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Basic Facts
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)
Gevernment typerepublic under an authoritarian, military-dominated 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 1 April; ends 30 September
Flag descriptionthree equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black, colors associated with the Arab Liberation flag; two small green five-pointed stars in a horizontal line centered in the white band; former flag of the United Arab Republic where the two stars represented the constituent states of Syria and Egypt; similar to the flag of Yemen, which has a plain white band, Iraq, which has three green stars (plus an Arabic inscription) in a horizontal line centered in the white band, and that of Egypt, which has a gold Eagle of Saladin centered in the white band; the current design dates to 1980
CurrencySyrian pound (SYP)
Internet country code.sy
Ports and terminalsBaniyas, Latakia
Agriculture productswheat, barley, cotton, lentils, chickpeas, olives, sugar beets; beef, mutton, eggs, poultry, milk
Industriespetroleum, textiles, food processing, beverages, tobacco, phosphate rock mining
Geography
LocationMiddle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Lebanon and Turkey
Coordinates35 00 N, 38 00 E
ContinentMiddle East
Area total: 185,180 sq km
land: 184,050 sq km
water: 1,130 sq km
note: includes 1,295 sq km of Israeli-occupied territory
Boundaries total: 2,253 km
border countries: Iraq 605 km, Israel 76 km, Jordan 375 km, Lebanon 375 km, Turkey 822 km
Coastline193 km
Climatemostly 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
Terrainprimarily semiarid and desert plateau; narrow coastal plain; mountains in west
Natural resourcespetroleum, phosphates, chrome and manganese ores, asphalt, iron ore, rock salt, marble, gypsum, hydropower
Natural hazardsdust storms, sandstorms
People
Population18,881,361
note: in addition, about 40,000 people live in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights - 20,000 Arabs (18,000 Druze and 2,000 Alawites) and about 20,000 Israeli settlers (July 2006 est.)
Ethnic groupsArab 90.3%, Kurds, Armenians, and other 9.7%
ReligionsSunni Muslim 74%, Alawite, Druze, and other Muslim sects 16%, Christian (various sects) 10%, Jewish (tiny communities in Damascus, Al Qamishli, and Aleppo)
LanguagesArabic (official); Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic, Circassian widely understood; French, English somewhat understood

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