Syria Population: 22,457,336

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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, however, and experienced a series of military coups during its first decades. 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 November 1970, Hafiz al-ASAD, a member of the socialist Ba'th Party and the minority Alawi sect, seized power in a bloodless coup and brought political stability to the country. In the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, Syria lost the Golan Heights to Israel. During the 1990s, Syria and Israel held occasional peace talks over its return. Following the death of President 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 Syrian troops - stationed in Lebanon since 1976 in an ostensible peacekeeping role - were withdrawn in April 2005.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, antigovernment protests broke out 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. Since then demonstrations and unrest have spread to nearly every city in Syria, but the size and intensity of protests have fluctuated over time. The government responded to unrest with a mix of concessions - including the repeal of the Emergency Law and approving new laws permitting new political parties and liberalizing local and national elections - and force. However, the government's response has failed to meet opposition demands for ASAD to step down, and the government's ongoing security operations to quell unrest and widespread armed opposition activity have led to extended violent clashes between government forces and oppositionists. International pressure on the ASAD regime has intensified since late 2011, as the Arab League, EU, Turkey, and the United States have expanded economic sanctions against the regime. Lakhdar BRAHIMI, current Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States on the Syrian crisis, in October 2012 began meeting with regional heads of state to assist in brokering a cease-fire. In December 2012, the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces was recognized by more than 130 countries as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people. Unrest persists in 2013, and the death toll among Syrian Government forces, opposition forces, and civilians has topped 100,000.

 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 41 Israeli settlements and civilian land use sites in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights (2010 est.)
Location: Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Lebanon and Turkey
Geographic coordinates: 35 00 N, 38 00 E
Area: total: 185,180 sq km
land: 183,630 sq km
water: 1,550 sq km

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

Size comparison: slightly larger than North Dakota
Land Boundaries: total: 2,253 km
border countries: Iraq 605 km, Israel 76 km, Jordan 375 km, Lebanon 375 km, Turkey 822 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
Elevation extremes: lowest point: unnamed location near Lake Tiberias -200 m
highest point: Mount Hermon 2,814 m
Natural resources: petroleum, phosphates, chrome and manganese ores, asphalt, iron ore, rock salt, marble, gypsum, hydropower
Land use: arable land: 24.9%
permanent crops: 5.69%
other: 69.41% (2011)
Irrigated land: 13,410 sq km (2010)
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; 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 90.3%, Kurds, Armenians, and other 9.7%
Languages: Arabic (official), Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic, Circassian (widely understood); French, English (somewhat understood)
Religions: Sunni Muslim (Islam - official) 74%, other Muslim (includes Alawite, Druze) 16%, Christian (various denominations) 10%, Jewish (tiny communities in Damascus, Al Qamishli, and Aleppo)
Population: 22,457,336 (July 2013 est.) note: approximately 18,700 Israeli settlers live in the Golan Heights (2011)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 33.9% (male 3,900,073/female 3,707,117)
15-24 years: 20.8% (male 2,387,006/female 2,285,496)
25-54 years: 36.9% (male 4,214,621/female 4,075,181)
55-64 years: 4.6% (male 504,422/female 517,413)
65 years and over: 3.9% (male 395,806/female 470,201) (2013 est.)
Dependency ratios: total dependency ratio: 64.3 %
youth dependency ratio: 57.7 %
elderly dependency ratio: 6.7 %
potential support ratio: 15 (2013)
Median age: total: 22.7 years
male: 22.5 years
female: 22.9 years (2013 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.15% (2013 est.)
Birth rate: 23.01 births/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Death rate: 3.67 deaths/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Net migration rate: -17.89 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2013 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 56.1% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 2.36% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - population: Aleppo 2.985 million; DAMASCUS (capital) 2.527 million; Hims 1.276 million; Hamah 854,000 (2009)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/female
total population: 1.03 male(s)/female (2013 est.)
Maternal mortality rate: 70 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
Infant mortality rate: total: 14.63 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 16.83 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 12.31 deaths/1,000 live births (2013 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 75.14 years
male: 72.74 years
female: 77.69 years (2013 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.77 children born/woman (2013 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate: 58.3% (2006)
Health expenditures: 3.4% of GDP (2010)
Physicians density: 1.5 physicians/1,000 population (2008)
Hospital bed density: 1.5 beds/1,000 population (2010)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 93% of population
rural: 86% of population
total: 90% of population

unimproved:
urban: 7% of population
rural: 14% of population
total: 10% of population (2010 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 96% of population
rural: 93% of population
total: 95% of population

unimproved:
urban: 4% of population
rural: 7% of population
total: 5% of population (2010 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: less than 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: fewer than 500 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: fewer than 200 (2003 est.)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 27.1% (2008)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight: 10.1% (2009)
Education expenditures: 5.1% of GDP (2009)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 84.1%
male: 90.3%
female: 77.7% (2011 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 11 years
male: 12 years
female: 11 years (2007)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24: total: 19.2%
male: 15.3%
female: 40.2% (2010)
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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)
Government type: republic under an 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 first Friday in November
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, 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, 17 April (1946)
Constitution: 13 March 1973; amended February 2012
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 Farouk al-SHARA (since 21 February 2006); Vice President Najah al-ATTAR (since 23 March 2006)

head of government: Prime Minister Wael al-HALQI (since 9 August 2012); Deputy Prime Ministers Fahd Jasim al-FURAYJ, Lt. Gen., Walid al-MUALEM

