Syria Population: 17,185,170

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 History
Following World War I, France acquired a mandate over the northern portion of the former Ottoman Empire province of Syria. The French administered the area as Syria until granting it independence in 1946. The new country lacked political stability and experienced a series of military coups. Syria united with Egypt in February 1958 to form the United Arab Republic. In September 1961, the two entities separated, and the Syrian Arab Republic was reestablished. In the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, Syria lost the Golan Heights region to Israel. During the 1990s, Syria and Israel held occasional, albeit unsuccessful, peace talks over its return. In November 1970, Hafiz al-ASAD, a member of the socialist Ba'th Party and the minority Alawi sect, seized power in a bloodless coup and brought political stability to the country. Following the death of President Hafiz al-ASAD, his son, Bashar al-ASAD, was approved as president by popular referendum in July 2000. Syrian troops - stationed in Lebanon since 1976 in an ostensible peacekeeping role - were withdrawn in April 2005. During the July-August 2006 conflict between Israel and Hizballah, Syria placed its military forces on alert but did not intervene directly on behalf of its ally Hizballah. In May 2007, Bashar al-ASAD's second term as president was approved by popular referendum. Influenced by major uprisings that began elsewhere in the region, and compounded by additional social and economic factors, antigovernment protests broke out first in the southern province of Dar'a in March 2011 with protesters calling for the repeal of the restrictive Emergency Law allowing arrests without charge, the legalization of political parties, and the removal of corrupt local officials. Demonstrations and violent unrest spread across Syria with the size and intensity of protests fluctuating. The government responded to unrest with a mix of concessions - including the repeal of the Emergency Law, new laws permitting new political parties, and liberalizing local and national elections - and military force. However, the government's response has failed to meet opposition demands for ASAD's resignation, and the government's ongoing violence to quell unrest and widespread armed opposition activity has led to extended clashes between government forces and oppositionists. International pressure on the ASAD regime has intensified since late 2011, as the Arab League, EU, Turkey, and the US expanded economic sanctions against the regime. In December 2012, the Syrian National Coalition, was recognized by more than 130 countries as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people. Peace talks between the Coalition and Syrian regime at the UN-sponsored Geneva II conference in 2014 and the UN-sponsored Geneva III talks in 2016 failed to produce a resolution of the conflict. Unrest continues in Syria, and according to an April 2016 UN estimate, the death toll among Syrian Government forces, opposition forces, and civilians had reached 400,000. As of December 2016, approximately 13.5 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance in Syria, with 6.3 million people displaced internally, and an additional 4.8 million Syrian refugees, making the Syrian situation the largest humanitarian crisis worldwide.

 Geography
The capital of Damascus - located at an oasis fed by the Barada River - is thought to be one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities; there are 42 Israeli settlements and civilian land use sites in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights (2014 est.)
Location: Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Lebanon and Turkey
Geographic coordinates: 35 00 N, 38 00 E
Area: total: 185,180 sq km
land: 183,630 sq km
water: 1,550 sq km

