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Syria vs. Lebanon

Introduction

SyriaLebanon
Background

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'ath 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 Syrian troops - stationed in Lebanon since 1976 in an ostensible peacekeeping role - were withdrawn in April 2005.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 efforts to quell unrest and armed opposition activity led to extended clashes and eventually civil war between government forces, their allies, and oppositionists.

International pressure on the ASAD regime intensified after 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. In September 2015, Russia launched a military intervention on behalf of the ASAD regime, and domestic and foreign government-aligned forces recaptured swaths of territory from opposition forces, and eventually the country’s second largest city, Aleppo, in December 2016, shifting the conflict in the regime’s favor. The regime, with this foreign support, also recaptured opposition strongholds in the Damascus suburbs and the southern province of Dar’a in 2018. The government lacks territorial control over much of the northeastern part of the country, which is dominated by the predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The SDF has expanded its territorial hold over much of the northeast since 2014 as it has captured territory from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Since 2016, Turkey has also conducted three large-scale military operations into Syria, capturing territory along Syria's northern border in the provinces of Aleppo, Ar Raqqah, and Al Hasakah. Political negotiations between the government and opposition delegations at UN-sponsored Geneva conferences since 2014 have failed to produce a resolution of the conflict. Since early 2017, Iran, Russia, and Turkey have held separate political negotiations outside of UN auspices to attempt to reduce violence in Syria. According to an April 2016 UN estimate, the death toll among Syrian Government forces, opposition forces, and civilians was over 400,000, though other estimates placed the number well over 500,000. As of December 2019, approximately 6 million Syrians were internally displaced. Approximately 11.1 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance across the country, and an additional 5.7 million Syrians were registered refugees in Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, and North Africa. The conflict in Syria remains one of the largest humanitarian crises worldwide.

Following World War I, France acquired a mandate over the northern portion of the former Ottoman Empire province of Syria. The French demarcated the region of Lebanon in 1920 and granted this area independence in 1943. Since independence, the country has been marked by periods of political turmoil interspersed with prosperity built on its position as a regional center for finance and trade. The country's 1975-90 civil war, which resulted in an estimated 120,000 fatalities, was followed by years of social and political instability. Sectarianism is a key element of Lebanese political life. Neighboring Syria has historically influenced Lebanon's foreign policy and internal policies, and its military occupied Lebanon from 1976 until 2005. The Lebanon-based Hizballah militia and Israel continued attacks and counterattacks against each other after Syria's withdrawal, and fought a brief war in 2006. Lebanon's borders with Syria and Israel remain unresolved.

Geography

SyriaLebanon
Location
Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Lebanon and Turkey
Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Israel and Syria
Geographic coordinates
35 00 N, 38 00 E
33 50 N, 35 50 E
Map references
Middle East
Middle East
Area
total: 187,437 sq km
land: 185,887 sq km
water: 1,550 sq km

note: includes 1,295 sq km of Israeli-occupied territory

total: 10,400 sq km
land: 10,230 sq km
water: 170 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly more than 1.5 times the size of Pennsylvania
about one-third the size of Maryland
Land boundaries
total: 2,343 km
border countries (5): Iraq 599 km, Israel 79 km, Jordan 362 km, Lebanon 394 km, Turkey 909 km
total: 484 km
border countries (2): Israel 81 km, Syria 403 km
Coastline
193 km
225 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
Climate
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
Mediterranean; mild to cool, wet winters with hot, dry summers; the Lebanon Mountains experience heavy winter snows
Terrain
primarily semiarid and desert plateau; narrow coastal plain; mountains in west
narrow coastal plain; El Beqaa (Bekaa Valley) separates Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon Mountains
Elevation extremes
mean elevation: 514 m
lowest point: unnamed location near Lake Tiberias -208 m
highest point: Mount Hermon (Jabal a-Shayk) 2,814 m
mean elevation: 1,250 m
lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Qornet es Saouda 3,088 m
Natural resources
petroleum, phosphates, chrome and manganese ores, asphalt, iron ore, rock salt, marble, gypsum, hydropower
limestone, iron ore, salt, water-surplus state in a water-deficit region, arable land
Land use
agricultural land: 75.8% (2011 est.)
arable land: 25.4% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 5.8% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 44.6% (2011 est.)
forest: 2.7% (2011 est.)
other: 21.5% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 63.3% (2011 est.)
arable land: 11.9% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 12.3% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 39.1% (2011 est.)
forest: 13.4% (2011 est.)
other: 23.3% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land
14,280 sq km (2012)
1,040 sq km (2012)
Natural hazards

