Syrian Arab Republic
al-Jumhuriyah al-Arabiyah al-Suriyah
Political Status: Republic proclaimed in 1941; became independent on April 17, 1946; under military regime since March 8, 1963.
Area: 71,586 sq. mi. (185,408 sq. km.).
Population: 13,782,315 (1994C); 19,522,000 (2006E). Both figures include Palestinian refugees, numbering approximately 400,000.
Major Urban Centers (2005E, including suburbs): DAMASCUS (2,314,000), Aleppo (2,560,000), Homs (1,102,000).
Official Language: Arabic.
Monetary Unit: Syrian Pound (principal rate November 2, 2007: 51.15 pounds = $1US; market rate September 1, 2002, 48.85 pounds = $1US).
President: Dr./Lt. Gen. Bashar al-ASSAD (Baath Party); sworn in for a seven-year term on July 17, 2000, following endorsement by the People’s Assembly on June 27 and by a national referendum on July 10 of a successor to Lt. Gen. Hafiz al-ASSAD, who had died on June 10. President Assad was ...