Syria Population: 19,454,263

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 History
Following World War I, France acquired a mandate over the northern portion of the former Ottoman Empire province of Syria. The French administered the area as Syria until granting it independence in 1946. The new country lacked political stability and experienced a series of military coups. Syria united with Egypt in February 1958 to form the United Arab Republic. In September 1961, the two entities separated, and the Syrian Arab Republic was reestablished. In the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, Syria lost the Golan Heights region to Israel. During the 1990s, Syria and Israel held occasional, albeit unsuccessful, peace talks over its return. In November 1970, Hafiz al-ASAD, a member of the socialist Ba'ath Party and the minority Alawi sect, seized power in a bloodless coup and brought political stability to the country. Following the death of President Hafiz al-ASAD, his son, Bashar al-ASAD, was approved as president by popular referendum in July 2000. Syrian troops - stationed in Lebanon since 1976 in an ostensible peacekeeping role - were withdrawn in April 2005. During the July-August 2006 conflict between Israel and Hizballah, Syria placed its military forces on alert but did not intervene directly on behalf of its ally Hizballah. In May 2007, Bashar al-ASAD's second term as president was approved by popular referendum. Influenced by major uprisings that began elsewhere in the region, and compounded by additional social and economic factors, antigovernment protests broke out first in the southern province of Dar'a in March 2011 with protesters calling for the repeal of the restrictive Emergency Law allowing arrests without charge, the legalization of political parties, and the removal of corrupt local officials. Demonstrations and violent unrest spread across Syria with the size and intensity of protests fluctuating. The government responded to unrest with a mix of concessions - including the repeal of the Emergency Law, new laws permitting new political parties, and liberalizing local and national elections - and with military force and detentions. The government's efforts to quell unrest and armed opposition activity led to extended clashes and eventually civil war between government forces, their allies, and oppositionists. International pressure on the ASAD regime intensified after late 2011, as the Arab League, the EU, Turkey, and the US expanded economic sanctions against the regime and those entities that support it. In December 2012, the Syrian National Coalition, was recognized by more than 130 countries as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people. In September 2015, Russia launched a military intervention on behalf of the ASAD regime, and domestic and foreign government-aligned forces recaptured swaths of territory from opposition forces, and eventually the country’s second largest city, Aleppo, in December 2016, shifting the conflict in the regime’s favor. The regime, with this foreign support, also recaptured opposition strongholds in the Damascus suburbs and the southern province of Dar’a in 2018. The government lacks territorial control over much of the northeastern part of the country, which is dominated by the predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The SDF has expanded its territorial hold over much of the northeast since 2014 as it has captured territory from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Political negotiations between the government and opposition delegations at UN-sponsored Geneva conferences since 2014 have failed to produce a resolution of the conflict. Since early 2017, Iran, Russia, and Turkey have held separate political negotiations outside of UN auspices to attempt to reduce violence in Syria. According to an April 2016 UN estimate, the death toll among Syrian Government forces, opposition forces, and civilians was over 400,000, though other estimates placed the number well over 500,000. As of December 2018, approximately 6.2 million Syrians were internally displaced. Approximately 13 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance across the country, and an additional 5.7 million Syrians were registered refugees in Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, and North Africa. The conflict in Syria remains one of the largest humanitarian crises worldwide.

 Geography
    The capital of Damascus - located at an oasis fed by the Barada River - is thought to be one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities; there are 42 Israeli settlements and civilian land use sites in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights (2017)
Location: Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Lebanon and Turkey
Geographic coordinates: 35 00 N, 38 00 E
Area: total: 187,437 sq km
land: 185,887 sq km
water: 1,550 sq km

