Syria
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Syria
Region: Western Asia
2015 Population1: 19,314,458
Total Area (sq.miles): 71,498
Life Expectancy at Birth2: 70.3
Gross National Income Per Capita (PPP 2016 US $)2: ---
Official Religion(s) or Church(es)3: None named

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Indexes

Religious Regulation Index ()4:
RAS3 State Regulation of Majority or All Religions, Summary Categories (0=None; 1=Low; 2=Medium; 3=High)

Ranking: 9/253

[Further Detail]
Religious Minority Discrimination Index ()4:
RAS3 State Discrimination of Minority Religions, Summary Categories (0=None; 1=Low; 2=Medium; 3=High)

Ranking: 43/253

[Further Detail]
State Funding of Religions ()4:
RAS3 State Funding of Religion, Summary Categories (0=None; 1=Low; 2=Medium; 3=High)

Ranking: 13/253

[Further Detail]
Societal Discrimination of Minority Religions ()4:
RAS3 Societal Discrimination of Minority Religions, Summary Categories (0=None; 1=Low; 2=Medium; 3=High)

Ranking: 73/253

[Further Detail]

History

Syria, officially the Syrian Arab Republic, is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest. Its capital Damascus is among the oldest continuously-inhabited cities in the world. A country of fertile plains, high mountains, and deserts, it is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including the Arab, Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians, Kurds, Circassians, Mhallami, Mandeans and Turks. Religious groups include Sunni, Christians, Alawite, Druze religion, Mandeanism and Yezidi. Sunni Arabs make up the largest population group in Syria. In English, the name "Syria" was formerly synonymous with the Levant (known in Arabic as al-Sham) while the modern state encompasses the sites of several ancient kingdoms and empires, including the Eblan civilization of the 3rd millennium BC. In the Islamic era, Damascus was the seat of the Umayyad Caliphate and a provincial capital of the Mamluk Sultanate in Egypt. The modern Syrian state was established after World War I as a French mandate, and represented the largest Arab state to emerge from the formerly Ottoman-ruled Arab Levant. It gained independence in April 1946, as a parliamentary republic. The post-independence period was tumultuous, and a large number of military coups and coup attempts shook the country in the period 1949–1971. Between 1958-61, Syria entered a brief union with Egypt, which was terminated by a military coup. The Arab Republic of Syria came into being in 1963, transforming from the Republic of Syria in the Ba'athist coup d'état. Syria was under Emergency Law from 1963 to 2011, effectively suspending most constitutional protections for citizens, and its system of government is considered to be non-democratic. Bashar al-Assad has been president since 2000 and was preceded by his father Hafez al-Assad, who was in office from 1970 to 2000. Syria is a member of one international organization other than the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement; it is currently suspended from the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and self-suspended from the Union for the Mediterranean. Since March 2011, Syria has been embroiled in an uprising against Assad and the Ba'athist government as part of the Arab Spring, a crackdown which contributed to the Syrian Civil War and Syria becoming among the least peaceful countries in the world. The Syrian Interim Government was formed by the opposition umbrella group, the Syrian National Coalition, in March 2012. Representatives of this government were subsequently invited to take up Syria's seat at the Arab League.5

 

Sources

1.  The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset Project: Demographics reports the estimates of religious demographics, both country by country and region by region. The RCS was created to fulfill the unmet need for a dataset on the religious dimensions of countries of the world, with the state-year as the unit of observation. It estimates populations and percentages of adherents of 100 religious denominations including second level subdivision within Christianity and Islam. The RCS Data Project would like to acknowledge, recognize, and express our deepest gratitude for the significant contributions of Todd M. Johnson the principal investigator of the World Christian Database and the co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database.

2.  Relying on agencies from each country, as well as a synthesis of data from United Nations divisions, Eurostate Demographic statistics, the U.S. Census international database, and its own data collection, the World Bank's Open Data site offers free and open access to data about development in countries around the globe.

3.  The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset Project: Government Religious Preference (GRP) measures government-level favoritism toward, and disfavor against, 30 religious denominations. A series of ordered categorical variables index the state's institutional favoritism in 28 different ways. The variables are combined to form five composite indices for five broad components of state-religion: official status, religious education, financial support, regulatory burdens, and freedom of practice. The five components' composites in turn are further combined into a single composite score, the GRP score. The RCS Data Project would like to acknowledge, recognize, and express our deepest gratitude for the significant contributions of Todd M. Johnson the principal investigator of the World Christian Database and the co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database.

4.  The Religion and State (RAS) Project is a university-based project located at Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel. Its goal is to create a set of measures that systematically gauge the intersection between government and religion. Specifically, it examines government religion policy. Round 3 of the RAS dataset measures the extent of government involvement in religion (GIR) or the lack thereof for 183 states on a yearly basis between 1990 and 2014. This constitutes all countries with populations of 250,000 or more as well as a sampling of smaller states. This dataset, featuring this and other international measures highlighted on the country pages, may be previewed and downloaded here. Used with permission.

5.  Note: All country histories and flags were obtained from Wikipedia.org, 2015. (http://www.wikipedia.org/)

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