note: includes 1,295 sq km of Israeli-occupied territory

Size comparison: slightly more than 1.5 times the size of Pennsylvania
Land Boundaries: total: 2,363 km border countries (5): Iraq 599 km, Israel 83 km, Jordan 379 km, Lebanon 403 km, Turkey 899 km
Coastline: 193 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 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:
Natural resources: petroleum, phosphates, chrome and manganese ores, asphalt, iron ore, rock salt, marble, gypsum, hydropower
Land use: agricultural land: 75.8% arable land 25.4%; permanent crops 5.8%; permanent pasture 44.6% forest: 2.7%
other: 21.5% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land: 14,280 sq km (2012)
Natural hazards: dust storms, sandstorms volcanism: Syria's two historically active volcanoes, Es Safa and an unnamed volcano near the Turkish border have not erupted in centuries
Current Environment Issues: deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; water pollution from raw sewage and petroleum refining wastes; inadequate potable water
International Environment Agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification
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 People
Nationality: noun: Syrian(s)
adjective: Syrian
Ethnic groups: Arab 90.3%, Kurdish, Armenian, and other 9.7%
Languages: Arabic (official), Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic, Circassian, French, English
Religions: Muslim 87% (official; includes Sunni 74% and Alawi, Ismaili, and Shia 13%), Christian 10% (includes Orthodox, Uniate, and Nestorian), Druze 3%, Jewish (few remaining in Damascus and Aleppo)
Population: 17,185,170 (July 2016 est.) note: approximately 20,500 Israeli settlers live in the Golan Heights (2014)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 31.95% (male 2,815,140/female 2,675,166)
15-24 years: 19.65% (male 1,711,847/female 1,664,814)
25-54 years: 39.03% (male 3,342,264/female 3,364,406)
55-64 years: 5.26% (male 447,205/female 457,525)
65 years and over: 4.11% (male 318,691/female 388,112) (2016 est.)
Dependency ratios: total dependency ratio: 70%
youth dependency ratio: 63.1%
elderly dependency ratio: 6.9%
potential support ratio: 14.5% (2015 est.)
Median age: total: 24.1 years
male: 23.7 years
female: 24.6 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.56% (2016 est.)
Birth rate: 21.7 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate: 4 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate: -2.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 57.7% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 1.37% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major urban areas - population: Aleppo 3.562 million; DAMASCUS (capital) 2.566 million; Hims (Homs) 1.641 million; Hamah 1.237 million; Lattakia 781,000 (2015)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Maternal mortality rate: 68 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 15.2 deaths/1,000 live births male: 17.5 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 12.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 74.9 years male: 72.5 years
female: 77.4 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.55 children born/woman (2016 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate: 53.9% (2009/10)
Health expenditures: 3.3% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density: 1.46 physicians/1,000 population (2010)
Hospital bed density: 1.5 beds/1,000 population (2012)
Drinking water source: improved:
urban: 92.3% of population
rural: 87.2% of population
total: 90.1% of population

unimproved:
urban: 7.7% of population
rural: 12.8% of population
total: 9.9% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility access: improved:
urban: 96.2% of population
rural: 95.1% of population
total: 95.7% of population

unimproved:
urban: 3.8% of population
rural: 4.9% of population
total: 4.3% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.01% (2014 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 900 (2014 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: less than 100 (2014 est.)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate: 21.6% (2014)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight: 10.1% (2009)
Education expenditures: 5.1% of GDP (2009)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 86.4%
male: 91.7%
female: 81% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 9 years male: 9 years
female: 9 years (2013)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24: total: 35.8% male: 26.6%
female: 71.1% (2011 est.)
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 Government
Country name: conventional long form: Syrian Arab Republic
conventional short form: Syria
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Arabiyah as Suriyah
local short form: Suriyah
former: United Arab Republic (with Egypt)
etymology: name ultimately derived from the ancient Assyrians who dominated northern Mesopotamia, but whose reach also extended westward to the Levant; over time, the name came to be associated more with the western area
Government type: presidential republic; highly authoritarian regime
Capital: name: Damascus
geographic coordinates: 33 30 N, 36 18 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins midnight on the last Friday in March; ends at midnight on the first Friday in November
Administrative divisions: 14 provinces (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Al Hasakah, Al Ladhiqiyah (Latakia), Al Qunaytirah, Ar Raqqah, As Suwayda', Dar'a, Dayr az Zawr, Dimashq (Damascus), Halab, Hamah, Hims (Homs), Idlib, Rif Dimashq (Damascus Countryside), Tartus
Independence: 17 April 1946 (from League of Nations mandate under French administration)
National holiday: Independence Day, 17 April (1946)
Constitution: several previous; latest issued 15 February 2012, passed by referendum 26 February 2012 (2016)
Legal system: mixed legal system of civil and Islamic law (for family courts)
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Bashar al-ASAD (since 17 July 2000); Vice President Najah al-ATTAR (since 23 March 2006)

head of government: Prime Minister Imad Muhammad Dib KHAMIS (since 22 June 2016); Walid al-MUALEM (since 2006); Deputy Prime Minister Fahd Jasim al-FURAYJ, Lt. Gen. (since 2012)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president elections/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority popular vote for a 7-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 3 June 2014 (next to be held in June 2021); the president appoints the vice presidents, prime minister, and deputy prime ministers