note: includes 1,295 sq km of Israeli-occupied territory

Size comparison: slightly more than 1.5 times the size of Pennsylvania
Land Boundaries: total: 2,343 km border countries (5): Iraq 599 km, Israel 79 km, Jordan 362 km, Lebanon 394 km, Turkey 909 km
Coastline: 193 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
Climate: mostly desert; hot, dry, sunny summers (June to August) and mild, rainy winters (December to February) along coast; cold weather with snow or sleet periodically in Damascus
Terrain: primarily semiarid and desert plateau; narrow coastal plain; mountains in west
Natural resources: petroleum, phosphates, chrome and manganese ores, asphalt, iron ore, rock salt, marble, gypsum, hydropower
Land use: agricultural land: 75.8% (2011 est.) arable land: 25.4% (2011 est.)
permanent crops: 5.8% (2011 est.) permanent pasture: 44.6% (2011 est.) forest: 2.7% (2011 est.)
other: 21.5% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land: 14,280 sq km (2012)
Natural hazards: dust storms, sandstorms volcanism: Syria's two historically active volcanoes, Es Safa and an unnamed volcano near the Turkish border have not erupted in centuries
Current Environment Issues: deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; depletion of water resources; water pollution from raw sewage and petroleum refining wastes; inadequate potable water
International Environment Agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification
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 People
Nationality: noun: Syrian(s)
adjective: Syrian
Ethnic groups: Arab ~50%, Alawite ~15%, Kurd ~10%, Levantine ~10%, other ~15% (includes Druze, Ismaili, Imami, Nusairi, Assyrian, Turkoman, Armenian)
Languages: Arabic (official), Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic, Circassian, French, English
Religions: Muslim 87% (official; includes Sunni 74% and Alawi, Ismaili, and Shia 13%), Christian 10% (includes Orthodox, Uniate, and Nestorian), Druze 3%, Jewish (few remaining in Damascus and Aleppo)

note:   the Christian population may be considerably smaller as a result of Christians fleeing the country during the ongoing civil war
Population: 19,454,263 (July 2018 est.) note: approximately 22,000 Israeli settlers live in the Golan Heights (2016)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 31.39% (male 3,132,619 /female 2,974,394)
15-24 years: 19.52% (male 1,933,185 /female 1,863,991)
25-54 years: 39.26% (male 3,807,664 /female 3,829,150)
55-64 years: 5.52% (male 531,455 /female 542,738)
65 years and over: 4.31% (male 379,360 /female 459,707) (2018 est.)
Dependency ratios: total dependency ratio: 72.8 (2015 est.)
youth dependency ratio: 65.8 (2015 est.)
elderly dependency ratio: 7 (2015 est.)
potential support ratio: 14.3 (2015 est.)
Median age: total: 24.5 years
male: 24 years
female: 25 years (2018 est.)
Population growth rate: 7.37% n/a (2018 est.)
Birth rate: 20.7 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Death rate: 4 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Net migration rate: 57 migrant(s)/1,000 population n/a (2018 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 54.2% of total population (2018)
rate of urbanization: 1.43% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major urban areas - population: 2.32 million DAMASCUS (capital)
1.754 million Aleppo
1.295 million Hims (Homs)
894,000 Hamah (2018)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2018 est.)
Maternal mortality rate: 68 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 14.4 deaths/1,000 live births male: 16.6 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 12.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 75.2 years male: 72.8 years
female: 77.8 years (2018 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.44 children born/woman (2018 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate: 53.9% (2009)
Physicians density: 1.22 physicians/1,000 population (2016)
Hospital bed density: 1.5 beds/1,000 population (2014)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 92.3% of population
rural: 87.2% of population
total: 90.1% of population

unimproved:
urban: 7.7% of population
rural: 12.8% of population
total: 9.9% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 96.2% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 95.1% of population (2015 est.)
total: 95.7% of population (2015 est.)

unimproved:
urban: 3.8% of population (2015 est.)
rural: 4.9% of population (2015 est.)
total: 4.3% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: n/a
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: n/a
HIV/AIDS - deaths: n/a
Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 27.8% (2016)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight: 10.2% (2009)
Education expenditures: 5.1% of GDP (2009)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write (2015 est.)
total population: 86.4%
male: 91.7%
female: 81% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 9 years male: 9 years female: 9 years (2013)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24: total: 35.8% male: 26.6% female: 71.1% (2011 est.)
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 Government
Country name: conventional long form: Syrian Arab Republic
conventional short form: Syria
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Arabiyah as Suriyah
local short form: Suriyah
former: United Arab Republic (with Egypt)
etymology: name ultimately derived from the ancient Assyrians who dominated northern Mesopotamia, but whose reach also extended westward to the Levant; over time, the name came to be associated more with the western area
Government type: presidential republic; highly authoritarian regime
Capital: name: Damascus
geographic coordinates: 33 30 N, 36 18 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins midnight on the last Friday in March; ends at midnight on the last Friday in October
Administrative divisions: 14 provinces (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Al Hasakah, Al Ladhiqiyah (Latakia), Al Qunaytirah, Ar Raqqah, As Suwayda', Dar'a, Dayr az Zawr, Dimashq (Damascus), Halab (Aleppo), Hamah, Hims (Homs), Idlib, Rif Dimashq (Damascus Countryside), Tartus
Independence: 17 April 1946 (from League of Nations mandate under French administration)
National holiday: Independence Day (Evacuation Day), 17 April (1946); note - celebrates the leaving of the last French troops and the proclamation of full independence
Constitution: history: several previous; latest issued 15 February 2012, passed by referendum and effective 27 February 2012 amendments: proposed by the president of the republic or by one-third of the People’s Assembly members; following review by a special Assembly committee, passage requires at least three-quarters majority vote by the Assembly and approval by the president (2016)
Legal system: mixed legal system of civil and Islamic law (for family courts)
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Bashar al-ASAD (since 17 July 2000); Vice President Najah al-ATTAR (since 23 March 2006)

