Stretching from the eastern Mediterranean to the Tigris River, Syria’s borders are regarded as an artificial creation of French colonial rule by many Syrians. Foreign relations are turbulent.


A short stretch of coastal plain is backed by a low range of hills. 

The Euphrates River cuts through a vast interior desert plateau.


Mediterranean coastal climate. 

Inland areas are arid. 

In winter, snow is common on the mountains. 

People & Society:

Most Syrians live within 60 miles (100 km) of the coast. 90% are Muslim, including the politically dominant Shi’a Alawis. 

In the north and west are groups of Kurds, Armenians, and Turkic-speaking peoples. 

Some 460,000 Palestinian refugees live in Syria, and over a million Iraqis have fled here since 2003. 

There is a growing gulf between rich and poor. 

Human rights are an issue, but women’s rights are among the best in the Arab world.


Oil, though production is falling. 

Natural gas. 

High defense spending. 

Large public sector. 

Agriculture: fruit, cotton, and grain. 

Under US sanctions.

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