General information about Syria
The official name is the Syrian Arab Republic. Located in the southwestern part of Asia. The area is 184,050 km2, the population is 16.7 million people. (2001). The official language is Arabic. The capital is the city of Damascus (1,394,322 people, according to the 1994 census). Public holiday – Evacuation Day April 17 (since 1946). The monetary unit is the Syrian pound.
Member of the UN (since 1945), Arab League (since 1945), etc.
Geography of Syria
Syria is located between 36° and 42° east longitude and 32° and 37° north latitude. In the northwest it is washed by the Mediterranean Sea. The length of the coastline is 193 km, the coastline is slightly indented. It borders Turkey in the north, Jordan in the south, Lebanon and Israel in the west, and Iraq in the east.
The territory of the country is divided into 4 main zones: the coastal plain, the mountain range in the west, the interior plains and the Syrian desert. In the west, two mountain ranges stretch, forming the mountains of Jebel Ansaria (height up to 1562 m) along the Mediterranean coast, the mountains of Kurd, Jebel Zawiya, Anti-Lebanon (height up to 2814 m) and Jebel el-Sheikh (the Arabic name for the Hermon mountain range, greater part of which is now in Israel). In the south of Syria there is a black basalt massif Jebel Druz. The coastal lowland with evergreen vegetation is 10–20 km wide. The east of the country is a hilly steppe, semi-desert and desert with occasional oases. The northeastern part of the country is occupied by the Jazira Desert.
The bowels of the country contain reserves of oil, phosphates, chromium, manganese and iron ores, rock salt, gypsum, and marble. Modern oil reserves are estimated at about 62 billion barrels.
The soils are mainly brown desert-steppe and gray soils.
According to Bridgat, the climate on the coast is subtropical, Mediterranean, with wet mild winters (average January temperature +12°С) and dry summers with an average temperature of +26°С. It is colder in the mountains, snow falls in winter. In the interior, the climate is dry continental, it is characterized by large seasonal temperature fluctuations, for example, in winter the temperature can vary from + 10 ° C at night to + 20 ° C during the day, and in summer the maximum temperature reaches + 45-50 ° C.
The Euphrates River flows through Syria from northwest to southeast for 675 km. A gigantic dam built in 1973 with the help of the USSR makes it possible to regulate the flow and prevent floods. The state border of Syria with Turkey and Iraq runs along the Tigris River for 50 km. The El Asi River originates in the mountains of Baalbek (Lebanon), flows through the valleys near the cities of Homs and Hama, in El Ghab and El Ruja. The length of the river through the territory of Syria is 325 km. The most significant of the inland rivers of Syria is the Barada (71 km). In various parts of Syria there are small and medium-sized lakes, most of which are endorheic, salty or saline.
The flora can be conditionally divided into two zones: desert (steppe) and Mediterranean. In the eastern, desert part of the country, shrubs, semi-shrubs, thorny grasses, wormwood and forbs, consisting mainly of ephemers, predominate. On the plateaus in the eastern and southern regions, typical steppe vegetation prevails. The slopes of the mountains are covered with forests (oak, pine, cypress, laurel), occupying approx. 3% of the country’s territory. As the height increases, the forests turn into alpine meadows. Palmyra grows in the oasis of Palmyra.
The animal world is comparatively poor. There are antelopes, gazelles, onagers (wild donkeys). Rarely you can meet a wild cat, lynx, fox, jackal. But in the steppe and desert regions, rodents are in abundance – jerboas, ferrets; many reptiles – snakes, lizards, chameleons. In the Euphrates valley and in some other areas where there are open reservoirs, many migratory birds settle for the winter. There you can meet colonies of flamingos, storks, herons, gulls nest.
The population of Syria
The population of Syria, according to the 1994 census, is 13,782,315 people. Birth rate 30.11‰, death rate 5.12‰; infant mortality 32.73 pers. per 1000 newborns. Average life expectancy is 69 years, incl. men – 67.9, women – 70.3.
Age structure of the population: 0-14 years old – 39.3%, 15 – 64 years old – 57.5%, 65 years and older – 3.2%. Urban population approx. fifty%. Retirement age: 60 for men, 55 for women. Competently 70.8% of the total population, incl. men – 85.7%, women – 55.8%.
Arabs make up to 90% of the population, the remaining 10% are mainly Kurds and Armenians, as well as Turks, Circassians. Languages: Arabic, Kurdish, Armenian.
Muslims make up 90%, Christians – 10% of the population. Among Muslims, representatives of the orthodox trend in Islam, the Sunnis, predominate. Among the Muslim minorities are Shiites-Imamits and adherents of Shiite sects – Ismailis, Alawites, Druze.