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Israel vs. Syria

Introduction

IsraelSyria
Background"Following World War II, Britain withdrew from its mandate of Palestine, and the UN proposed partitioning the area into Arab and Jewish states, an arrangement rejected by the Arabs. Nonetheless, an Israeli state was declared in 1948, and Israel subsequently defeated the Arab armies in a series of wars that did not end deep tensions between the two sides. (The territories Israel has occupied since the 1967 war are not included in the Israel country profile, unless otherwise noted.) On 25 April 1982, Israel withdrew from the Sinai Peninsula pursuant to the 1979 Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty. In keeping with the framework established at the Madrid Conference in October 1991, Israel conducted bilateral negotiations with Palestinian representatives and Syria to achieve a permanent settlement with each. Israel and Palestinian officials on 13 September 1993 signed a Declaration of Principles (also known as the ""Oslo Accords""), enshrining the idea of a two-state solution to their conflict and guiding an interim period of Palestinian self-rule. The parties achieved six additional significant interim agreements between 1994 and 1999 aimed at creating the conditions for a two-state solution, but most were never fully realized. Outstanding territorial and other disputes with Jordan were resolved in the 26 October 1994 Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty.
Progress toward a final status agreement with the Palestinians was undermined by Israeli-Palestinian violence between 2001 and February 2005. Israel in 2005 unilaterally disengaged from the Gaza Strip, evacuating settlers and its military while retaining control over most points of entry into the Gaza Strip. The election of HAMAS to head the Palestinian Legislative Council in 2006 temporarily froze relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA). Israel engaged in a 34-day conflict with Hizballah in Lebanon from July-August 2006 and a 23-day conflict with HAMAS in the Gaza Strip from December 2008-January 2009. In November 2012, Israel engaged in a seven-day conflict with HAMAS in the Gaza Strip. Direct talks with the Palestinians most recently launched in July 2013 but were suspended in April 2014. The talks represented the fourth concerted effort to resolve final status issues between the sides since they were first discussed at Camp David in 2000. Three months later HAMAS and other militant groups launched rockets into Israel, which led to a 51-day conflict between Israel and militants in Gaza.
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Following World War I, France acquired a mandate over the northern portion of the former Ottoman Empire province of Syria. The French administered the area as Syria until granting it independence in 1946. The new country lacked political stability and experienced a series of military coups. Syria united with Egypt in February 1958 to form the United Arab Republic. In September 1961, the two entities separated, and the Syrian Arab Republic was reestablished. In the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, Syria lost the Golan Heights region to Israel. During the 1990s, Syria and Israel held occasional, albeit unsuccessful, peace talks over its return. In November 1970, Hafiz al-ASAD, a member of the socialist Ba'th Party and the minority Alawi sect, seized power in a bloodless coup and brought political stability to the country. Following the death of President Hafiz al-ASAD, his son, Bashar al-ASAD, was approved as president by popular referendum in July 2000. Syrian troops - stationed in Lebanon since 1976 in an ostensible peacekeeping role - were withdrawn in April 2005. During the July-August 2006 conflict between Israel and Hizballah, Syria placed its military forces on alert but did not intervene directly on behalf of its ally Hizballah. In May 2007, Bashar al-ASAD's second term as president was approved by popular referendum.
Influenced by major uprisings that began elsewhere in the region, and compounded by additional social and economic factors, antigovernment protests broke out first in the southern province of Dar'a in March 2011 with protesters calling for the repeal of the restrictive Emergency Law allowing arrests without charge, the legalization of political parties, and the removal of corrupt local officials. Demonstrations and violent unrest spread across Syria with the size and intensity of protests fluctuating. The government responded to unrest with a mix of concessions - including the repeal of the Emergency Law, new laws permitting new political parties, and liberalizing local and national elections - and with military force and detentions. The government's ongoing violence to quell unrest and widespread armed opposition activity has led to extended clashes between government forces, their allies, and oppositionists. International pressure on the ASAD regime has intensified since late 2011, as the Arab League, the EU, Turkey, and the US expanded economic sanctions against the regime and those entities that support it. In December 2012, the Syrian National Coalition, was recognized by more than 130 countries as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people. Political negotiations between the government and opposition delegations at the UN-sponsored Geneva II conference in 2014 and the UN-sponsored Geneva III talks in 2016 failed to produce a resolution of the conflict. Unrest continues in Syria, and according to an April 2016 UN estimate, the death toll among Syrian Government forces, opposition forces, and civilians was over 400,000. As of December 2016, approximately 13.5 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance in Syria, with 6.3 million people displaced internally, and an additional 4.8 million Syrian refugees, making the Syrian situation the largest humanitarian crisis worldwide.

