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Syria Government Profile 2017

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Country nameconventional 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 typepresidential republic; highly authoritarian regime
Capitalname: 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 divisions14 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
Independence17 April 1946 (from League of Nations mandate under French administration)
National holidayIndependence Day (Evacuation Day), 17 April (1946); note - celebrates the leaving of the last French troops and the proclamation of full independence
Constitutionhistory: 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 civil and Islamic law (for family courts)
International law organization participationhas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
Citizenshipcitizenship 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
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief 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 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): 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 leaderslegal 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 leadersFree 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 participationABEDA, 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 USnote: 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 (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 descriptionthree 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 symbol(s)hawk; national colors: red, white, black, green
National anthemname: "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

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on July 9, 2017

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