head of government: Prime Minister Imad Muhammad Dib KHAMIS (since 22 June 2016); Deputy Prime Minister Walid al-MUALEM (since 23 June 2012)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president elections/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority popular vote for a 7-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 3 June 2014 (next to be held in June 2021); the president appoints the vice presidents, prime minister, and deputy prime ministers

election results: Bashar al-ASAD elected president; percent of vote - Bashar al-ASAD (Ba'th Party) 88.7%, Hassan al-NOURI (independent) 4.3%, Maher HAJJER (independent) 3.2%, other/invalid 3.8%
Legislative branch: description: unicameral People's Assembly or Majlis al-Shaab (250 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by simple majority preferential vote to serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 13 April 2016 (next to be held in 2020)

election results: percent of vote by party - NPF 80%, other 20%; seats by party - NPF 200, other 50; composition - men 217, women 33, percent of women 13.2%
Judicial branch: highest courts: Court of Cassation (organized into civil, criminal, religious, and military divisions, each with 3 judges); Supreme Constitutional Court (consists of 7 members) judge selection and term of office: Court of Cassation judges appointed by the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), a judicial management body headed by the minister of justice with 7 members, including the national president; judge tenure NA; Supreme Constitutional Court judges nominated by the president and appointed by the SJC; judges serve 4-year renewable terms

subordinate courts: courts of first instance; magistrates' courts; religious and military courts; Economic Security Court; Counterterrorism Court (established June 2012)
Political parties and leaders: legal parties/alliances: Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party [Bashar al-ASAD, regional secretary] Arab Socialist Renaissance (Ba'th) Party [President Bashar al-ASAD] Arab Socialist Union of Syria or ASU [Safwan al-QUDSI] National Progressive Front or NPF [Bashar al-ASAD, Suleiman QADDAH] (alliance includes Arab Socialist Renaissance (Ba'th) Party, Socialist Unionist Democratic Party) Socialist Unionist Democratic Party [Fadlallah Nasr al-DIN] Syrian Communist Party (two branches) [Wissal Farha BAKDASH, Yusuf Rashid FAYSAL] Syrian Social Nationalist Party or SSNP [Ali HAIDAR] Unionist Socialist Party [Fayez ISMAIL] Major Kurdish parties   Kurdish Democratic Union Party or PYD [Shahoz HASAN and Aysha HISSO] Kurdish National Council [Sa'ud MALA]   other: Syrian Democratic Party [Mustafa QALAAJI]
International organization participation: ABEDA, AFESD, AMF, CAEU, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
National symbol(s): hawk;
national colors: red, white, black, green
National anthem: name: "Humat ad-Diyar" (Guardians of the Homeland)
lyrics/music: Khalil Mardam BEY/Mohammad Salim FLAYFEL and Ahmad Salim FLAYFEL

