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3 definitions found
 for Syria
From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

      n 1: an Asian republic in the Middle East at the east end of the
           Mediterranean; site of some of the world's most ancient
           centers of civilization [syn: Syria, Syrian Arab

From Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary :

     (Heb. Aram), the name in the Old Testament given to the whole
     country which lay to the north-east of Phoenicia, extending to
     beyond the Euphrates and the Tigris. Mesopotamia is called (Gen.
     24:10; Deut. 23:4) Aram-naharain (=Syria of the two rivers),
     also Padan-aram (Gen. 25:20). Other portions of Syria were also
     known by separate names, as Aram-maahah (1 Chr. 19:6),
     Aram-beth-rehob (2 Sam. 10:6), Aram-zobah (2 Sam. 10:6, 8). All
     these separate little kingdoms afterwards became subject to
     Damascus. In the time of the Romans, Syria included also a part
     of Palestine and Asia Minor.
       "From the historic annals now accessible to us, the history of
     Syria may be divided into three periods: The first, the period
     when the power of the Pharaohs was dominant over the fertile
     fields or plains of Syria and the merchant cities of Tyre and
     Sidon, and when such mighty conquerors as Thothmes III. and
     Rameses II. could claim dominion and levy tribute from the
     nations from the banks of the Euphrates to the borders of the
     Libyan desert. Second, this was followed by a short period of
     independence, when the Jewish nation in the south was growing in
     power, until it reached its early zenith in the golden days of
     Solomon; and when Tyre and Sidon were rich cities, sending their
     traders far and wide, over land and sea, as missionaries of
     civilization, while in the north the confederate tribes of the
     Hittites held back the armies of the kings of Assyria. The
     third, and to us most interesting, period is that during which
     the kings of Assyria were dominant over the plains of Syria;
     when Tyre, Sidon, Ashdod, and Jerusalem bowed beneath the
     conquering armies of Shalmaneser, Sargon, and Sennacherib; and
     when at last Memphis and Thebes yielded to the power of the
     rulers of Nineveh and Babylon, and the kings of Assyria
     completed with terrible fulness the bruising of the reed of
     Egypt so clearly foretold by the Hebrew prophets.", Boscawen.

From CIA World Factbook 2002 :

     Introduction Syria
                              Background: Following the breakup of the Ottoman
                                          Empire during World War I, Syria was
                                          administered by the French until
                                          independence in 1946. In the 1967
                                          Arab-Israeli War, Syria lost the
                                          Golan Heights to Israel. Since 1976,
                                          Syrian troops have been stationed in
                                          Lebanon, ostensibly in a
                                          peacekeeping capacity. In recent
                                          years, Syria and Israel have held
                                          occasional peace talks over the
                                          return of the Golan Heights.
     Geography Syria
                                Location: Middle East, bordering the
                                          Mediterranean Sea, between Lebanon
                                          and Turkey
                  Geographic coordinates: 35 00 N, 38 00 E
                          Map references: Middle East
                                    Area: total: 185,180 sq km
                                          note: includes 1,295 sq km of
                                          Israeli-occupied territory
                                          water: 1,130 sq km
                                          land: 184,050 sq km
                      Area - comparative: 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: contiguous zone: 41 NM
                                          territorial sea: 35 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,
                                Land use: arable land: 25.96%
                                          permanent crops: 4.08%
                                          other: 69.96% (1998 est.)
                          Irrigated land: 12,130 sq km (1998 est.)
                         Natural hazards: dust storms, sandstorms
            Environment - current issues: deforestation; overgrazing; soil
                                          erosion; desertification; water
                                          pollution from raw sewage and
                                          petroleum refining wastes;
                                          inadequate potable water
              Environment - international party to: Biodiversity, Climate
                              agreements: Change, Desertification, Hazardous
                                          Wastes, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone
                                          Layer Protection, Ship Pollution,
                                          signed, but not ratified:
                                          Environmental Modification
                        Geography - note: there are 42 Israeli settlements and
                                          civilian land use sites in the
                                          Israeli-occupied Golan Heights
                                          (August 2001 est.)
     People Syria
                              Population: 17,155,814 (July 2002 est.)
                                          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 (August 2001
                           Age structure: 0-14 years: 39.3% (male 3,467,267;
                                          female 3,264,639)
                                          15-64 years: 57.5% (male 5,052,841;
                                          female 4,817,662)
                                          65 years and over: 3.2% (male
                                          267,803; female 285,602) (2002 est.)
                  Population growth rate: 2.5% (2002 est.)