Geography

IsraelSyria
LocationMiddle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt and Lebanon
Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Lebanon and Turkey
Geographic coordinates31 30 N, 34 45 E
35 00 N, 38 00 E
Map referencesMiddle East
Middle East
Areatotal: 20,770 sq km
land: 20,330 sq km
water: 440 sq km
total: 185,180 sq km
land: 183,630 sq km
water: 1,550 sq km
note: includes 1,295 sq km of Israeli-occupied territory
Area - comparativeslightly larger than New Jersey
slightly more than 1.5 times the size of Pennsylvania
Land boundariestotal: 1,068 km
border countries (6): Egypt 208 km, Gaza Strip 59 km, Jordan 307 km, Lebanon 81 km, Syria 83 km, West Bank 330 km
total: 2,363 km
border countries (5): Iraq 599 km, Israel 83 km, Jordan 379 km, Lebanon 403 km, Turkey 899 km
Coastline273 km
193 km
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: to depth of exploitation
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
Climatetemperate; hot and dry in southern and eastern desert areas
mostly desert; hot, dry, sunny summers (June to August) and mild, rainy winters (December to February) along coast; cold weather with snow or sleet periodically in Damascus
TerrainNegev desert in the south; low coastal plain; central mountains; Jordan Rift Valley
primarily semiarid and desert plateau; narrow coastal plain; mountains in west
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 508 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Dead Sea -408 m
highest point: Har Meron 1,208 m
mean elevation: 514 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: unnamed location near Lake Tiberias -200 m
highest point: Mount Hermon 2,814 m
Natural resourcestimber, potash, copper ore, natural gas, phosphate rock, magnesium bromide, clays, sand
petroleum, phosphates, chrome and manganese ores, asphalt, iron ore, rock salt, marble, gypsum, hydropower
Land useagricultural land: 23.8%
arable land 13.7%; permanent crops 3.8%; permanent pasture 6.3%
forest: 7.1%
other: 69.1% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 75.8%
arable land 25.4%; permanent crops 5.8%; permanent pasture 44.6%
forest: 2.7%
other: 21.5% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land2,250 sq km (2012)
14,280 sq km (2012)
Natural hazardssandstorms may occur during spring and summer; droughts; periodic earthquakes
dust storms, sandstorms
volcanism: Syria's two historically active volcanoes, Es Safa and an unnamed volcano near the Turkish border have not erupted in centuries
Environment - current issueslimited arable land and natural freshwater resources pose serious constraints; desertification; air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; groundwater pollution from industrial and domestic waste, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides
deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; water pollution from raw sewage and petroleum refining wastes; inadequate potable water
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification
Geography - noteLake Tiberias (Sea of Galilee) is an important freshwater source; the Dead Sea is the second saltiest body of water in the world (after Lake Assal in Djibouti); in 2014, there were 423 settlements in the Israeli-occupied territories - 42 settlements in the Golan Heights, 381 sites in the occupied Palestinian territories to include 212 settlements and 134 outposts in the West Bank, and 35 settlements in East Jerusalem; there are no Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip because all were evacuated in 2005 (2014 est.)
the capital of Damascus - located at an oasis fed by the Barada River - is thought to be one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities; there are 42 Israeli settlements and civilian land use sites in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights (2014 est.)
Population distributionpopulation concentrated in and around Tel-Aviv, as well as around the Sea of Galilee; the south remains sparsely populated with the exception of the shore of the Gulf of Aqaba
significant population density along the Mediterranean coast; larger concentrations found in the major cities of Damascus, Aleppo (the country's largest city), and Hims (Homs); more than half of the population lives in the coastal plain, the province of Aleppo, and the Euphrates River valley
note: the ongoing civil war has altered the population distribution

Demographics

IsraelSyria
Population8,174,527 (includes populations of the Golan Heights of Golan Sub-District and also East Jerusalem, which was annexed by Israel after 1967) (July 2016 est.)
note: approximately 21,000 Israeli settlers live in the Golan Heights (2015); approximately 201,000 Israeli settlers live in East Jerusalem (2014)
17,185,170 (July 2016 est.)
note: approximately 20,500 Israeli settlers live in the Golan Heights (2014)
Age structure0-14 years: 27.73% (male 1,159,980/female 1,106,946)
15-24 years: 15.52% (male 648,199/female 620,218)
25-54 years: 37.15% (male 1,552,754/female 1,484,059)
55-64 years: 8.51% (male 340,601/female 355,382)
65 years and over: 11.09% (male 405,511/female 500,877) (2016 est.)
0-14 years: 31.95% (male 2,815,140/female 2,675,166)
15-24 years: 19.65% (male 1,711,847/female 1,664,814)
25-54 years: 39.03% (male 3,342,264/female 3,364,406)
55-64 years: 5.26% (male 447,205/female 457,525)
65 years and over: 4.11% (male 318,691/female 388,112) (2016 est.)
Median agetotal: 29.7 years
male: 29.1 years
female: 30.4 years (2016 est.)
total: 24.1 years
male: 23.7 years
female: 24.6 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate1.53% (2016 est.)
1.56% (2016 est.)
Birth rate18.3 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
21.7 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate5.2 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
4 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate2.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
-2.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 3.5 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 3.5 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
total: 15.2 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 17.5 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 12.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 82.4 years
male: 80.6 years
female: 84.4 years (2016 est.)
total population: 74.9 years
male: 72.5 years
female: 77.4 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate2.66 children born/woman (2016 est.)
2.55 children born/woman (2016 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rateNA
0.01% (2014 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Israeli(s)
adjective: Israeli
noun: Syrian(s)
adjective: Syrian
Ethnic groupsJewish 74.8% (of which Israel-born 75.6%, Europe/America/Oceania-born 16.6%, Africa-born 4.9%, Asia-born 2.9%), non-Jewish 25.2% (mostly Arab) (2015 est.)
Arab 90.3%, Kurdish, Armenian, and other 9.7%
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDSNA
900 (2014 est.)
ReligionsJewish 74.8%, Muslim 17.6%, Christian 2%, Druze 1.6%, other 4% (2015 est.)
Muslim 87% (official; includes Sunni 74% and Alawi, Ismaili, and Shia 13%), Christian 10% (includes Orthodox, Uniate, and Nestorian), Druze 3%, Jewish (few remaining in Damascus and Aleppo)
HIV/AIDS - deathsNA
less than 100 (2014 est.)
LanguagesHebrew (official), Arabic (used officially for Arab minority), English (most commonly used foreign language)
Arabic (official), Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic, Circassian, French, English
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97.8%
male: 98.7%
female: 96.8% (2011 est.)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 86.4%
male: 91.7%
female: 81% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 16 years
male: 16 years
female: 16 years (2014)
total: 9 years
male: 9 years
female: 9 years (2013)
Education expenditures5.9% of GDP (2013)
5.1% of GDP (2009)
Urbanizationurban population: 92.1% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 1.37% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
urban population: 57.7% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 1.37% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 92.3% of population
rural: 87.2% of population
total: 90.1% of population
unimproved:
urban: 7.7% of population
rural: 12.8% of population
total: 9.9% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 96.2% of population
rural: 95.1% of population
total: 95.7% of population
unimproved:
urban: 3.8% of population
rural: 4.9% of population
total: 4.3% of population (2015 est.)
Major cities - populationTel Aviv-Yafo 3.608 million; Haifa 1.097 million; JERUSALEM (proclaimed capital) 839,000 (2015)
Aleppo 3.562 million; DAMASCUS (capital) 2.566 million; Hims (Homs) 1.641 million; Hamah 1.237 million; Lattakia 781,000 (2015)
Maternal mortality rate5 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
68 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Health expenditures7.8% of GDP (2014)
3.3% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density3.62 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
1.55 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
Hospital bed density3.3 beds/1,000 population (2012)
1.5 beds/1,000 population (2012)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate25.8% (2014)
21.6% (2014)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 64.1
youth dependency ratio: 45.7
elderly dependency ratio: 18.4
potential support ratio: 5.4 (2015 est.)
total dependency ratio: 70
youth dependency ratio: 63.1
elderly dependency ratio: 6.9
potential support ratio: 14.5 (2015 est.)

