Syrian Arab Republic
National name: Al-Jamhouriya al Arabiya As-Souriya
Government: Republic under a military regime since March 1963.
Geography:Syria lies at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea. It is bordered by Lebanon and Israel on the west, Turkey on the north, Iraq on the east, and Jordan on the south. Coastal Syria is a narrow plain, in back of which is a range of coastal mountains, and still farther inland a steppe area. In the east is the Syrian Desert, and in the south is the Jebel Druze Range. The highest point in Syria is Mount Hermon (9,232 ft; 2,814 m) on the Lebanese border.
Area: 71,498 sq mi (185,180 sq km)
Population (2003 est.): 17,585,540 (growth rate: 2.5%); birth rate: 29.5/1000; infant mortality rate: 31.7/1000; density per sq mi: 246
Capital (2003 est.): Damascus, 2,381,800 (metro. area), 1,861,900
Largest cities: Aleppo, 2,492,100 (metro. area), 1,933,700 (city proper); Homs, 751,500; Latakia, 417,100; Hama, 380,200
Monetary unit: Syrian pound
Languages: Arabic (official), French and English widely understood
Ethnicity/race: Arab 90.3%, Kurds, Armenians, and other 9.7%
Religions: Islam 90%, Christian 10%
Agriculture: wheat, barley, cotton, lentils, chickpeas, olives, sugar beets; beef, mutton, eggs, poultry, milk.
Industries: petroleum, textiles, food processing, beverages, tobacco, phosphate rock mining.
Natural resources: petroleum, phosphates, chrome and manganese ores, asphalt, iron ore, rock salt, marble, gypsum, hydropowerr.