation of 2000).

Population growth

3% (estimate 2000).

Population density

84/km² (1999)

Urban Population

52% (1990-1999).

Population profile

Mainly Arab (about 90%), with Kurdish and Armenian minorities
Population density

About 63 persons per sq. km (about 164 per sq. mile)

Young people under 15 Years Old

41% (estimate 2000).

Birth Rate

31 births/1,000 population (estimation of 2000).
Death Rate

5 deaths/1,000 population (estimation of 2000)

Infant Mortality Rate

35 deaths/1,000 live births (estimation of 2000).

Life Expectancy at Birth

Total Population 68 years old: Males 67 years old, Females 70 years old (estimation of 2000).

Land area

185,180 sq. km (about 71,500 sq. miles)

Highest point

Mount Hermon, 2814 metres (9,232 feet)


Arabic (official), Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic, Circassian, French and English.


Syrian pound (local name lira) divided into 100 piastres (Qirsh).
Banknotes are in units of 5, 10, 25, 50, 100 and 500.


Republic; legislated by the People's Assembly.
Divided into 14 governorates.

Year of independence


Official religion

Islam is practiced by 86% of the population, most of which are Sunni Muslims.
Most of the rest of the population practice Christianity, in a number of varying sects.

Labour Force by Economic Sector

Agriculture 30%, Industry and Services 70% (1999).

Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

US $ 12.5 billion (1999).

GDP Growth Rate

1.5% (1999), 2% (estimate 2000).

GDP per capita

US $ 930 (1998).


Petroleum, textiles, food processing, beverages, tobacco, phosphate rock mining.

Major Trading Partners

Imports Italy, Ukraine, Turkey, South Korea, Germany, France, Japan, US. Exports Turkey, Germany, Italy, Lebanon, Spain and France.

Major Export Products

Petroleum 65%, textiles, manufactured goods, fruits and vegetables, raw cotton, live sheep, phosphates.

Major Import Products

Machinery and equipment, metal and metal products, foodstuffs/animals, textiles and chemicals.

Total oil Export Revenues

55%-60% (1999).

International dialing code


Time zone

GMT + 2 hours

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