Government

IsraelSyria
Country name"conventional long form: State of Israel
conventional short form: Israel
local long form: Medinat Yisra'el
local short form: Yisra'el
etymology: named after the ancient Kingdom of Israel; according to Biblical tradition, the Jewish patriarch Jacob received the name ""Israel"" (""He who struggles with God"") after he wrestled an entire night with an angel of the Lord; Jacob's 12 sons became the ancestors of the Israelites, also known as the Twelve Tribes of Israel, who formed the Kingdom of Israel
"
conventional long form: Syrian Arab Republic
conventional short form: Syria
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Arabiyah as Suriyah
local short form: Suriyah
former: United Arab Republic (with Egypt)
etymology: name ultimately derived from the ancient Assyrians who dominated northern Mesopotamia, but whose reach also extended westward to the Levant; over time, the name came to be associated more with the western area
Government typeparliamentary democracy
presidential republic; highly authoritarian regime
Capitalname: Jerusalem: note - while Israel proclaimed Jerusalem as its capital in 1950, the international community does not recognize it as such; the US, like all other countries, maintains its embassy in Tel Aviv-Yafo
geographic coordinates: 31 46 N, 35 14 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, Friday before the last Sunday in March; ends the last Sunday in October
name: Damascus
geographic coordinates: 33 30 N, 36 18 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins midnight on the last Friday in March; ends at midnight on the first Friday in November
Administrative divisions6 districts (mehozot, singular - mehoz); Central, Haifa, Jerusalem, Northern, Southern, Tel Aviv
14 provinces (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Al Hasakah, Al Ladhiqiyah (Latakia), Al Qunaytirah, Ar Raqqah, As Suwayda', Dar'a, Dayr az Zawr, Dimashq (Damascus), Halab, Hamah, Hims (Homs), Idlib, Rif Dimashq (Damascus Countryside), Tartus
Independence14 May 1948 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration)
17 April 1946 (from League of Nations mandate under French administration)
National holidayIndependence Day, 14 May (1948); note - Israel declared independence on 14 May 1948, but the Jewish calendar is lunar and the holiday may occur in April or May
Independence Day (Evacuation Day), 17 April (1946); note - celebrates the leaving of the last French troops and the proclamation of full independence
Constitutionhistory: no formal constitution; some functions of a constitution are filled by the Declaration of Establishment (1948), the Basic Laws, and the Law of Return (as amended)
amendments: proposed by Government of Israel ministers or by the Knesset; passage requires a majority vote of Knesset members and subject to Supreme Court judicial review; 11 of the 13 Basic Laws have been amended at least once, latest in 2014 (2016)
history: several previous; latest issued 15 February 2012, passed by referendum and effective 27 February 2012
amendments: proposed by the president of the republic or by one-third of the People’s Assembly members; following review by a special Assembly committee, passage requires at least three-quarters majority vote by the Assembly and approval by the president (2016)
Legal systemmixed legal system of English common law, British Mandate regulations, and Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religious laws
mixed legal system of civil and Islamic law (for family courts)
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: President Reuven RIVLIN (since 27 July 2014)
head of government: Prime Minister Binyamin NETANYAHU (since 31 March 2009)
cabinet: Cabinet selected by prime minister and approved by the Knesset
elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by the Knesset for a 7-year term (limited to 1 term); election last held on 10 June 2014 (next to be held in 2021 but can be called earlier); following legislative elections, the president, in consultation with party leaders, tasks a Knesset member (usually the member of the largest party) with forming a government
election results: Reuven RIVLIN elected president in second round; Knesset vote - Reuven RIVLIN (Likud) 63, Meir SHEETRIT (The Movement) 53 , other/invalid 4
chief of state: President Bashar al-ASAD (since 17 July 2000); Vice President Najah al-ATTAR (since 23 March 2006)
head of government: Prime Minister Imad Muhammad Dib KHAMIS (since 22 June 2016); Walid al-MUALEM (since 2006); Deputy Prime Minister Fahd Jasim al-FURAYJ, Lt. Gen. (since 2012)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority popular vote for a 7-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 3 June 2014 (next to be held in June 2021); the president appoints the vice presidents, prime minister, and deputy prime ministers
election results: Bashar al-ASAD approved as president; percent of vote - Bashar al-ASAD (Ba'th Party) 88.7%, Hassan al-NOURI (independent) 4.3%, Maher HAJJER (independent) 3.2%, other/invalid 3.8%
Legislative branchdescription: unicameral Knesset (120 seats; members directly elected in a single nationwide constituency by proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held on 17 March 2015 (next to be held in 2019 but can be called earlier)
election results: percent of vote by party - Likud 23.4%, Zionist Camp 18.7%, Joint List 10.6%, Yesh Atid 8.8%, Kulanu 7.5%, The Jewish Home 6.7%, Shas, 5.7%, Yisrael Beitenu 5.1%, UTJ 5.0%, Meretz 3.9%, Yachad 3.0%, other 1.6%; seats by party - Likud 30, Zionist Camp 24, Joint List 13, Yesh Atid 11, Kulanu 10, The Jewish Home 8, Shas 7, Yisrael Beitenu 6, UTJ 6, Meretz 5
description: unicameral People's Assembly or Majlis al-Shaab (250 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held on 13 April 2016 (next to be held in 2020)
election results: percent of vote by party - NPF 80%, other 20%; seats by party - NPF 200, other 50
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chief justice and 14 judges)
judge selection and term of office: judges selected by the Judicial Selection Committee consisting of 3 Supreme Court judges, 2 Cabinet members including the Minister of Justice as chairman, 2 Knesset members, and 2 representatives from the Israel Bar Association; judges can serve up to mandatory retirement at age 70
subordinate courts: district and magistrate courts; national and regional labor courts; special and religious courts
highest court(s): Court of Cassation (organized into civil, criminal, religious, and military divisions, each with 3 judges); Supreme Constitutional Court (consists of 7 members)
judge selection and term of office: Court of Cassation judges appointed by the Supreme Judicial Council or SJC, a judicial management body headed by the minister of justice with 7 members including the national president; judge tenure NA; Supreme Constitutional Court judges nominated by the president and appointed by the SJC; judges appointed for 4-year renewable terms
subordinate courts: courts of first instance; magistrates' courts; religious and military courts; Economic Security Court; Counterterrorism Court (established June 2012)
Political parties and leaders"Balad [Jamal ZAHALKA]
Democratic Front for Peace and Equality (HADASH) [ODEH]
Kulanu [Moshe KAHLON]
Labor [Yitzhak HERZOG]
Likud [Binyamin NETANYAHU]
Meretz [Zehava GALON]
SHAS [Arye DERI]
Tekumah/National Union (Ichud Leumi) [Uri ARIEL]
The Jewish Home (Habayit Hayehudi) [Naftali BENNETT]
The Movement (Hatnuah) [Tzipora ""Tzipi"" LIVNI]