election results: Bashar al-ASAD approved as president; percent of vote - Bashar al-ASAD (Ba'th Party) 88.7%, Hassan al-NOURI (independent) 4.3%, Maher HAJJER (independent) 3.2%, other/invalid 3.8%
Legislative branch: description: unicameral People's Assembly or Majlis al-Shaab (250 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 13 April 2016 (next to be held in 2020)

election results: percent of vote by party - NPF 80%, other 20%; seats by party - NPF 200, other 50
Judicial branch: highest court(s): Court of Cassation (organized into civil, criminal, religious, and military divisions, each with 3 judges); Supreme Constitutional Court (consists of 7 members) judge selection and term of office: Court of Cassation judges appointed by the Supreme Judicial Council or SJC, a judicial management body headed by the minister of justice with 7 members including the national president; judge tenure NA; Supreme Constitutional Court judges nominated by the president and appointed by the SJC; judges appointed for 4-year renewable terms

subordinate courts: courts of first instance; magistrates' courts; religious and military courts; Economic Security Court
Political parties and leaders: legal parties/alliances: Arab Socialist Union of Syria or ASU [Safwan al-QUDSI] National Progressive Front or NPF [Bashar al-ASAD, Suleiman QADDAH] (alliance includes Arab Socialist Renaissance (Ba'th) Party [President Bashar al-ASAD], Socialist Unionist Democratic Party [Fadlallah Nasr al-DIN] Syrian Communist Party (two branches) [Wissal Farha BAKDASH, Yusuf Rashid FAYSAL] Syrian Social Nationalist Party or SSNP [As'ad HARDAN] Unionist Socialist Party [Fayez ISMAIL]) Kurdish parties (considered illegal): Kurdish Azadi Party Kurdish Democratic Accord Party (al Wifaq) Kurdish Democratic Party (al Parti-Ibrahim wing) Kurdish Democratic Party (al Parti-Mustafa wing) Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria or KDP-S Kurdish Democratic Patriotic/National Party Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party or KDPP-Darwish Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party or KDPP-Muhammad Kurdish Democratic Union Party or PYD [Salih Muslim MOHAMMAD] Kurdish Democratic Unity Party Kurdish Democratic Yekiti Party Kurdish Future Party [Rezan HASSAN] Kurdish Left Party Kurdish Yekiti (Union) Party Syrian Kurdish Democratic Party other: Syrian Democratic Party [Mustafa QALAAJI]
Political pressure groups and leaders: Free Syrian Army Syrian Muslim Brotherhood or SMB [Muhammad Riyad al-SHAQFAH] (operates in exile in London) Syrian Opposition Coalition or National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces [Anas al-ABDAH] note: there are also hundreds of local and provincial political and armed opposition groups that organize protests, provide civilian services, and stage armed attacks
International organization participation: ABEDA, AFESD, AMF, CAEU, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
National symbol(s): hawk; national colors: red, white, black, green
National anthem: name: "Humat ad-Diyar" (Guardians of the Homeland)
lyrics/music: Khalil Mardam BEY/Mohammad Salim FLAYFEL and Ahmad Salim FLAYFEL

