GENERAL /

Date Established: April 17, 1946

US Aid: Obligated funding: $101 million
Spent funding: $165 million

GOVERNMENT /

Chief of State: President Bashar al-Assad

Head of Government: Prime Minister Imad Muhammad Dib Khamis

Government Type: Presidential Republic

Capital: Damascus

Legislature: People’s Council of Syria

Judiciary: Mixed legal system with civil law in general and family courts have Sharia law for Muslims and Canon law for Christians

Ambassador to US: Syria withdrew Ambassador due to the Syrian war

US Ambassador: US withdrew Ambassador due to the Syrian war

PEOPLE & SOCIETY /

Population: 19.4 million

Language: Arabic (official), Aramaic, Armenian, Circassian, English, French, Kurdish

Ethnicity: Arab (90.3%), Other (Alawites, Kurds, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Arameans/Syriacs, Armenian, Turkmen, Ismaili, Druze, Greeks) (9.7%)

Religion: Muslim (predominantly Sunni) (60.5%), Shia (including Alawite, Isma’ili (13%), Druze (3%), Christian (10%), Jewish (a few in Aleppo and Damascus)

Christian Communities: Greek (Antiochian) Orthodox, Greek (Melkite) Catholic, Armenian Apostolic, Armenian Catholic, Assyrian Church of the East (Nestorian), Syriac Orthodox, Syriac Catholic, Syriac Maronite, Chaldean Catholic, Roman Catholic, (Protestant)

Syria

Syria

BACKGROUND

Syria has a fascinating and complex history of intersecting peoples and civilizations. The modern state gained full independence in 1946. Syria has had a tumultuous history and, particularly within the last decade, has become known for civil war and the ensuing refugee crisis that has had global ramifications. The country, however, has a diverse ethnic and religious population; before the civil war, 10% of the Syrian population was Christian, but now, given the number of Christians who have fled, the proportion of Christians there is now considerably smaller.

LATEST NEWS

  • Syria offers to help Lebanon after Beirut Port explosion: Syrian Foreign Minister expressed sympathy and solidarity with Lebanon after the explosions at the Port of Lebanon. It was indicated that Syria was willing to put “all capabilities to assist Lebanon” to overcome the consequences of the deadly explosion. - Al Masdar

  • Israel Strikes Syrian Military Positions in Response to Attempted Border Attack: On Monday, it was confirmed that the IDF targeted southern Syria. - Haaretz

  • Syria’s Al-Hol Camp Reports its 1st COVID-19 Cases: Today, tens of thousands including relatives of ISIS members call Al-Hol camp their home. And for a while, health workers and camp residents, have feared that the coronavirus was going to spread amongst them. On 6th August, three health workers found out to have been contracted with the virus and the UN reported that this is the first reported infection in the camp.  - Asharq Al-Awsat