United Arab List-Ta'al [Masud GANAIM]
United Torah Judaism or UTJ [Yaakov LITZMAN] (an alliance of three parties)
Yesh Atid [Yair LAPID]
Yisrael Beiteinu [Avigdor LIEBERMAN]
"
legal parties/alliances: Arab Socialist Union of Syria or ASU [Safwan al-QUDSI]
National Progressive Front or NPF [Bashar al-ASAD, Suleiman QADDAH] (alliance includes Arab Socialist Renaissance (Ba'th) Party [President Bashar al-ASAD], Socialist Unionist Democratic Party [Fadlallah Nasr al-DIN]
Syrian Communist Party (two branches) [Wissal Farha BAKDASH, Yusuf Rashid FAYSAL]
Syrian Social Nationalist Party or SSNP [As'ad HARDAN]
Unionist Socialist Party [Fayez ISMAIL])
Kurdish parties (considered illegal): Kurdish Azadi Party
Kurdish Democratic Accord Party (al Wifaq) [Fowzi SHINKALI]
Kurdish Democratic Left Party [Saleh KIDDO]
Kurdish Democratic Party (al Parti-Ibrahim wing) [Nasr al-Din IBRAHIM]
Kurdish Democratic Party (al Parti-Mustafa wing)
Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria or KDP-S [Saud AL-MALA]
Kurdish Democratic Patriotic/National Party
Kurdish Democratic Peace Party [Talal MOHAMMED]
Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party or KDPP-Darwish
Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party or KDPP-Muhammad
Kurdish Democratic Union Party or PYD [Salih Muslim MOHAMMAD]
Kurdish Democratic Unity Party [Kamiron Haj ABDU]
Kurdish Democratic Yekiti Party [Mahi al-Din Sheikh ALI]
Kurdish Equality Party [Namet DAOUD]
Kurdish Future Party [Rezan HASSAN]
Kurdish Green Party [ Laqman AHMI]
Kurdish Left Party [Shallal KIDDO]
Kurdish National Democratic Rally in Syria
Kurdish Reform Movement in Syria [Amjad OTHMAN]
Kurdish Reform Movement Party [ Feisal AL-YUSSEF]
Kurdish Yekiti (Union) Party
Kurdistan Communist Party [ Nejm al-Sin MALA’AMIR]
Kurdistan Democratic Party in Syria [Abdul Karim SAKKO]
Kurdistan Liberal Union [Farhad TILO]
Syrian Kurdish Democratic Party
Tiyar al-Mustaqbal [Narin MATINI]
other: Syrian Democratic Party [Mustafa QALAAJI]
Political pressure groups and leadersBreaking the Silence [Yehuda SHAUL, executive director] collects testimonies from soldiers who served in the West Bank and Gaza Strip
B'Tselem [Hagai EL-AD, executive director] monitors human rights abuses
Peace Now [Yariv OPPENHEIMER, secretary general] supports territorial concessions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip
YESHA Council [Avi ROEHD, chairman] promotes settler interests and opposes territorial compromise
Free Syrian Army
Syrian Muslim Brotherhood or SMB [Muhammad Riyad al-SHAQFAH] (operates in exile in London)
Syrian Opposition Coalition or National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces [Anas al-ABDAH]
note: there are also hundreds of local and provincial political and armed opposition groups that organize protests, provide civilian services, and stage armed attacks
International organization participationBIS, BSEC (observer), CE (observer), CERN, CICA, EBRD, FAO, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW (signatory), OSCE (partner), Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, SELEC (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
ABEDA, AFESD, AMF, CAEU, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador Ron DERMER (since 3 December 2013)
chancery: 3514 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 364-5500
FAX: [1] (202) 364-5607
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco
note: Embassy ceased operation and closed on 18 March 2014
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Mounir KOUDMANI (since 1 June 2012)
chancery: 2215 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 232-6313
FAX: [1] (202) 234-9548
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador David FRIEDMAN (since 23 May 2017)
embassy: 71 HaYarkon Street, Tel Aviv 6343229
telephone: [972] (3) 519-7475
FAX: [972] (3) 516-4390
consular agent: Haifa
chief of mission: ambassador (vacant); US Special Envoy for Syria Michael RATNEY (since 27 July 2015); note - on 6 February 2012, the US closed its embassy in Damascus; Czechia serves as protecting power for US interests in Syria
embassy: Abou Roumaneh, 2 Al Mansour Street, Damascus
mailing address: P. O. Box 29, Damascus
telephone: [963] (11) 3391-4444
FAX: [963] (11) 3391-3999
Flag descriptionwhite with a blue hexagram (six-pointed linear star) known as the Magen David (Star of David or Shield of David) centered between two equal horizontal blue bands near the top and bottom edges of the flag; the basic design resembles a traditional Jewish prayer shawl (tallit), which is white with blue stripes; the hexagram as a Jewish symbol dates back to medieval times
note: the Israeli flag proclamation states that the flag colors are sky blue and white, but the exact shade of blue has never been set and can vary from a light to a dark blue
three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black; two small, green, five-pointed stars in a horizontal line centered in the white band; the band colors derive from the Arab Liberation flag and represent oppression (black), overcome through bloody struggle (red), to be replaced by a bright future (white); identical to the former flag of the United Arab Republic (1958-1961) where the two stars represented the constituent states of Syria and Egypt; the current design dates to 1980
note: similar to the flag of Yemen, which has a plain white band, Iraq, which has an Arabic inscription centered in the white band, and that of Egypt, which has a gold Eagle of Saladin centered in the white band
National anthem"name: ""Hatikvah"" (The Hope)
lyrics/music: Naftali Herz IMBER/traditional, arranged by Samuel COHEN
note: adopted 2004, unofficial since 1948; used as the anthem of the Zionist movement since 1897; the 1888 arrangement by Samuel COHEN is thought to be based on the Romanian folk song ""Carul cu boi"" (The Ox Driven Cart)
"
"name: ""Humat ad-Diyar"" (Guardians of the Homeland)
lyrics/music: Khalil Mardam BEY/Mohammad Salim FLAYFEL and Ahmad Salim FLAYFEL
note: adopted 1936, restored 1961; between 1958 and 1961, while Syria was a member of the United Arab Republic with Egypt, the country had a different anthem
"
International law organization participationhas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; withdrew acceptance of International Criminal Court jurisdiction in 2002
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
National symbol(s)Star of David (Magen David), menorah (seven-branched lampstand); national colors: blue, white
hawk; national colors: red, white, black, green
Citizenshipcitizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Israel
dual citizenship recognized: yes, but naturalized citizens are not allowed to maintain dual citizenship
residency requirement for naturalization: 3 out of the 5 years preceding the application for naturalization
note: Israeli law (Law of Return, 5 July 1950) provides for the granting of citizenship to any Jew - defined as a person being born to a Jewish mother or having converted to Judaism while renouncing any other religion - who immigrates to and expresses a desire to settle in Israel on the basis of the Right of aliyah; the 1970 amendment of this act extended the right to family members including the spouse of a Jew, any child or grandchild, and the spouses of children and grandchildren
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Syria; if the father is unknown or stateless, the mother must be a citizen of Syria
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years

