Syria. Officially “Syrian Arab Republic”. Country of the Middle East which limits the south with Israel and Jordan, to the west with Lebanon and the Mediterranean, to the north with Turkey and to the east with Iraq. Its capital is Damascus. Most of the population profess Islam, with Sunnism being the majority Muslim group.
Syria was established as a modern state after World War One under French rule, gaining independence in April of 1946, after which several military coups followed until 1971. In that year Hafez al-Assad, a member of the Baath Party, became president. Upon his death in 2000, his son Bashar al-Assad assumed the presidency.
From the 15 of March of 2011 the whole country was involved in a wave of protests by part of the population demanding political reform, reforms that were approved by President Bashar Assad A. Despite all this, the protests – with the support of some Arab countries close to the US – continued to generate a wave of violence that caused the death of hundreds of civilians and soldiers.
According to militarynous, the name Syria comes from various ancient Greek names, which the Greeks applied interchangeably to the Assyrians. Although several theories exist, the discovery of the Çineköy inscription in 2000 seems to support the theory that the Syrian term is derived from Assyria.
In the country there are three regions, from west to east: in the west there is a coastal plain, separated from the interior by the Yabal Ansariyya, a double mountain range in which various valleys open up; The center of the country is formed by a rugged plateau with several volcanic peaks that is crossed from northeast to southwest by a mountain range in which various formations are distinguished: Yabal Abd al-Aziz, Yabal Visir, Yabal Buwayda, Yabal Saar, Yabal al Sarqi and Yabal Garbi; the eastern region is made up of the Euphrates valley, here is the main river, (of the same name of the valley) that crosses the country, penetrating from the north and take a southeastern direction; its tributary Jabur and the Orontes in the west are also important. In the extreme northeast the border with Turkey is formed by the course of the Tigris. In the western part of the country the climate is Mediterranean, but as you move east it becomes drier and hotter. From south to north, in the western third of the country, the Orontes River flows.
The population is concentrated in the territories located in the west; the vegetative growth rate is very high. Regarding the economy, the country is developing, although since 1973, and due to political problems that have made it allocate part of its budget to military spending, inflation has slowed this progress.
The biomes present in Syria are, from northwest to southeast, the Mediterranean forest, the prairie and the desert. The Mediterranean forest is represented, according to WWF, by two ecoregions, depending on the altitude: the eastern Mediterranean forest in the lowlands, and the southern Anatolian montane forest in the mountainous areas; while the prairie and the desert correspond respectively to the ecoregions called Middle Eastern steppe and Mesopotamian shrub desert.
The Syrian population is mostly of Arab origin (90.3%), although in the north of the country there are Kurdish, Armenian, Assyrian and Turkish minorities, each with its own language. In addition, thousands of Palestinians are scattered throughout the Syrian territory.
The population is concentrated in three geographical areas: the coastal strip and its nearby landforms, along the course of the Euphrates River and on the northern border with Turkey. 51.8% of Syrians live in urban centers. The growth of the industrial sector and the rural exodus have led to rapid development of cities.
The most populous is the capital Damascus, located on the eastern slopes of the Antillean Mountains. They are followed in importance by Aleppo, in the northwest of the country; Homs and Harna, on the banks of the Orontes river; and Latakia, on the Mediterranean coast.
Although it has moderated, the Syrian population pyramid still shows a young structure: 38.6% of the residents are under 15 years of age. This phenomenon is due to a fertility of 3.32 children per woman, which places the annual growth of the population over 2.4%. If this demographic behavior persists, Syria will double the total number of its residents in less than thirty years.
Syria has 14 provinces, or governorates muhafazat (singular: muhafazah), divided into 60 districts, manatiq (sing. Mintaqah), which in turn are subdivided into sub-districts, or nawahi (sing. Nahia). The Nawahi are made up of villages or cities, which are the smallest administrative units: Damascus (Arabic: دمشق), Rif Dimashq (ریف دمشق), Al Qunaytirah (مُحافظة القنيطرة), Dar’a (مُحافظة Suدرwayعا), As Sweida مُحافظة السويداء), Homs (مُحافظة حمص), Tartus (Arabic: مُحافظة طرطوس), Al Ladhiqiyah or Latakia (مُحافظة اللاذقية), Hamaحفظة الحامامامامام, محافظة اللاذقية), Hamaحفظة محاب Ar Raqqah (مُحافظة الرقة), Dayr az Zawr (مُحافظة دير الزور), Al-Hasakah (مُحافظة الحسكة, in Kurdish: حسكة)