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

earthquakes; dust storms, sandstorms
Environment - current issues
deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; depletion of water resources; water pollution from raw sewage and petroleum refining wastes; inadequate potable water
deforestation; soil deterioration, erosion; desertification; species loss; air pollution in Beirut from vehicular traffic and the burning of industrial wastes; pollution of coastal waters from raw sewage and oil spills; waste-water management
Environment - international agreements
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
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Marine Life Conservation
Geography - note
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-controlled Golan Heights (2017)
smallest country in continental Asia; Nahr el Litani is the only major river in Near East not crossing an international boundary; rugged terrain historically helped isolate, protect, and develop numerous factional groups based on religion, clan, and ethnicity
Population distribution
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 Halab, and the Euphrates River valley

note: the ongoing civil war has altered the population distribution

the majority of the people live on or near the Mediterranean coast, and of these most live in and around the capital, Beirut; favorable growing conditions in the Bekaa Valley, on the southeastern side of the Lebanon Mountains, have attracted farmers and thus the area exhibits a smaller population density

Demographics

SyriaLebanon
Population
19,398,448 (July 2020 est.)

note: approximately 22,000 Israeli settlers live in the Golan Heights (2016)

5,469,612 (July 2020 est.)
Age structure
0-14 years: 33.47% (male 3,323,072/female 3,170,444)
15-24 years: 19.34% (male 1,872,903/female 1,879,564)
25-54 years: 37.31% (male 3,558,241/female 3,679,596)
55-64 years: 5.41% (male 516,209/female 534,189)
65 years and over: 4.46% (male 404,813/female 459,417) (2020 est.)
0-14 years: 20.75% (male 581,015/female 554,175)
15-24 years: 14.98% (male 417,739/female 401,357)
25-54 years: 46.69% (male 1,296,250/female 1,257,273)
55-64 years: 9.62% (male 250,653/female 275,670)
65 years and over: 7.96% (male 187,001/female 248,479) (2020 est.)
Median age
total: 23.5 years
male: 23 years
female: 24 years (2020 est.)
total: 33.7 years
male: 33.1 years
female: 34.4 years (2020 est.)
Population growth rate
4.25% NA (2020 est.)
-6.68% (2020 est.)
Birth rate
23.8 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
13.6 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Death rate
4.5 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
5.4 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Net migration rate
27.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population NA (2020 est.)
-88.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Sex ratio
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female
total population: 99.5 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population: 99.8 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
Infant mortality rate
total: 16.5 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 18.1 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 14.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
total: 6.8 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 7.2 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 6.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
Life expectancy at birth
total population: 73.7 years
male: 72.3 years
female: 75.3 years (2020 est.)
total population: 78.3 years
male: 76.9 years
female: 79.8 years (2020 est.)
Total fertility rate
2.9 children born/woman (2020 est.)
1.71 children born/woman (2020 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate
<.1% (2019)
<.1% (2019 est.)
Nationality
noun: Syrian(s)
adjective: Syrian
noun: Lebanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Lebanese
Ethnic groups
Arab ~50%, Alawite ~15%, Kurd ~10%, Levantine ~10%, other ~15% (includes Druze, Ismaili, Imami, Nusairi, Assyrian, Turkoman, Armenian)
Arab 95%, Armenian 4%, other 1%

note: many Christian Lebanese do not identify themselves as Arab but rather as descendants of the ancient Canaanites and prefer to be called Phoenicians

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS
<1000 (2019)
2,700 (2019 est.)
Religions
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)
note:  the Christian population may be considerably smaller as a result of Christians fleeing the country during the ongoing civil war
Muslim 61.1% (30.6% Sunni, 30.5% Shia, smaller percentages of Alawites and Ismailis), Christian 33.7% (Maronite Catholics are the largest Christian group), Druze 5.2%, very small numbers of Jews, Baha'is, Buddhists, and Hindus (2018 est.)

note: data represent the religious affiliation of the citizen population (data do not include Lebanon's sizable Syrian and Palestinian refugee populations); 18 religious sects recognized

