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Syria - Country facts

Map

Small map of Syria
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Flag

Country flag: Syria

Capital

Damascus

Currency

Syrian pound (SYP)

Internet Code

.sy

Location

Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Lebanon and Turkey

Background

Following the breakup of the Ottoman Empire during World War I, Syria was administered by the French until independence in 1946. In the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, Syria lost the Golan Heights to Israel. Since 1976, Syrian troops have been stationed in Lebanon, ostensibly in a peacekeeping capacity. Over the past decade, Syria and Israel have held occasional peace talks over the return of the Golan Heights.

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

Population

18,448,752
note: in addition, about 40,000 people live in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights - 20,000 Arabs (18,0

Ethnic Groups

Arab 90.3%, Kurds, Armenians, and other 9.7%

Religions

Sunni Muslim 74%, Alawite, Druze, and other Muslim sects 16%, Christian (various sects) 10%, Jewish (tiny communities in Damascus, Al Qamishli, and Aleppo)

Languages

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

Map of Syria

Large map of Syria
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