Syria

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Detailed Map of  Syria |  Flag of Syria

The Syrian Arab Republic is located on the eastern Mediterranean coast, in the Middle East. It has a varied topography of mountains, fertile plains, and desert. Oil and agriculture are important to the economy, but heavy military spending in confrontations with Israel have hindered development.

A part of the Ottoman Empire until 1918, Syria gained independence from France in 1946. Since a coup in 1970, it has enjoyed relative internal stability.

At one time Islam was the state religion, and though it is still recognized as the religion of themajority, Syria is now a secular state with no official religion. The Christian minority is tolerated and has freedom to worship and witness.

 
Area: 2,248,000 sq.km.
Population: 21,500,000 (1999)
Annual Per Capita Income: US$7,040 (1995)
Literate Population: 62.8% (1995)
Religions in % of Population (1980): Sunni Muslim
95.5%
Shi’i Muslim
3.3%
Christian
0.8%
Other
0.4%
Official Language: Arabic