HIV/AIDS - deaths
<100 (2019)
<100 (2019 est.)
Languages
Arabic (official), Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic, Circassian, French, English
Arabic (official), French, English, Armenian
Literacy
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 86.4%
male: 91.7%
female: 81% (2015)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 95.1%
male: 96.9%
female: 93.3% (2018)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)
total: 9 years
male: 9 years
female: 9 years (2013)
total: 11 years
male: 12 years
female: 11 years (2014)
Education expenditures
5.1% of GDP (2009)
2.5% of GDP (2013)
Urbanization
urban population: 55.5% of total population (2020)
rate of urbanization: 1.43% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
urban population: 88.9% of total population (2020)
rate of urbanization: 0.75% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Drinking water source
improved: urban: 99% of population
rural: 99.3% of population
total: 99.4% of population
unimproved: urban: 1% of population
rural: 0.7% of population
total: 0.6% of population (2017 est.)
improved: total: 100% of population
unimproved: total: 0% of population (2017 est.)
Sanitation facility access
improved: urban: 99.6% of population
rural: 98.6% of population
total: 99.1% of population
unimproved: urban: 0.4% of population
rural: 1.4% of population
total: 0.9% of population (2017 est.)
improved: total: 99% of population
unimproved: total: 1% of population (2017 est.)
Major cities - population
2.392 million DAMASCUS (capital), 1.917 million Aleppo, 1.336 million Hims (Homs), 922,000 Hamah (2020)
2.424 million BEIRUT (capital) (2020)
Maternal mortality rate
31 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
29 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
Physicians density
1.29 physicians/1,000 population (2016)
2.03 physicians/1,000 population (2017)
Hospital bed density
1.4 beds/1,000 population (2017)
2.7 beds/1,000 population (2017)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate
27.8% (2016)
32% (2016)
Contraceptive prevalence rate
Dependency ratios
total dependency ratio: 55.4
youth dependency ratio: 47.8
elderly dependency ratio: 7.6
potential support ratio: 13.2 (2020 est.)
total dependency ratio: 48.4
youth dependency ratio: 37.2
elderly dependency ratio: 11.2
potential support ratio: 8.9 (2020 est.)

Government

SyriaLebanon
Country name
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
conventional long form: Lebanese Republic
conventional short form: Lebanon
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Lubnaniyah
local short form: Lubnan
former: Greater Lebanon
etymology: derives from the Semitic root "lbn" meaning "white" and refers to snow-capped Mount Lebanon
Government type
presidential republic; highly authoritarian regime
parliamentary republic
Capital
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 last Friday in October
etymology: Damascus is a very old city; its earliest name, Temeseq, first appears in an Egyptian geographical list of the 15th century B.C., but the meaning is uncertain
name: Beirut
geographic coordinates: 33 52 N, 35 30 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
etymology: derived from the Canaanite or Phoenician word "ber'ot," meaning "the wells" or "fountain," which referred to the site's accessible water table
Administrative divisions
14 provinces (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Al Hasakah, Al Ladhiqiyah (Latakia), Al Qunaytirah, Ar Raqqah, As Suwayda', Dar'a, Dayr az Zawr, Dimashq (Damascus), Halab (Aleppo), Hamah, Hims (Homs), Idlib, Rif Dimashq (Damascus Countryside), Tartus
8 governorates (mohafazat, singular - mohafazah); Aakkar, Baalbek-Hermel, Beqaa (Bekaa), Beyrouth (Beirut), Liban-Nord (North Lebanon), Liban-Sud (South Lebanon), Mont-Liban (Mount Lebanon), Nabatiye
Independence
17 April 1946 (from League of Nations mandate under French administration)
22 November 1943 (from League of Nations mandate under French administration)
National holiday
Independence Day (Evacuation Day), 17 April (1946); note - celebrates the leaving of the last French troops and the proclamation of full independence
Independence Day, 22 November (1943)
Constitution
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
history: drafted 15 May 1926, adopted 23 May 1926
amendments: proposed by the president of the republic and introduced as a government bill to the National Assembly or proposed by at least 10 members of the Assembly and agreed upon by two thirds of its members; if proposed by the National Assembly, review and approval by two-thirds majority of the Cabinet is required; if approved, the proposal is next submitted to the Cabinet for drafting as an amendment; Cabinet approval requires at least two-thirds majority, followed by submission to the National Assembly for discussion and vote; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote of a required two-thirds quorum of the Assembly membership and promulgation by the president; amended several times, last in 1989
Legal system
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal
21 years of age; authorized for all men and women regardless of religion; excludes persons convicted of felonies and other crimes or those imprisoned; excludes all military and security service personnel regardless of rank
Executive branch
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 Hussein ARNOUS (since 30 August 2020); Deputy Prime Minister Ali Abdullah AYOUB (Gen.) (since 30 August 2020)
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 elected 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%
chief of state: President Michel AWN (since 31 October 2016)
head of government:  Prime Minister Saad HARIRI (since 22 October 2020)
cabinet: Cabinet chosen by the prime minister in consultation with the president and National Assembly
elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by the National Assembly with two-thirds majority vote in the first round and if needed absolute majority vote in a second round for a 6-year term (eligible for non-consecutive terms); last held on 31 October 2016 (next to be held in 2022); prime minister appointed by the president in consultation with the National Assembly; deputy prime minister determined during cabinet formation
election results: Michel AWN elected president in second round; National Assembly vote - Michel AWN (FPM) 83; note - in the initial election held on 23 April 2014, no candidate received the required two-thirds vote, and subsequent attempts failed because the Assembly lacked the necessary quorum to hold a vote; the president was finally elected in its 46th attempt on 31 October 2016
Legislative branch
description: unicameral People's Assembly or Majlis al-Shaab (250 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by simple majority preferential vote to serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held on 19 July 2020 (next to be held in 2024)
election results: percent of vote by party - NPF 80%, other 20%; seats by party - NPF 200, other 50; composition - men 217, women 33, percent of women 13.2%
description: unicameral National Assembly or Majlis al-Nuwab in Arabic or Assemblee Nationale in French (128 seats; members directly elected by listed-based proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms); prior to 2017, the electoral system was by majoritarian vote
elections: last held on 6 May 2018 (next to be held in 2022)
election results: percent of vote by coalition - NA; seats by coalition – Strong Lebanon Bloc (Free Patriotic Movement-led) 25; Future Bloc (Future Movement-led) 20; Development and Liberation Bloc (Amal Movement-led) 16; Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc (Hizballah-led) 15; Strong Republic Bloc (Lebanese Forces-led) 15; Democratic Gathering (Progressive Socialist Party-led) 9; Independent Centre Bloc 4; National Bloc (Marada Movement-led) 3; Syrian Social Nationalist Party 3; Tashnaq 3; Kata’ib 3; other 8; independent 4;  composition - men 122, women 6, percent of women 4.6%

