Syria - HowStuffWorks

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Country (long form) Syrian Arab Republic
Capital Damascus
Total Area 71,498 sq mi
185,180.00 sq km
(slightly larger than North Dakota)
Population 16,728,808 (July 2001 est.)
note: in addition, there are about 38,200 people living in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights - 18,200 Arabs (16,500 Druze and 1,700 Alawites) and about 20,000 Israeli settlers
Estimated Population in 2050 34,437,235
Languages Arabic (official); Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic, Circassian widely understood; French, English somewhat understood
Literacy 70.8% total, 85.7% male, 55.8% female (1997 est.)
Religions Sunni Muslim 74%, Alawite, Druze, and other Muslim sects 16%, Christian (various sects) 10%, Jewish (tiny communities in Damascus, Al Qamishli, and Aleppo)
Life Expectancy 67.63 male, 69.98 female (2001 est.)
Government Type republic under military regime since March 1963
Currency 1 Syrian pound = 100 piastres
GDP (per capita) $3,100 (2000 est.)
Industry petroleum, textiles, food processing, beverages, tobacco, phosphate rock mining
Agriculture wheat, barley, cotton, lentils, chickpeas, olives, sugar beets; beef, mutton, eggs, poultry, milk
Arable Land 28%
Natural Resources petroleum, phosphates, chrome and manganese ores, asphalt, iron ore, rock salt, marble, gypsum, hydropower
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Geography of Syria

Syria, or Syrian Arab Republic, one of the countries of the Middle East in southwestern Asia.

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History of Syria

As a historical region, Syria had no set boundaries. It consisted generally of the fertile western area of the modern country, present Lebanon, and a slight extension into Turkey.