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Syria - Introduction

Introduction to Syria

Historical ruins of the Old City, Palmyra

Syria is a country in ruins. The place is full of them: cast-aside castles, teetering teatros and fallen-down fortresses. Syria has squirmed under the thumb of empire builders from Rome, Persia, Egypt, Turkey and Babylon, and every last one of them has left their architectural tag on the place.

Full country name: Syrian Arab Republic
Area: 185,180 sq km
Population: 17.5 million
Capital City: Damascus (pop 6 million)
People: Arabs (90%), Kurds, Armenians, Circassians, Turks
Language: Arabic, Kurdish, Armenian, Turkish, English
Religion: 74% Sunni Muslim, 16% other Muslim, 10% Christian
Government: republic under military regime since March 1963
Head of State: President Bashar al-Assad
Head of Government: Prime Minister Muhammad Naji al-Otari
GDP: US$41.7 billion
GDP per capita: US$2,500
Annual Growth: 2%
Inflation: 15-20%
Major Industries: Oil, agriculture, textiles
Major Trading Partners: Ukraine, EU, Turkey, Lebanon, Japan

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