note: Lebanon’s constitution states the National Assembly cannot conduct regular business until it elects a president when the position is vacant

Judicial branch
highest courts: 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 (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 serve 4-year renewable terms
subordinate courts: courts of first instance; magistrates' courts; religious and military courts; Economic Security Court; Counterterrorism Court (established June 2012)
highest courts: Court of Cassation or Supreme Court (organized into 8 chambers, each with a presiding judge and 2 associate judges); Constitutional Council (consists of 10 members)
judge selection and term of office: Court of Cassation judges appointed by Supreme Judicial Council, a 10-member body headed by the chief justice, and includes other judicial officials; judge tenure NA; Constitutional Council members appointed - 5 by the Council of Ministers and 5 by parliament; members serve 5-year terms
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; Courts of First Instance; specialized tribunals, religious courts; military courts
Political parties and leaders
legal parties/alliances:
Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party [Bashar al-ASAD, regional secretary]
Arab Socialist Renaissance (Ba'th) Party [President Bashar al-ASAD]
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, Socialist Unionist Democratic Party)
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 [Ali HAIDAR]
Unionist Socialist Party [Fayez ISMAIL]

Major Kurdish parties
 
Kurdish Democratic Union Party or PYD [Shahoz HASAN and Aysha HISSO]
Kurdish National Council [Sa'ud MALA]
 
other: Syrian Democratic Party [Mustafa QALAAJI]

Al-Ahbash or Association of Islamic Charitable Projects [Adnan TARABULSI]
Amal Movement [Nabih BERRI]
Azm Movement [Najib MIQATI]
Ba’th Arab Socialist Party of Lebanon [Fayiz SHUKR]
Free Patriotic Movement or FPM [Gibran BASSIL]
Future Movement Bloc [Sa'ad al-HARIRI]
Hizballah [Hassan NASRALLAH]
Islamic Actions Front [Sheikh Zuhayr al-JU’AYD]
Kata'ib Party [Sami GEMAYEL]
Lebanese Democratic Party [Talal ARSLAN]
Lebanese Forces or LF [Samir JA'JA]
Marada Movement [Sulayman FRANJIEH]
Progressive Socialist Party or PSP [Walid JUNBLATT]
Social Democrat Hunshaqian Party [Sabuh KALPAKIAN]Syrian Social Nationalist Party [Ali QANSO]
Syrian Social Nationalist Party [Hanna al-NASHIF]
Tashnaq or Armenian Revolutionary Federation [Hagop PAKRADOUNIAN]

