Syria

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.


Geography:

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

The Euphrates River cuts through a vast interior desert plateau.

Climate:

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.

Economy:

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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