Ethnicity: 88% Arab, 6% Kurdish, 2.8% Armenian, 1% Turkish, 1% Greek. The remaining population consists of Assyrians, Chaldeans, Nestorians, Circassians and Jews.
Language: The official language of Syria is Arabic. In addition, languages belonging to different ethnic elements such as Kurdish and Turkish are also spoken.
The state has no official religion. However, 74% of the population is Sunni Muslim and 11% is Nusayri. Nusayris, one of the sects called gulatu’ş-şi’a (the flood of the Shiites) by the scholars of Ahl as-Sunnah, and Hz. It is a group that believes that Ali (r.a.) is a god. They have a belief system similar to the trinity in the Christian faith. They form the majority in the Latakia region. 3% of the population is Druze and they are concentrated in the es-Suveyda (Jebelu Duruz) region. There are 0.8% Ismailis. About 10% of the population is Christian. There are also one in a thousand Jews. There are also a small number of Yazidis.
Syria, a Central Asian country, is surrounded by Turkey in the north, Iraq in the east, Jordan in the south, Lebanon and the Mediterranean in the west. Its important rivers are the Euphrates, Asi and Habur rivers. It is considered rich in water resources. 33% of its land is suitable for agriculture and 10% of this land is irrigated.
In Syria, a regime that is formally multi-party but actually based on the Baathist dictatorship is dominant. The country is governed by a constitution that came into force on March 14, 1973. The Constitution gives broad powers to the head of state. The constitution describes the country’s form of government as “socialist people’s democracy”. Legislative power is vested in a 250-member parliament whose members are elected by election. However, the fact that the ruling Baath Party always has an overwhelming majority in the parliament reveals that the electoral system is not free from fraud. Syria is a member of international organizations such as the UN, OIC (Organization of the Islamic Conference), Arab League, IMF (International Monetary Fund), Islamic Development Bank.
The territory of Syria today. It was conquered during the expeditions carried out in 634, 635 and 636 M. Syria, which was under the rule of the Umayyads, Abbasids, Egyptian rulers, Seljuks and Ayyubids, was exposed to Mongol attacks between 1250 and 1303. Then it fell into the hands of the Mamluks. In 1517, it was joined to the Ottoman state by Yavuz Sultan Selim. In 1831, it fell into the hands of Kavalalı Mehmed Ali Pasha, who had rebelled against the Ottomans and established a separate administration in Egypt. After the popular uprising in 1840, it was again attached to the Ottoman state. It was occupied by the French in 1920. Although the people opposed this occupation, the French suppressed the popular uprisings by killing tens of thousands of people and by bombing large cities. However, the resistance of the people against the occupation continued. The French had to withdraw from Syria in 1943 and recognize the country’s independence on 1 January 1944. However, they left behind a layer of bureaucrats that would sustain the system they had raised and established with their own hands. This bureaucratic layer took over the administration of the country after the independence with various tricks of the French invaders. The first president of Syria after independence is Sukri al-Kuvvetli of Turkish origin. The al-Quwwali administration was ended with the 1949 coup. After independence, Syria became a country of coups. Different coups took place in 1949, 1954, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1966 and 1970. After the 1949 coup, Husni Zaim assumed the presidency. After that, Sâmi Hinnavi, Edibçiçek, Hâşim Bey el-Attasi and Şükri el-Kuvvetli became presidents respectively. Between 1955 and 1958, Syria and Egypt united to form the United Arab Republic. During this period, the head of state of the United Arab Republic was then Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser. After the collapse of the Syrian-Egyptian union, the Syrian president became Nazim al-Qudsi. In 1963, the coup led by General Hafez al-Amin enabled the Baath Party to take power. The coup in 1966 was a victory for the independent military wing of the Baath. After this coup, Nuruddin al-Attasi took over the administration of the country. During the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, Syria’s air force commander and defense minister, Hafez al-Assad, of Nusayri origin, attempted a coup in 1968 but was unsuccessful. However, Assad took over the administration with the coup he carried out on November 23, 1970. After this coup, the Nusayris within the Baath Party began to liquidate the others. The country has been under the rule of Hafez Assad since 1970. Assad, who entered into a close friendship with the Soviet Union after he came to power, received constant support from the Soviets until its dissolution. Assad did not neglect to look after the interests of the USA and the West in his policy. A document stating that he had secret relations with the Jewish organizations in the USA was published in the July 1, 1988 issue of the Sudanese daily Kabas.