note: adopted 1936, restored 1961; between 1958 and 1961, while Syria was a member of the United Arab Republic with Egypt, the country had a different anthem
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant)
chancery: 2215 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 232-6313
FAX: [1] (202) 234-9548 note: Embassy ceased operations and closed on 18 March 2014
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: ambassador (vacant); note - on 6 February 2012, the US closed its embassy in Damascus; Czechia serves as protecting power for US interests in Syria
embassy: Abou Roumaneh, 2 Al Mansour Street, Damascus
mailing address: P. O. Box 29, Damascus
telephone: [963] (11) 3391-4444
FAX: [963] (11) 3391-3999
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 Economy
Syria's economy has deeply deteriorated amid the ongoing conflict that began in 2011, declining by more than 70% from 2010 to 2017. The government has struggled to fully address the effects of international sanctions, widespread infrastructure damage, diminished domestic consumption and production, reduced subsidies, and high inflation, which have caused dwindling foreign exchange reserves, rising budget and trade deficits, a decreasing value of the Syrian pound, and falling household purchasing power. In 2017, some economic indicators began to stabilize, including the exchange rate and inflation, but economic activity remains depressed and GDP almost certainly fell. During 2017, the ongoing conflict and continued unrest and economic decline worsened the humanitarian crisis, necessitating high levels of international assistance, as more than 13 million people remain in need inside Syria, and the number of registered Syrian refugees increased from 4.8 million in 2016 to more than 5.4 million. Prior to the turmoil, Damascus had begun liberalizing economic policies, including cutting lending interest rates, opening private banks, consolidating multiple exchange rates, raising prices on some subsidized items, and establishing the Damascus Stock Exchange, but the economy remains highly regulated. Long-run economic constraints include foreign trade barriers, declining oil production, high unemployment, rising budget deficits, increasing pressure on water supplies caused by heavy use in agriculture, industrial contaction, water pollution, and widespread infrastructure damage.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $50.28 billion (2015 est.) $55.8 billion (2014 est.) $61.9 billion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars the war-driven deterioration of the economy resulted in a disappearance of quality national level statistics in the 2012-13 period
GDP (official exchange rate): $24.6 billion (2014 est.) (2014 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: -36.5% (2014 est.) -30.9% (2013 est.) note: data are in 2015 dollars
GDP - per capita (PPP): $2,900 (2015 est.) $3,300 (2014 est.) $2,800 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars
Gross national saving: 17% of GDP (2017 est.) 15.3% of GDP (2016 est.) 16.1% of GDP (2015 est.) GDP - composition, by end use: household consumption: 73.1% (2017 est.) government consumption: 26% (2017 est.) investment in fixed capital: 18.6% (2017 est.) investment in inventories: 12.3% (2017 est.) exports of goods and services: 16.1% (2017 est.) imports of goods and services: -46.1% (2017 est.) GDP - composition, by sector of origin: agriculture: 20% (2017 est.) industry: 19.5% (2017 est.) services: 60.8% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - products: wheat, barley, cotton, lentils, chickpeas, olives, sugar beets; beef, mutton, eggs, poultry, milk
Industries: petroleum, textiles, food processing, beverages, tobacco, phosphate rock mining, cement, oil seeds crushing, automobile assembly
Industrial production growth rate: 4.3% (2017 est.)
Labor force: 3.767 million (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 17%
industry: 16%
services: 67% (2008 est.)
Unemployment rate: 50% (2017 est.) 50% (2016 est.)
Population below poverty line: 82.5% (2014 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: n/a
highest 10%: n/a
Budget: revenues: 1.162 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 3.211 billion (2017 est.)

note: government projections for FY2016
Taxes and other revenues: 4.2% (of GDP) (2017 est.) Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-): -8.7% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Public debt: 94.8% of GDP (2017 est.) 91.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 28.1% (2017 est.) 47.3% (2016 est.)
Current account balance: -$2.123 billion (2017 est.) -$2.077 billion (2016 est.)
Exports: $1.85 billion (2017 est.) $1.705 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commodities: crude oil, minerals, petroleum products, fruits and vegetables, cotton fiber, textiles, clothing, meat and live animals, wheat
Exports - partners: Lebanon 31.5%, Iraq 10.3%, Jordan 8.8%, China 7.8%, Turkey 7.5%, Spain 7.3% (2017)
Imports: $6.279 billion (2017 est.) $5.496 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery and transport equipment, electric power machinery, food and livestock, metal and metal products, chemicals and chemical products, plastics, yarn, paper
Imports - partners: Russia 32.4%, Turkey 16.7%, China 9.5% (2017)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $407.3 million (31 December 2017 est.) $504.6 million (31 December 2016 est.)
Debt - external: $4.989 billion (31 December 2017 est.) $5.085 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: n/a
Exchange rates: Syrian pounds (SYP) per US dollar - 514.6 (2017 est.) 459.2 (2016 est.) 459.2 (2015 est.) 236.41 (2014 est.) 153.695 (2013 est.)
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 Energy
Electricity - production: 17.07 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - consumption: 14.16 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - exports: 262 million kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 9.058 million kW (2016 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 83% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 17% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Crude oil - production: 14,000 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 87,660 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 2.5 billion bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production: 111,600 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 134,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 12,520 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 38,080 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Natural gas - production: 3.738 billion cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 3.738 billion cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 240.7 billion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 27.51 million Mt (2017 est.)
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 Communications
Cellular Phones in use: total subscriptions: 15.65 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 87 (2017 est.)
Telephone system: general assessment: the armed insurgency that began in 2011 has led to major disruptions to the network and has caused telephone and Internet outages throughout the country; 2018 saw some stabilizing; telecoms have become decentralized with expensive satellite communications in the country; fairly high mobile penetration; potential for growth given that subscription numbers are low (2018)