                              Birth rate: 30.11 births/1,000 population (2002
                              Death rate: 5.12 deaths/1,000 population (2002
                      Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002
                               Sex ratio: at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
                                          under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
                                          15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
                                          65 years and over: 0.94 male(s)/
                                          total population: 1.05 male(s)/
                                          female (2002 est.)
                   Infant mortality rate: 32.73 deaths/1,000 live births (2002
                Life expectancy at birth: total population: 69.08 years
                                          female: 70.32 years (2002 est.)
                                          male: 67.9 years
                    Total fertility rate: 3.84 children born/woman (2002 est.)
        HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.01% (1999 est.)
       HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ NA
                       HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
                             Nationality: noun: Syrian(s)
                                          adjective: Syrian
                           Ethnic groups: Arab 90.3%, Kurds, Armenians, and
                                          other 9.7%
                               Religions: Sunni Muslim 74%, Alawite, Druze,
                                          and other Muslim sects 16%,
                                          Christian (various sects) 10%,
                                          Jewish (tiny communities in
                                          Damascus, Al Qamishli, and Aleppo)
                               Languages: Arabic (official); Kurdish,
                                          Armenian, Aramaic, Circassian widely
                                          understood; French, English somewhat
                                Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read
                                          and write
                                          total population: 70.8%
                                          male: 85.7%
                                          female: 55.8% (1997 est.)
     Government Syria
                            Country name: conventional long form: Syrian Arab
                                          conventional short form: Syria
                                          local short form: Suriyah
                                          former: United Arab Republic (with
                                          local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al
                                          Arabiyah as Suriyah
                         Government type: republic under military regime since
                                          March 1963
                                 Capital: Damascus
                Administrative divisions: 14 provinces (muhafazat, singular -
                                          muhafazah); Al Hasakah, Al
                                          Ladhiqiyah, Al Qunaytirah, Ar
                                          Raqqah, As Suwayda', Dar'a, Dayr az
                                          Zawr, Dimashq, Halab, Hamah, Hims,
                                          Idlib, Rif Dimashq, Tartus
                            Independence: 17 April 1946 (from League of
                                          Nations mandate under French
                        National holiday: Independence Day, 17 April (1946)
                            Constitution: 13 March 1973
                            Legal system: based on Islamic law and civil law
                                          system; special religious courts;
                                          has not accepted compulsory ICJ
                                Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
                        Executive branch: chief of state: President Bashar al-
                                          ASAD (since 17 July 2000); Vice
                                          Presidents Abd al-Halim ibn Said
                                          KHADDAM (since 11 March 1984) and
                                          Muhammad Zuhayr MASHARIQA (since 11
                                          March 1984)
                                          head of government: Prime Minister
                                          Muhammad Mustafa MIRU (since 13
                                          March 2000), Deputy Prime Ministers
                                          Lt. Gen. Mustafa TALAS (since 11
                                          March 1984), Farouk al-SHARA (since
                                          13 December 2001), Dr. Muhammad al-
                                          HUSAYN (since 13 December 2001)
                                          cabinet: Council of Ministers
                                          appointed by the president
                                          elections: president elected by
                                          popular vote for a seven-year term;
                                          referendum/election last held 10
                                          July 2000 - after the death of
                                          President Hafez al-ASAD, father of
                                          Bashar al-ASAD - (next to be held NA
                                          2007); vice presidents appointed by
                                          the president; prime minister and
                                          deputy prime ministers appointed by
                                          the president
                                          note: Hafiz al-ASAD died on 10 June
                                          2000; on 20 June 2000, the Ba'th
                                          Party nominated Bashar al-ASAD for
                                          president and presented his name to
                                          the People's Council on 25 June 2000
                                          election results: Bashar al-ASAD
                                          elected president; percent of vote -
                                          Bashar al-ASAD 97.29%
                      Legislative branch: unicameral People's Council or
                                          Majlis al-shaab (250 seats; members
                                          elected by popular vote to serve
                                          four-year terms)
                                          election results: percent of vote by
                                          party - NPF 67%, independents 33%;
                                          seats by party - NPF 167,
                                          independents 83; note - the
                                          constitution guarantees that the
                                          Ba'th Party (part of the NPF
                                          alliance) receives one-half of the
                                          elections: last held 30 November-
                                          1 December 1998 (next to be held NA
                         Judicial branch: Supreme Constitutional Court
                                          (justices are appointed for four-
                                          year terms by the president); High
                                          Judicial Council; Court of
                                          Cassation; State Security Courts
           Political parties and leaders: National Progressive Front or NPF
                                          (includes the Ba'th Party, ASU, Arab
                                          Socialist Party, Socialist Unionist
                                          Democratic Party, ASP, SCP)
                                          [President Bashar al-ASAD,