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president; note - new Council appointed on 14 April 2011 (For more information visit the World Leaders website )

elections: president approved by popular referendum for a second seven-year term (no term limits); referendum last held on 27 May 2007 (next to be held in May 2014); the president appoints the vice presidents, prime minister, and deputy prime ministers

election results: Bashar al-ASAD approved as president; percent of vote - Bashar al-ASAD 97.6%, other 2.4%
Legislative branch: unicameral People's Assembly or Majlis al-Shaab (250 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)

elections: last held on 7 May 2012 (next to be held in 2016)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA
Judicial branch: highest court(s): Court of Cassation (organized into civil, criminal, religious, and military divisions, each with 3 judges); Supreme Constitutional Court (consists of 4 members) judge selection and term of office: Court of Cassation judges appointed by the Supreme Judicial Council or 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 appointed for 4-year renewable terms

subordinate courts: courts of first instance; magistrates' courts; religious and military courts; Economic Security Court
Political parties and leaders: legal parties: National Progressive Front or NPF [President Bashar al-ASAD, Dr. Suleiman QADDAH] (includes Arab Socialist Renaissance (Ba'th) Party [President Bashar al-ASAD] Socialist Unionist Democratic Party [Fadlallah Nasr al-DIN] Syrian Arab Socialist Union or ASU [Safwan al-QUDSI] Syrian Communist Party (two branches) [Wissal Farha BAKDASH, Yusuf Rashid FAYSAL] Syrian Social Nationalist Party [As'ad HARDAN] Unionist Socialist Party [Fayez ISMAIL]) Kurdish parties (considered illegal): Kurdish Azadi Party Kurdish Democratic Accord Party (al Wifaq) Kurdish Democratic Party (al Parti-Ibrahim wing) Kurdish Democratic Party (al Parti-Mustafa wing) Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria or KDP-S Kurdish Democratic Patriotic/National Party Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party or KDPP-Darwish Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party or KDPP-Muhammad Kurdish Democratic Union Party or PYD [Salih Muslim MOHAMMAD] Kurdish Democratic Unity Party Kurdish Democratic Yekiti Party Kurdish Future Party or KFP Kurdish Future Party [Rezan HASSAN] Kurdish Left Party Kurdish Yekiti (Union) Party Syrian Kurdish Democratic Party other parties: Syrian Democratic Party [Mustafa QALAAJI]
Political pressure groups and leaders: Free Syrian Army National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Oppositon Forces or Syrian Oppositon Coalition [Mu'aaz al-KHATIB] (operates in exile in Cairo) Syrian Muslim Brotherhood or SMB [Muhammad Riyad al-SHAQFAH] (operates in exile in London) note: there are also hundreds of local groups that organize protests and stage armed attacks
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, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
National symbol(s): hawk
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); Charge d'Affaires Mounir KOUDMANI
chancery: 2215 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 232-6313
FAX: [1] (202) 265-4585
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Robert S. FORD; note - on 6 February 2012, the US closed its embassy in Damascus
embassy: Abou Roumaneh, Al-Mansour Street, No. 2, Damascus mailing address: P. O. Box 29, Damascus
telephone: [963] (11) 3391-4444
FAX: [963] (11) 3391-3999
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 Economy
Despite modest economic growth and reform prior to the outbreak of unrest, Syria's economy continues to suffer the effects of the ongoing conflict that began in 2011. The economy further contracted in 2012 because of international sanctions and reduced domestic consumption and production, and inflation has risen sharply. The government has struggled to address the effects of economic decline, which include dwindling foreign exchange reserves, rising budget and trade deficits, and the decreasing value of the Syrian pound. Prior to the unrest, Damascus began 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. The economy remains highly regulated by the government. Long-run economic constraints include foreign trade barriers, declining oil production, high unemployment, rising budget deficits, and increasing pressure on water supplies caused by heavy use in agriculture, rapid population growth, industrial expansion, and water pollution.
GDP (purchasing power parity): GDP (purchasing power parity): $107.6 billion (2011 est.) $110.1 billion (2010 est.) $113.9 billion (2010 est.)

note: data are in 2011 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): GDP (official exchange rate): $64.7 billion (2011 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: NA% (2012 est.) -2.3% (2011 est.) 3.4% (2010 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): GDP - per capita (PPP): $5,100 (2011 est.) $5,100 (2010 est.) $5,300 (2010 est.)