note: adopted 1936, restored 1961; between 1958 and 1961, while Syria was a member of the United Arab Republic with Egypt, the country had a different anthem
Diplomatic representation in the US: note: Embassy ceased operation and closed on 18 March 2014 chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Mounir KOUDMANI (since 1 June 2012)
chancery: 2215 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 232-6313
FAX: [1] (202) 234-9548
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: ambassador (vacant); US Special Envoy for Syria Michael RATNEY (since 27 July 2015); note - on 6 February 2012, the US closed its embassy in Damascus
embassy: Abou Roumaneh, 2 Al Mansour Street, Damascus
mailing address: P. O. Box 29, Damascus
telephone: [963] (11) 3391-4444
FAX: [963] (11) 3391-3999
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 Economy
Syria's economy continues to deteriorate amid the ongoing conflict that began in 2011, declining by 62% from 2010 to 2014. The government has struggled to address the effects of international sanctions, widespread infrastructure damage, diminished domestic consumption and production, reduced subsidies, and high inflation, which have caused dwindling foreign exchange reserves, rising budget and trade deficits, a decreasing value of the Syrian pound, and falling household purchasing power. During 2014, the ongoing conflict and continued unrest and economic decline worsened the humanitarian crisis and elicited a greater need for international assistance, as the number of people in need inside Syria increased from 9.3 million to 12.2 million, and the number of Syrian refugees increased from 2.2 million to more than 3.3 million. Prior to the turmoil, Damascus had begun liberalizing economic policies, including cutting lending interest rates, opening private banks, consolidating multiple exchange rates, raising prices on some subsidized items, and establishing the Damascus Stock Exchange, but the economy remains highly regulated. Long-run economic constraints include foreign trade barriers, declining oil production, high unemployment, rising budget deficits, increasing pressure on water supplies caused by heavy use in agriculture, rapid population growth, industrial expansion, water pollution, and widespread infrastructure damage.
GDP (purchasing power parity): GDP (purchasing power parity): $55.8 billion (2015 est.) $61.9 billion (2013 est.) $97.5 billion (2012 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars the war-driven deterioration of the economy resulted in a disappearance of quality national level statistics in the 2012-13 period
GDP (official exchange rate): GDP (official exchange rate): $24.6 billion (2014 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: -9.9% (2015 est.) -36.5% (2014 est.) -30.9% (2013 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): GDP - per capita (PPP): $2,900 (2015 est.) NA (2013 est.) NA (2010 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars
Gross national saving: 20% of GDP (2015 est.) 18.5% of GDP (2014 est.) 14.9% of GDP (2013 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use: household consumption: 63%
government consumption: 22.6%
investment in fixed capital: 21.2%
investment in inventories: 11.1%
exports of goods and services: 13.9%
imports of goods and services: -31.8% (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of origin: household consumption: 63%
government consumption: 22.6%
investment in fixed capital: 21.2%
investment in inventories: 11.1%
exports of goods and services: 13.9%
imports of goods and services: -31.8% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - products: wheat, barley, cotton, lentils, chickpeas, olives, sugar beets; beef, mutton, eggs, poultry, milk
Industries: petroleum, textiles, food processing, beverages, tobacco, phosphate rock mining, cement, oil seeds crushing, automobile assembly
Industrial production growth rate: -2.4% (2016 est.)
Labor force: 3.37 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 17%
industry: 16%
services: 67% (2008 est.)
Unemployment rate: 50% (2016 est.) 50% (2015 est.)
Population below poverty line: 82.5% (2014 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Budget: revenues: $494.5 million
expenditures: $2.665 billion note: government projections for FY2016
Taxes and other revenues: 2% of GDP (2016 est.)
Public debt: 57.5% of GDP (2016 est.) 52% of GDP (2015 est.)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices): Inflation rate (consumer prices): 47.7% (2016 est.) 38.1% (2015 est.)
Current account balance: -$3.148 billion (2015 est.) -$3.667 billion (2014 est.)
Exports: $2.304 billion (2016 est.) $2.14 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commodities: crude oil, minerals, petroleum products, fruits and vegetables, cotton fiber, textiles, clothing, meat and live animals, wheat
Exports - partners: Iraq 64.7%, Saudi Arabia 11.2%, Kuwait 7.1%, UAE 6.1%, Libya 4.6% (2015)
Imports: $5.965 billion (2016 est.) $6.663 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery and transport equipment, electric power machinery, food and livestock, metal and metal products, chemicals and chemical products, plastics, yarn, paper
Imports - partners: Saudi Arabia 28%, UAE 13.7%, Iran 10.1%, Turkey 9%, Iraq 8.3%, China 6.1% (2015)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $504.6 million (31 December 2016 est.) $772.9 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Debt - external: $5.918 billion (31 December 2016 est.) $5.3 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $NA
Exchange rates: Syrian pounds (SYP) per US dollar - 497.8 (2016 est.) 236.41 (2015 est.) 236.41 (2014 est.) 153.695 (2013 est.) 64.39 (2012 est.)
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 Energy
Electricity - production: 21 billion kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - consumption: 17 billion kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - exports: 100 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - imports: 1.2 billion kWh (2012 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity: 8.2 million kW (2014 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels: 82.9% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 16.8% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources: 0.3% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Crude oil - production: 30,000 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Crude oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Crude oil - imports: 58,260 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Crude oil - proved reserves: 2.5 billion bbl (1 January 2016 es)
Refined petroleum products - production: 111,600 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption: 165,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports: 12,150 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports: 76,050 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Natural gas - production: 5.205 billion cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 5.205 billion cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 249.2 million cu m (2011 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 240.7 billion cu m (1 January 2016 es)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 49 million Mt (2013 est.)
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 Communications
Cellular Phones in use: total: 13.904 million subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 81 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone system: general assessment: the armed insurgency that began in 2011 has led to major disruptions to the network and has caused telephone and Internet outages throughout the country