                                          chairman]; Arab Socialist
                                          Renaissance (Ba'th) Party (governing
                                          party) [President Bashar al-ASAD,
                                          secretary general]; Syrian Arab
                                          Socialist Party or ASP [Safwan
                                          KOUDSI]; Syrian Communist Party or
                                          SCP [Yusuf FAYSAL]; Syrian Social
                                          National Party [Jubran URAYJI]
            Political pressure groups and conservative religious leaders;
                                 leaders: Muslim Brotherhood (operates in
                                          exile in Jordan and Yemen); non-
                                          Ba'th parties have little effective
                                          political influence
               International organization AFESD, AL, AMF, CAEU, CCC, ESCWA,
                           participation: FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO,
                                          ICC, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC,
                                          IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol,
                                          IOC, ISO, ITU, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, UN,
                                          UN Security Council (temporary),
                                          UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNRWA, UPU,
                                          WFTU, WHO, WMO, WToO
     Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Rustum
                                          chancery: 2215 Wyoming Avenue NW,
                                          Washington, DC 20008
                                          FAX: [1] (202) 234-9548
                                          telephone: [1] (202) 232-6313
       Diplomatic representation from the chief of mission: Ambassador
                                      US: Theodore H. KATTOUF
                                          embassy: Abou Roumaneh, Al-Mansur
                                          Street, No. 2, Damascus
                                          mailing address: P. O. Box 29,
                                          telephone: [963] (11) 333-1342
                                          FAX: [963] (11) 331-9678
                        Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of red
                                          (top), white, and black, with two
                                          small green five-pointed stars in a
                                          horizontal line centered in the
                                          white band; similar to the flag of
                                          Yemen, which has a plain white band,
                                          and of Iraq, which has three green
                                          stars (plus an Arabic inscription)
                                          in a horizontal line centered in the
                                          white band; also similar to the flag
                                          of Egypt, which has a heraldic eagle
                                          centered in the white band
     Economy Syria
                      Economy - overview: Syria's predominantly statist
                                          economy has been growing slower than
                                          its 2.5% annual population growth
                                          rate, causing a persistent decline
                                          in per capita GDP. President Bashar
                                          AL-ASAD has made little progress on
                                          the economic front after one year in
                                          office, but does appear willing to
                                          permit a gradual strengthening of
                                          the private sector. His most obvious
                                          accomplishment to this end was the
                                          recent passage of legislation
                                          allowing private banks to operate in
                                          Syria, although a private banking
                                          sector will take years and further
                                          government cooperation to develop.
                                          ASAD's recent cabinet reshuffle may
                                          improve his chances of implementing
                                          further growth-oriented policies,
                                          although external factors such as
                                          the international war on terrorism,
                                          the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,
                                          and downturn in oil prices could
                                          weaken the foreign investment and
                                          government revenues Syria needs to
                                          flourish. A long-run economic
                                          constraint is the pressure on water
                                          supplies caused by rapid population
                                          growth, industrial expansion, and
                                          increased water pollution.
                                     GDP: purchasing power parity - $54.2
                                          billion (2001 est.)
                  GDP - real growth rate: 2% (2001 est.)
                        GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $3,200
                                          (2001 est.)
             GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 27%
                                          industry: 23%
                                          services: 50% (2000 est.)
           Population below poverty line: 15%-25%
       Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: NA%
                        percentage share: highest 10%: NA%
        Inflation rate (consumer prices): 0.3% (2001 est.)
                             Labor force: 4.7 million (1998 est.)
             Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 40%, industry 20%,
                                          services 40% (1996 est.)
                       Unemployment rate: 20% (2000 est.)
                                  Budget: revenues: $5 billion
                                          expenditures: $7 billion, including
                                          capital expenditures of $NA (2001
                              Industries: petroleum, textiles, food
                                          processing, beverages, tobacco,
                                          phosphate rock mining
       Industrial production growth rate: NA%
                Electricity - production: 19.7 billion kWh (2000)
      Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 64.47%
                                          hydro: 35.53%
                                          other: 0% (2000)
                                          nuclear: 0%
               Electricity - consumption: 17.671 billion kWh (2000)
                   Electricity - exports: 650 million kWh (2000)
                   Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2000)
                  Agriculture - products: wheat, barley, cotton, lentils,
                                          chickpeas, olives, sugar beets;
                                          beef, mutton, eggs, poultry, milk
                                 Exports: $5 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
                   Exports - commodities: crude oil 68%, textiles 7%, fruits
                                          and vegetables 6%, raw cotton 4%
                                          (1998 est.)