Economy

IsraelSyria
Economy - overview"Israel has a technologically advanced free market economy. Cut diamonds, high-technology equipment, and pharmaceuticals are among its leading exports. Its major imports include crude oil, grains, raw materials, and military equipment. Israel usually posts sizable trade deficits, which are offset by tourism and other service exports, as well as significant foreign investment inflows.

Between 2004 and 2013, growth averaged nearly 5% per year, led by exports. The global financial crisis of 2008-09 spurred a brief recession in Israel, but the country entered the crisis with solid fundamentals, following years of prudent fiscal policy and a resilient banking sector. Israel's economy also weathered the 2011 Arab Spring because strong trade ties outside the Middle East have insulated the economy from spillover effects.

Slowing domestic and international demand and decreased investment resulting from Israel’s uncertain security situation reduced GDP growth to an average of roughly 2.6% per year during 2014-16. Natural gas fields discovered off Israel's coast since 2009 have brightened Israel's energy security outlook. The Tamar and Leviathan fields were some of the world's largest offshore natural gas finds in the last decade. Political and regulatory issues have delayed the development of the massive Leviathan field, but production from Tamar provided a 0.8% boost to Israel's GDP in 2013 and a 0.3% boost in 2014. One of the most carbon intense OECD countries, Israel generates about 57% of its power from coal and only 2.6% from renewable sources.