domestic: the number of fixed-line connections increased markedly prior to the civil war in 2011; mobile-cellular service stands at about 80 per 100 persons

international: country code - 963; submarine cable connection to Egypt, Lebanon, and Cyprus; satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) and 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region); coaxial cable and microwave radio relay to Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey; pa (2015)
Broadcast media: state-run TV and radio broadcast networks; state operates 2 TV networks and a satellite channel; roughly two-thirds of Syrian homes have a satellite dish providing access to foreign TV broadcasts; 3 state-run radio channels; first private radio station la (2007)
Internet country code: .sy
Internet users: total: 5.116 million percent of population: 30% (July 2015 est.)
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 Transportation
Airports: 90 (2013)
Airports (paved runways): total 29
over 3,047 m: 5
2,438 to 3,047 m: 16
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 5 (2013)
Airports (unpaved runways): total 61

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 12
under 914 m: 48 (2013)
Heliports: 6 (2013)
Pipelines: gas 3,170 km; oil 2,029 km (2013)
Railways: total 2,052 km
standard gauge: 1,801 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 251 km 1.050-m gauge (2014)
Roadways: total 69,873 km
paved: 63,060 km
unpaved: 6,813 km (2010)
Waterways: 900 km (navigable but not economically significant) (2011)
Merchant marine: total 19

by type: bulk carrier 4, cargo 14, carrier 1

registered in other countries: 166 (Barbados 1, Belize 4, Bolivia 4, Cambodia 22, Comoros 5, Dominica 4, Georgia 24, Lebanon 2, Liberia 1, Malta 4, Moldova 5, North Korea 4, Panama 34, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 9, Sierra Leone 13, Tanzania 23, Togo 6, unknown 1) (2010)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Baniyas, Latakia, Tartus
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 Military
Military branches: Syrian Armed Forces: Land Forces, Naval Forces, Air Forces (includes Air Defense Forces) (2013)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation is 18 months; women are not conscripted but may volunteer to serve; re-enlistment obligation 5 years, with retirement after 15 years or age 40 (enlisted) or 20 years or age 45 (NCOs) (2012)
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 Transnational Issues
Disputes - International: Golan Heights is Israeli-occupied with the almost 1,000-strong UN Disengagement Observer Force patrolling a buffer zone since 1964; lacking a treaty or other documentation describing the boundary, portions of the Lebanon-Syria boundary are unclear with several sections in dispute; since 2000, Lebanon has claimed Shab'a Farms in the Golan Heights; 2004 Agreement and pending demarcation would settle border dispute with Jordan
Refugees and internally displaced persons: refugees (country of origin): 528,616 (Palestinian Refugees); undetermined (Iraq) (2015) note: the ongoing civil war has created more than 4.8 million Syrian refugees - dispersed in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey - as of January 2017 IDPs: 6.3 million (ongoing civil war since 2011) (2016)
stateless persons: 160,000 (2015); note - Syria's stateless population consists of Kurds and Palestinians; stateless persons are prevented from voting, owning land, holding certain jobs, receiving food subsidies or public healthcare, enrolling in public schools, or being legally married to Syrian citizens; in 1962, some 120,000 Syrian Kurds were stripped of their Syrian citizenship, rendering them and their descendants stateless; in 2011, the Syrian Government granted citizenship to thousands of Syrian Kurds as a means of appeasement; however, resolving the question of statelessness is not a priority given Syria's ongoing civil war
Illicit drugs: a transit point for opiates, hashish, and cocaine bound for regional and Western markets; weak anti-money-laundering controls and bank privatization may leave it vulnerable to money laundering
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