                      Exports - partners: Germany 27%, Italy 12%, France 10%,
                                          Turkey 10%, Saudi Arabia 7% (2000
                                 Imports: $4 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
                   Imports - commodities: machinery and transport equipment
                                          21%, food and livestock 18%, metal
                                          and metal products 15%, chemicals
                                          and chemical products 10% (2000
                      Imports - partners: Italy 9%, Germany 7%, France 5%,
                                          Lebanon 5%, China 4%, South Korea
                                          4%, Turkey 4%, US 4% (2000 est.)
                         Debt - external: $22 billion (2001 est.)
                Economic aid - recipient: $199 million (1997 est.)
                                Currency: Syrian pound (SYP)
                           Currency code: SYP
                          Exchange rates: Syrian pounds per US dollar - 51
                                          (December 2001), 46 (2000), 46
                                          (1998), 41.9 (January 1997)
                             Fiscal year: calendar year
     Communications Syria
          Telephones - main lines in use: 1.313 million (1997)
            Telephones - mobile cellular: NA
                        Telephone system: general assessment: fair system
                                          currently undergoing significant
                                          improvement and digital upgrades,
                                          including fiber-optic technology
                                          domestic: coaxial cable and
                                          microwave radio relay network
                                          international: satellite earth
                                          stations - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean)
                                          and 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean
                                          region); 1 submarine cable; coaxial
                                          cable and microwave radio relay to
                                          Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey;
                                          participant in Medarabtel
                Radio broadcast stations: AM 14, FM 2, shortwave 1 (1998)
                                  Radios: 4.15 million (1997)
           Television broadcast stations: 44 (plus 17 repeaters) (1995)
                             Televisions: 1.05 million (1997)
                   Internet country code: .sy
       Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 1 (2000)
                          Internet users: 32,000 (2001)
     Transportation Syria
                                Railways: total: 2,750 km
                                          standard gauge: 2,423 km 1.435-
                                          m gauge
                                          note: rail link between Syria and
                                          Iraq replaced in 2000 (2001)
                                          narrow gauge: 327 km 1.050-m gauge
                                Highways: total: 41,451 km
                                          paved: 9,575 km (including 877 km of
                                          unpaved: 31,876 km (1997)
                               Waterways: 870 km (minimal economic importance)
                               Pipelines: crude oil 1,304 km; petroleum
                                          products 515 km
                       Ports and harbors: Baniyas, Jablah, Latakia, Tartus
                         Merchant marine: total: 143 ships (1,000 GRT or over)
                                          totaling 482,985 GRT/702,590 DWT
                                          note: includes some foreign-owned
                                          ships registered here as a flag of
                                          convenience: Egypt 1, Greece 2,
                                          Italy 1, Lebanon 10 (2002 est.)
                                          ships by type: bulk 12, cargo 126,
                                          livestock carrier 4, roll on/roll
                                          off 1
                                Airports: 99 (2001)
           Airports - with paved runways: total: 24
                                          over 3,047 m: 5
                                          2,438 to 3,047 m: 16
                                          under 914 m: 1 (2001)
                                          914 to 1,523 m: 2
         Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 75
                                          1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
                                          914 to 1,523 m: 11
                                          under 914 m: 62 (2001)
                               Heliports: 2 (2001)
     Military Syria
                       Military branches: Syrian Arab Army, Syrian Arab Navy,
                                          Syrian Arab Air Force (includes Air
                                          Defense Forces), Police and Security
        Military manpower - military age: 19 years of age (2002 est.)
        Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 4,550,496 (2002
     Military manpower - fit for military males age 15-49: 2,539,342 (2002
                                 service: est.)
             Military manpower - reaching males: 200,859 (2002 est.)
                   military age annually:
           Military expenditures - dollar $921 million (FY00 est.); note -
                                  figure: based on official budget data that
                                          may understate actual spending
       Military expenditures - percent of 5.9% (FY98)
     Transnational Issues Syria
                Disputes - international: Golan Heights is Israeli-occupied;
                                          dispute with upstream riparian
                                          Turkey over Turkish water
                                          development plans for the Tigris and
                                          Euphrates rivers; Syrian troops in
                                          northern, central, and eastern
                                          Lebanon since October 1976; Turkey
                                          is quick to rebuff any perceived
                                          Syrian claim to Hatay province
                           Illicit drugs: a transit point for opiates and
                                          hashish bound for regional and
                                          Western markets

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