Income inequality and high housing and commodity prices continue to be a concern for many Israelis. Israel's income inequality and poverty rates are among the highest of OECD countries, and there is a broad perception among the public that a small number of ""tycoons"" have a cartel-like grip over the major parts of the economy. Government officials have called for reforms to boost the housing supply and to increase competition in the banking sector to address these public grievances. Despite calls for reforms, the restricted housing supply continues to impact the well-being of younger Israelis seeking to purchase homes. Tariffs and non-tariff barriers, coupled with guaranteed prices and customs tariffs for farmers kept food prices high in 2016. Private consumption is expected to drive growth through 2017 with consumers benefitting from low inflation and a strong currency.

In the long term, Israel faces structural issues, including low labor participation rates for its fastest growing social segments - the ultraorthodox and Arab-Israeli communities. Also, Israel's progressive, globally competitive, knowledge-based technology sector employs only about 8% of the workforce, with the rest mostly employed in manufacturing and services - sectors which face downward wage pressures from global competition. Expenditures on educational institutions remain low compared to most other OECD countries with similar GDP per capita.
"
Syria's economy continues to deteriorate amid the ongoing conflict that began in 2011, declining by more than 70% from 2010 to 2016. The government has struggled to address the effects of international sanctions, widespread infrastructure damage, diminished domestic consumption and production, reduced subsidies, and high inflation, which have caused dwindling foreign exchange reserves, rising budget and trade deficits, a decreasing value of the Syrian pound, and falling household purchasing power.

During 2014, the ongoing conflict and continued unrest and economic decline worsened the humanitarian crisis and elicited a greater need for international assistance, as the number of people in need inside Syria increased from 9.3 million to 12.2 million, and the number of Syrian refugees increased from 2.2 million to more than 3.3 million.

Prior to the turmoil, Damascus had begun liberalizing economic policies, including cutting lending interest rates, opening private banks, consolidating multiple exchange rates, raising prices on some subsidized items, and establishing the Damascus Stock Exchange, but the economy remains highly regulated. Long-run economic constraints include foreign trade barriers, declining oil production, high unemployment, rising budget deficits, increasing pressure on water supplies caused by heavy use in agriculture, rapid population growth, industrial expansion, water pollution, and widespread infrastructure damage.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$297 billion (2016 est.)
$289 billion (2015 est.)
$281.9 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$50.28 billion (2015 est.)
$55.8 billion (2014 est.)
$61.9 billion (2013 est.)
note: data are in 2015 US dollars
the war-driven deterioration of the economy resulted in a disappearance of quality national level statistics in the 2012-13 period
GDP - real growth rate2.8% (2016 est.)
2.5% (2015 est.)
3.2% (2014 est.)
-9.9% (2015 est.)
-36.5% (2014 est.)
-30.9% (2013 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$34,800 (2016 est.)
$34,500 (2015 est.)
$34,300 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$2,900 (2015 est.)
NA (2013 est.)
NA (2010 est.)
note: data are in 2015 US dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 2.1%
industry: 27.3%
services: 69% (2016 est.)
agriculture: 19.5%
industry: 19%
services: 61.5% (2016 est.)
Population below poverty line22%
note: Israel's poverty line is $7.30 per person per day (2014 est.)
82.5% (2014 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 1.7%
highest 10%: 31.3% (2010)
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices)-0.5% (2016 est.)
-0.6% (2015 est.)
47.7% (2016 est.)
38.1% (2015 est.)
Labor force3.927 million (2016 est.)
3.37 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 1.1%
industry: 17.3%
services: 81.6% (2015)
agriculture: 17%
industry: 16%
services: 67% (2008 est.)
Unemployment rate5% (2016 est.)
5.3% (2015 est.)
50% (2016 est.)
50% (2015 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $80.75 billion
expenditures: $88.4 billion (2016 est.)
revenues: $494.5 million
expenditures: $2.665 billion
note: government projections for FY2016 (2016 est.)
Industrieshigh-technology products (including aviation, communications, computer-aided design and manufactures, medical electronics, fiber optics), wood and paper products, potash and phosphates, food, beverages, and tobacco, caustic soda, cement, pharmaceuticals, construction, metal products, chemical products, plastics, cut diamonds, textiles, footwear
petroleum, textiles, food processing, beverages, tobacco, phosphate rock mining, cement, oil seeds crushing, automobile assembly
Industrial production growth rate2.6% (2016 est.)
-2.4% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productscitrus, vegetables, cotton; beef, poultry, dairy products
wheat, barley, cotton, lentils, chickpeas, olives, sugar beets; beef, mutton, eggs, poultry, milk
Exports$51.61 billion (2016 est.)
$56.29 billion (2015 est.)
$2.304 billion (2016 est.)
$2.14 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiesmachinery and equipment, software, cut diamonds, agricultural products, chemicals, textiles and apparel
crude oil, minerals, petroleum products, fruits and vegetables, cotton fiber, textiles, clothing, meat and live animals, wheat
Exports - partnersUS 27.5%, Hong Kong 8%, UK 6.1%, China 4.9% (2015)
Iraq 64.7%, Saudi Arabia 11.3%, Kuwait 7.1%, UAE 6.1%, Libya 4.6% (2015)
Imports$57.9 billion (2016 est.)
$59.49 billion (2015 est.)
$5.965 billion (2016 est.)
$6.663 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesraw materials, military equipment, investment goods, rough diamonds, fuels, grain, consumer goods
machinery and transport equipment, electric power machinery, food and livestock, metal and metal products, chemicals and chemical products, plastics, yarn, paper
Imports - partnersUS 13%, China 9.3%, Switzerland 7.1%, Germany 6.1%, Belgium 5.3%, Italy 4% (2015)
Saudi Arabia 28.4%, UAE 13.9%, Iran 10.3%, Turkey 9.2%, Iraq 8.4%, China 6.2% (2015)
Debt - external$91.08 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$89.36 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$5.918 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$5.3 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange ratesnew Israeli shekels (ILS) per US dollar -
3.871 (2016 est.)
3.8869 (2015 est.)
3.8869 (2014 est.)
3.5779 (2013 est.)
3.86 (2012 est.)
Syrian pounds (SYP) per US dollar -
497.8 (2016 est.)
236.41 (2015 est.)
236.41 (2014 est.)
153.695 (2013 est.)
64.39 (2012 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year
calendar year
Public debt63.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
63.3% of GDP (2015 est.)
57.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
52% of GDP (2015 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$97.22 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$90.58 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$504.6 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$772.9 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Current Account Balance$11.56 billion (2016 est.)
$13.02 billion (2015 est.)
-$3.148 billion (2015 est.)
-$3.667 billion (2014 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$311.7 billion (2016 est.)
$24.6 billion (2014 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$243.9 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$200.5 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$203.3 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$NA
Central bank discount rate0.1% (15 December 2015)
0.25% (31 December 2014)
0.75% (31 December 2016)
5% (31 December 2015)
Commercial bank prime lending rate3.3% (31 December 2016 est.)
3.46% (31 December 2015 est.)
32% (31 December 2016 est.)
27% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$233.6 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$211.6 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$2.336 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$5.285 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$73.05 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$63.41 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$3.017 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$5.254 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of broad money$246 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$155.6 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$3.712 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$6.98 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Taxes and other revenues25.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
2% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-2.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
-8.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 10.6%
male: 10.1%
female: 11.1% (2014 est.)
total: 35.8%
male: 26.6%
female: 71.1% (2011 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 55.6%
government consumption: 22.2%
investment in fixed capital: 19.1%
investment in inventories: 1%
exports of goods and services: 29.1%
imports of goods and services: -27% (2016 est.)
household consumption: 63%
government consumption: 22.6%
investment in fixed capital: 21.2%
investment in inventories: 11.1%
exports of goods and services: 13.9%
imports of goods and services: -31.8% (2016 est.)
Gross national saving22.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
24.6% of GDP (2015 est.)
24.2% of GDP (2014 est.)
20% of GDP (2015 est.)
18.5% of GDP (2014 est.)
14.9% of GDP (2013 est.)