note: data are in 2011 US dollars
Gross national saving: 12.5% of GDP (2012 est.) 15% of GDP (2011 est.) 26.1% of GDP (2010 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use: household consumption: 69.4%
government consumption: 17.2%
investment in fixed capital: 20.5%
investment in inventories: 8.4%
exports of goods and services: 13.9%
imports of goods and services: -29.4% (2012 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of origin: household consumption: 69.4%
government consumption: 17.2%
investment in fixed capital: 20.5%
investment in inventories: 8.4%
exports of goods and services: 13.9%
imports of goods and services: -29.4% (2012 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, car assembly
Industrial production growth rate: -36% (2012 est.)
Labor force: 5.327 million (2012 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 17%
industry: 16%
services: 67% (2008 est.)
Unemployment rate: 18% (2012 est.) 14.9% (2011 est.)
Population below poverty line: 11.9% (2006 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Budget: revenues: $5.222 billion
expenditures: $12.59 billion (2012 est.)
Taxes and other revenues: 8.1% of GDP (2012 est.)
Public debt: 52.2% of GDP (2012 est.) 35.2% of GDP (2011 est.)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices): Inflation rate (consumer prices): 37% (2012 est.) 4.8% (2011 est.)
Current account balance: -$5.103 billion (2012 est.) -$7.726 billion (2011 est.)
Exports: $3.876 billion (2012 est.) $10.29 billion (2011 est.)
Exports - commodities: crude oil, minerals, petroleum products, fruits and vegetables, cotton fiber, textiles, clothing, meat and live animals, wheat
Exports - partners: Iraq 55.9%, Saudi Arabia 9.3%, Kuwait 6.1%, UAE 5.3%, Lebanon 4.2% (2012)
Imports: $10.78 billion (2012 est.) $17.6 billion (2011 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: Saudi Arabia 21.2%, UAE 10.4%, Iran 7.7%, China 7%, Iraq 6.3%, Ukraine 6.3%, Egypt 4.3% (2012)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $4.774 billion (31 December 2012 est.) $14.83 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
Debt - external: $8.33 billion (31 December 2012 est.) $8.196 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $NA
Exchange rates: Syrian pounds (SYP) per US dollar - 64.3919 (2012 est.) 48.371 (2011 est.) 11.225 (2010 est.) 46.708 (2009) 46.5281 (2008)
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 Energy
Electricity - production: 40.86 billion kWh (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 57
Electricity - consumption: 28.87 billion kWh (2009 est.)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2010 est.)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2010 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 8.2 million kW (2009 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 84.8% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 15.2% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 0% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
Crude oil - production: 333,900 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 144,000 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 2.183 billion bbl (1 January 2012 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production: 255,600 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 258,800 bbl/day (2011 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 14,540 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 58,160 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Natural gas - production: 8.94 billion cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 9.63 billion cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 690 million cu m (2010 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 240.7 billion cu m (1 January 2012 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 63.1 million Mt (2010 est.)
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 Communications
Telephones in use: 4.345 million (2011)
country comparison to the world: 37
Cellular Phones in use: 13.117 million (2011)
Telephone system: general assessment: fair system currently undergoing significant improvement and digital upgrades, including fiber-optic technology and expansion of the network to rural areas; 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

domestic: the number of fixed-line connections has increased markedly since 2000; mobile-cellular service growing with telephone subscribership nearly 60 per 100 persons in 2011

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 (2011)
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 (2007)
Internet country code: .sy
Internet hosts: 416 (2012)
Internet users: 4.469 million (2009)
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 Transportation
Airports: 90 (2013)
country comparison to the world: 62
Airports (paved runways): total 29
over 3,047 m: 5
2,438 to 3,047 m: 16
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 5 (2013)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 61

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 12
under 914 m: 48 (2013)
Heliports: 6 (2013)
Pipelines: gas 3,170 km; oil 2,029 km (2013)
Railways: total 2,052 km
standard gauge: 1,801 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 251 km 1.050-m gauge (2008)
Roadways: total 68,157 km
paved: 61,514 km (includes 1,103 km of expressways)
unpaved: 6,643 km (2006)
Waterways: 900 km (navigable but not economically significant) (2011)
Merchant marine: total 19

by type: bulk carrier 4, cargo 14, carrier 1

registered in other countries: 166 (Barbados 1, Belize 4, Bolivia 4, Cambodia 22, Comoros 5, Dominica 4, Georgia 24, Lebanon 2, Liberia 1, Malta 4, Moldova 5, North Korea 4, Panama 34, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 9, Sierra Leone 13, Tanzania 23, Togo 6, unknown 1) (2010)
Ports and terminals: Baniyas, Latakia, Tartus
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 Military
Military branches: Syrian Armed Forces: Syrian Arab Army, Syrian Arab Navy, Syrian Arab Air and Air Defense Forces (includes Air Defense Command) (2008)
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; re-enlistment obligation 5 years, with retirement after 15 years or age 40 (enlisted) or 20 years or age 45 (NCOs) (2012)
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 5,889,837
females age 16-49: 5,660,751 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 5,055,510
females age 16-49: 4,884,151 (2010 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually: male: 256,698
female: 244,712 (2010 est.)
Military expenditures: 3.6% of GDP (2011)
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 Transnational Issues
Disputes - International: 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
Refugees and internally displaced persons: refugees (country of origin): 486,946 (Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA)); 87,741 (Iraq) (2012) IDPs: 4.25 million (ongoing civil war since 2011) (2012)
stateless persons: 221,000 (2012); note - Syria's stateless population is composed 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
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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Source: CIA - The World Factbook
 

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