Syrian Arab Republic is situated in the Middle East in the western part of Asia. Its neighbours include Turkey to its north, Jordan and Israel towards the south and Iraq to the east. Its western coast is occupied by the Mediterranean Sea.
Syrian landscape is made up of desert, mountains, coastal plains, and plateaus. The country is mostly arid or semi-arid. The desert is found in the central part of the country and is made up of plateau land that lies behind the Anti-Lebanon Mountains. These mountains run all the way to the Mediterranean coast. Bishri Mountains is the other main mountain range found in the country, which is located in the north. The population of the country is mainly concentrated along the coastal regions, the River Euphrates and other main bodies of water. The capital city of Damascus was actually once an oasis.
According to archaeologists the civilization in Syria is perhaps one of the oldest on earth. Syria is a portion of the 1920s “Greater Syria” created by the French with aid from Britain, and was under the French control until 1946. They had taken over from the Turkish sultanate which disintegrated after four centuries. Syria gained independence in 1961.
The climate of Syria is mainly that of a desert. Summers are exceedingly hot, dry and arid and stretch from May to September. The winters tend to be fairly wet and pleasantly warm. Temperatures inland sour to 105°F but rains along the coastal regions make it more bearable. The mountainous areas of the country get more rainfall than other areas of the country. The vegetation in the country depends on the terrain. The coastal regions have a variety of cultivated crops while the hilly areas are populated with pines. The plains in the center of the country have various types of oak and steppes. Animal life in Syria includes deer, hares, squirrels, otters, wildcats and a variety of reptiles. Game birds include pelicans, a variety of ducks and snipes.
The people of Syria are of Arab origin with few Kurds and Armenians. Majority of the country practices Islam but a small Christian minority also exists. Great importance is given to family, education and religion. Self-discipline and respect also rank high. The cuisine is varied with mix of southern Mediterranean, southwest Asian and Greek dishes. Some dishes have also evolved from French and Turkish cooking.
Government: Semi-presidential system, Unitary republic
Total area: 71,498 sq. mi (185,180 sq. km)
Language: Arabic (official), Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic, French and English
Currency: Syrian Pound
Religion: Muslim, Christian and Druze