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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: 21,260,894 (2012E—UN); 22,530,746 (2012E—U.S. Census).
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 (official rate November 5, 2012: 69.70 pounds = $1US). The Syrian pound, formerly pegged to the U.S. dollar, has been pegged to a basket of currencies since 2007.
President: Dr./Lt. Gen. Bashar al-ASSAD (Baath Party); sworn in for a seven-year term on July 17, 2000, and endorsed for a second seven-year term by a referendum held on May 27, 2007.
Vice Presidents: Farouk al-SHARAA (Baath Party); appointed by President Bashar al-ASSAD on February 11, 2006. Ms. Najah ...