Modern Syria is situated in
the Near East on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The shore
length amounts to 180 km. Syria borders Turkey to the north, Iraq to the
east, Jordan to the southwest, and Israel and the Lebanon to the west.
around 22 millions; annual
growth rate 2,5%, almost 45% are less than 14 years old; at present,
plus some 1.5 millions of refugees from Iraq; some 420,000 Palestinians
registered by the United Nations aid organisation for Palestine refugees
in the Middle East, UNRWA;
Arabs, ethnic minorities:
6 % Kurdish people,
2 % Armenians and small ethnic groups
such as Turkmen people
Almost 90 % of Syrians
profess the Islam, the majority are Sunni. Christians with a percentage
of nearby 10 % belong to different confessions; about 4 % Druze and 1 %
Manifold and various
landscapes: sea-coast, mountains, forests, hilly country, fertile
valleys, plains, and prairie.
Agreeable and various
Mediterranean climate with four distinct seasons. Mean temperatures: 32°
C in summer, 10° C in winter, and 22° C in spring and fall. Mostly fresh
nights, waistcoat or jacket recommended.
Throughout the year: CET o
1 hour, but due to different dates of return to summer or winter time =
CET for short periods.
The Syrian currency (Syrian
Pound), in Arabic Lira, has the following coins: 5, 10, and
25 Lira. There are bank-notes of 25 (rather seldom), 50, 100, 500, and
1000 Lira. Official exchange rates are published in public exchange
offices and in banks. 1 USD has at present a value of around 46 Lira, 1
€ of about 64 Lira.
can be exchanged to Syrian
Pounds at any bank. Please submit your original bill of sale of your
European bank to prove the legal purchase of your traveller cheques.
are accepted in hotels,
shops, and restaurants. The best
way is of course payment in cash.
with international monetary
intercourse in the capitals and at the airports, the disagio is however
relatively high. Nevertheless, the ATMs are gaining ground.
Bills of international
hotels and fly tickets purchased in Syria must be settled in USD.
Syria is a republic whose
president is approved by referendum for a 7-year term. He appoints the
Prime Minister and the Cabinet (Council of Ministers). The Legislative
Assembly (People's Council) comprises 250 deputies who are elected by
direct, general elections for a 4-year term.
President Bashar Al-Assad, in
since 2000, has focused
and reform of
five-year plan for
2006-2010 passed in May
2006 is a landmark of the beginning transformation of Syrian economy
from planned to social free market economy. Important steps were already
set: unification of the exchange rate, admission of private banks (2004)
and insurances (2006), remarkable tariff cuts, reduction of corporate
and revenue taxes, opening of almost all economic sectors for private
domestic and foreign companies.
A third of the population
is active in agriculture. Soils are very fertile but must be irrigated
continuously. Main products are cotton, wheat, sugar-beets, and
vegetables, as well as tobacco. In stock-farming there are sheep, goats,
cattle, and poultry.
Most important export
goods: natural gas, cotton, textiles, garment, agricultural products. In
2007, Syria's petrol production decreased to 370,000 barrels per day.
Production in the existent petrol sources is constantly decreasing and
petrol exports have shrunk since 2004 significantly.
Main import goods:
machinery and equipment, metals and metallic products, cars, food, and
chemicals. The member states of the European Union are Syria's most
important trade partners.
In 2006, the GDP was around
USD 29.3 billions.
The official growth rate was 3.2%, the average per-capita GDP 2006: UDS