Energy

IsraelSyria
Electricity - production57 billion kWh (2014 est.)
21 billion kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - consumption59.83 billion kWh (2014 est.)
17 billion kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - exports4.8 billion kWh (2014 est.)
100 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - imports0 kWh (2013 est.)
1.2 billion kWh (2012 est.)
Oil - production390 bbl/day (2015 est.)
30,000 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - imports285,600 bbl/day (2015 est.)
58,260 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - exports0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - proved reserves13.95 million bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
2.5 billion bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves199 billion cu m (1 January 2016 es)
240.7 billion cu m (1 January 2016 es)
Natural gas - production7.9 billion cu m (2014 est.)
5.205 billion cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - consumption7.98 billion cu m (2014 est.)
5.205 billion cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - exports2.605 billion cu m (2011 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - imports80 million cu m (2014 est.)
249.2 million cu m (2011 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity16.25 million kW (2014 est.)
8.2 million kW (2014 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels97.4% of total installed capacity (2014 est.)
82.9% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants0% of total installed capacity (2014 est.)
16.8% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels0% of total installed capacity (2014 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources2.6% of total installed capacity (2014 est.)
0.3% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production309,600 bbl/day (2015 est.)
111,600 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption224,700 bbl/day (2015 est.)
165,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports144,000 bbl/day (2015 est.)
12,150 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports68,920 bbl/day (2015 est.)
76,050 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy62.5 million Mt (2014 est.)
49 million Mt (2013 est.)
Electricity accesselectrification - total population: 100% (2016)
population without electricity: 1,600,000
electrification - total population: 96%
electrification - urban areas: 100%
electrification - rural areas: 81% (2013)

Telecommunications

IsraelSyria
Telephones - main lines in usetotal subscriptions: 3.412 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 42 (July 2015 est.)
total subscriptions: 4.082 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 24 (July 2015 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellulartotal: 10.57 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 131 (July 2015 est.)
total: 13.904 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 81 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: most highly developed system in the Middle East
domestic: good system of coaxial cable and microwave radio relay; all systems are digital; competition among both fixed-line and mobile cellular providers results in good coverage countrywide
international: country code - 972; submarine cables provide links to Europe, Cyprus, and parts of the Middle East; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (2 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean) (2015)
general assessment: the armed insurgency that began in 2011 has led to major disruptions to the network and has caused telephone and Internet outages throughout the country
domestic: the number of fixed-line connections increased markedly prior to the civil war in 2011; mobile-cellular service stands at about 80 per 100 persons
international: country code - 963; submarine cable connection to Egypt, Lebanon, and Cyprus; satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) and 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region); coaxial cable and microwave radio relay to Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey; participant in Medarabtel (2015)
Internet country code.il
.sy
Internet userstotal: 6.35 million
percent of population: 78.9% (July 2015 est.)
total: 5.116 million
percent of population: 30% (July 2015 est.)
Broadcast mediastate broadcasting network, operated by the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA), broadcasts on 2 channels, one in Hebrew and the other in Arabic; 5 commercial channels including a channel broadcasting in Russian, a channel broadcasting Knesset proceedings, and a music channel supervised by a public body; multi-channel satellite and cable TV packages provide access to foreign channels; IBA broadcasts on 8 radio networks with multiple repeaters and Israel Defense Forces Radio broadcasts over multiple stations; about 15 privately owned radio stations; overall more than 100 stations and repeater stations (2008)
state-run TV and radio broadcast networks; state operates 2 TV networks and a satellite channel; roughly two-thirds of Syrian homes have a satellite dish providing access to foreign TV broadcasts; 3 state-run radio channels; first private radio station launched in 2005; private radio broadcasters prohibited from transmitting news or political content (2007)