domestic: the number of fixed-line connections increased markedly prior to the civil war in 2011 and now stands at 15 per 100; mobile-cellular service stands at about 87 per 100 persons (2018)

international: country code - 963; submarine cable connection to Egypt, Lebanon, and Cyprus; satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) and 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region); coaxial cable and microwave radio relay to Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey; participant in Medarabtel (2016)
Broadcast media: state-run TV and radio broadcast networks; state operates 2 TV networks and a satellite channel; roughly two-thirds of Syrian homes have a satellite dish providing access to foreign TV broadcasts; 3 state-run radio channels; first private radio station launched in 2005; private radio broadcasters prohibited from transmitting news or political content
Internet country code: .sy
Internet users: total: 5,476,850
percent of population: 31.9% (July 2016 est.)
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 Transportation
Airports: 90 (2013)
Airports (paved runways): total 29
(2013) over 3,047 m: 5 (2013)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 16 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2013)
under 914 m: 5 (2013)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 61
(2013)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 12 (2013)
under 914 m: 48 (2013)
Heliports: 6 (2013)
Pipelines: 3170 km gas, 2029 km oil (2013)
Railways: total 2,052 km
(2014) standard gauge: 1,801 km 1.435-m gauge (2014)
narrow gauge: 251 km 1.050-m gauge (2014)
Roadways: total 69,873 km
(2010) paved: 63,060 km (2010)
unpaved: 6,813 km (2010)
Waterways: 900 km (navigable but not economically significant) (2011)
Merchant marine: total 21

by type: bulk carrier 1, general cargo 7, other 13 (2018)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Baniyas, Latakia, Tartus
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 Military
Military branches: Syrian Armed Forces: Land Forces, Naval Forces, Air Forces (includes Air Defense Forces), Intelligence Services (Air Force Intelligence, Military Intelligence); Ministry of Interior: Political Security Directorate, General Intelligence Directorate, National Police Force (2018)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation is 18 months; women are not conscripted but may volunteer to serve (2017)
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 Transnational Issues
Disputes - International: Golan Heights is Israeli-controlled with an 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 would settle border dispute with Jordan
Refugees and internally displaced persons: refugees (country of origin): 15,699 (Iraq) (2018); 560,139 (Palestinian Refugees) (2019) IDPs: 6.2 million (ongoing civil war since 2011) (2019)
stateless persons: 160,000 (2018); note - Syria's stateless population consists of Kurds and Palestinians; stateless persons are prevented from voting, owning land, holding certain jobs, receiving food subsidies or public healthcare, enrolling in public schools, or being legally married to Syrian citizens; in 1962, some 120,000 Syrian Kurds were stripped of their Syrian citizenship, rendering them and their descendants stateless; in 2011, the Syrian Government granted citizenship to thousands of Syrian Kurds as a means of appeasement; however, resolving the question of statelessness is not a priority given Syria's ongoing civil war note: the ongoing civil war has resulted in approximately 5.6 million registered Syrian refugees - dispersed in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey - as of August 2019
Illicit drugs: a transit point for opiates, hashish, and cocaine bound for regional and Western markets; weak anti-money-laundering controls and bank privatization may leave it vulnerable to money laundering
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