Transportation

IsraelSyria
Railwaystotal: 1,250 km
standard gauge: 1,250 km 1.435-m gauge (2014)
total: 2,052 km
standard gauge: 1,801 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 251 km 1.050-m gauge (2014)
Roadwaystotal: 18,566 km
paved: 18,566 km (includes 449 km of expressways) (2011)
total: 69,873 km
paved: 63,060 km
unpaved: 6,813 km (2010)
Pipelinesgas 763 km; oil 442 km; refined products 261 km (2013)
gas 3,170 km; oil 2,029 km (2013)
Ports and terminalsmajor seaport(s): Ashdod, Elat (Eilat), Hadera, Haifa
container port(s) (TEUs): Ashdod (1,176,000), Haifa (1,238,000)
major seaport(s): Baniyas, Latakia, Tartus
Merchant marinetotal: 8
by type: cargo 1, container 7
registered in other countries: 48 (Bermuda 3, Georgia 1, Honduras 1, Liberia 34, Malta 3, Moldova 2, Panama 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 3) (2010)
total: 19
by type: bulk carrier 4, cargo 14, carrier 1
registered in other countries: 166 (Barbados 1, Belize 4, Bolivia 4, Cambodia 22, Comoros 5, Dominica 4, Georgia 24, Lebanon 2, Liberia 1, Malta 4, Moldova 5, North Korea 4, Panama 34, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 9, Sierra Leone 13, Tanzania 23, Togo 6, unknown 1) (2010)
Airports47 (2013)
90 (2013)
Airports - with paved runwaystotal: 29
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 6
914 to 1,523 m: 11
under 914 m: 5 (2013)
total: 29
over 3,047 m: 5
2,438 to 3,047 m: 16
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 5 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runwaystotal: 18
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 14 (2013)
total: 61
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 12
under 914 m: 48 (2013)
Heliports3 (2013)
6 (2013)

Military

IsraelSyria
Military branchesIsrael Defense Forces (IDF), Israel Naval Force (IN), Israel Air Force (IAF) (2010)
Syrian Armed Forces: Land Forces, Naval Forces, Air Forces (includes Air Defense Forces), Intelligence Services (Air Force Intelligence, Military Intelligence)
Ministry of Interior: Political Security Directorate, General Intelligence Directorate, National Police Force (2017)
Military service age and obligation18 years of age for compulsory (Jews, Druze) military service; 17 years of age for voluntary (Christians, Muslims, Circassians) military service; both sexes are obligated to military service; conscript service obligation - 32 months for enlisted men and 24 months for enlisted women (varies based on military occupation), 48 months for officers; pilots commit to 9 years service; reserve obligation to age 41-51 (men), age 24 (women) (2015)
18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation is 18 months; women are not conscripted but may volunteer to serve (2017)

Transnational Issues

IsraelSyria
Disputes - international"West Bank and Gaza Strip are Israeli-occupied with current status subject to the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement - permanent status to be determined through further negotiation; Israel continues construction of a ""seam line"" separation barrier along parts of the Green Line and within the West Bank; Israel withdrew its settlers and military from the Gaza Strip and from four settlements in the West Bank in August 2005; Golan Heights is Israeli-occupied (Lebanon claims the Shab'a Farms area of Golan Heights); since 1948, about 350 peacekeepers from the UN Truce Supervision Organization headquartered in Jerusalem monitor ceasefires, supervise armistice agreements, prevent isolated incidents from escalating, and assist other UN personnel in the region
"
Golan Heights is Israeli-occupied with the almost 1,000-strong UN Disengagement Observer Force patrolling a buffer zone since 1964; lacking a treaty or other documentation describing the boundary, portions of the Lebanon-Syria boundary are unclear with several sections in dispute; since 2000, Lebanon has claimed Shab'a Farms in the Golan Heights; 2004 Agreement and pending demarcation would settle border dispute with Jordan
Illicit drugsincreasingly concerned about ecstasy, cocaine, and heroin abuse; drugs arrive in country from Lebanon and, increasingly, from Jordan; money-laundering center
a transit point for opiates, hashish, and cocaine bound for regional and Western markets; weak anti-money-laundering controls and bank privatization may leave it vulnerable to money laundering
Refugees and internally displaced personsrefugees (country of origin): 27,812 (Eritrea) (2016)
stateless persons: 42 (2016)
refugees (country of origin): 560,000 (Palestinian Refugees) (2016); 16,879 (Iraq)
note: the ongoing civil war has more than 5.1 million Syrian refugees - dispersed in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey - as of July 2017
IDPs: 6.3 million (ongoing civil war since 2011) (2017)
stateless persons: 160,000 (2016); note - Syria's stateless population consists of Kurds and Palestinians; stateless persons are prevented from voting, owning land, holding certain jobs, receiving food subsidies or public healthcare, enrolling in public schools, or being legally married to Syrian citizens; in 1962, some 120,000 Syrian Kurds were stripped of their Syrian citizenship, rendering them and their descendants stateless; in 2011, the Syrian Government granted citizenship to thousands of Syrian Kurds as a means of appeasement; however, resolving the question of statelessness is not a priority given Syria's ongoing civil war

Source: CIA Factbook