International organization participation
ABEDA, AFESD, AMF, CAEU, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, ICSID, 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, WBG, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
ABEDA, AFESD, AMF, CAEU, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAS, MIGA, NAM, OAS (observer), OIC, OIF, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in the US
Ambassador (vacant)
chancery: 2215 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 232-6313
FAX: [1] (202) 234-9548

note: Embassy ceased operations and closed on 18 March 2014

Ambassador Gabriel ISSA (since 24 January 2018)
chancery: 2560 28th Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 939-6300
FAX: [1] (202) 939-6324
consulate(s) general: Detroit, New York, Los Angeles
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); note - on 6 February 2012, the US closed its embassy in Damascus; Czechia serves as a protecting power for US interests in Syria
telephone: [963] (11) 3391-4444
embassy: Abou Roumaneh, 2 Al Mansour Street, Damascus
mailing address: P. O. Box 29, Damascus
FAX: [963] (11) 3391-3999
chief of mission: Ambassador Dorothy SHEA (since 11 March 2020)
telephone: [961] (04) 543 600
embassy: Awkar-Facing the Municipality, Main Street, Beirut
mailing address: P. O. Box 70-840, Antelias, Lebanon; from US: US Embassy Beirut, 6070 Beirut Place, Washington, DC 20521-6070
FAX: [961] (4) 544136
Flag description
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

three horizontal bands consisting of red (top), white (middle, double width), and red (bottom) with a green cedar tree centered in the white band; the red bands symbolize blood shed for liberation, the white band denotes peace, the snow of the mountains, and purity; the green cedar tree is the symbol of Lebanon and represents eternity, steadiness, happiness, and prosperity
National anthem
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

name: "Kulluna lil-watan" (All Of Us, For Our Country!)
lyrics/music: Rachid NAKHLE/Wadih SABRA

note: adopted 1927; chosen following a nationwide competition

International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICC
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
National symbol(s)
hawk; national colors: red, white, black, green
cedar tree; national colors: red, white, green
Citizenship
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
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Lebanon
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: unknown

Economy

SyriaLebanon
Economy - overview

Syria's economy has deeply deteriorated amid the ongoing conflict that began in 2011, declining by more than 70% from 2010 to 2017. The government has struggled to fully 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. In 2017, some economic indicators began to stabilize, including the exchange rate and inflation, but economic activity remains depressed and GDP almost certainly fell.

During 2017, the ongoing conflict and continued unrest and economic decline worsened the humanitarian crisis, necessitating high levels of international assistance, as more than 13 million people remain in need inside Syria, and the number of registered Syrian refugees increased from 4.8 million in 2016 to more than 5.4 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, industrial contaction, water pollution, and widespread infrastructure damage.

Lebanon has a free-market economy and a strong laissez-faire commercial tradition. The government does not restrict foreign investment; however, the investment climate suffers from red tape, corruption, arbitrary licensing decisions, complex customs procedures, high taxes, tariffs, and fees, archaic legislation, and inadequate intellectual property rights protection. The Lebanese economy is service-oriented; main growth sectors include banking and tourism.

The 1975-90 civil war seriously damaged Lebanon's economic infrastructure, cut national output by half, and derailed Lebanon's position as a Middle Eastern banking hub. Following the civil war, Lebanon rebuilt much of its war-torn physical and financial infrastructure by borrowing heavily, mostly from domestic banks, which saddled the government with a huge debt burden. Pledges of economic and financial reforms made at separate international donor conferences during the 2000s have mostly gone unfulfilled, including those made during the Paris III Donor Conference in 2007, following the July 2006 war. The "CEDRE" investment event hosted by France in April 2018 again rallied the international community to assist Lebanon with concessional financing and some grants for capital infrastructure improvements, conditioned upon long-delayed structural economic reforms in fiscal management, electricity tariffs, and transparent public procurement, among many others.

The Syria conflict cut off one of Lebanon's major markets and a transport corridor through the Levant. The influx of nearly one million registered and an estimated 300,000 unregistered Syrian refugees has increased social tensions and heightened competition for low-skill jobs and public services. Lebanon continues to face several long-term structural weaknesses that predate the Syria crisis, notably, weak infrastructure, poor service delivery, institutionalized corruption, and bureaucratic over-regulation. Chronic fiscal deficits have increased Lebanon’s debt-to-GDP ratio, the third highest in the world; most of the debt is held internally by Lebanese banks. These factors combined to slow economic growth to the 1-2% range in 2011-17, after four years of averaging 8% growth. Weak economic growth limits tax revenues, while the largest government expenditures remain debt servicing, salaries for government workers, and transfers to the electricity sector. These limitations constrain other government spending, limiting its ability to invest in necessary infrastructure improvements, such as water, electricity, and transportation. In early 2018, the Lebanese government signed long-awaited contract agreements with an international consortium for petroleum exploration and production as part of the country’s first offshore licensing round. Exploration is expected to begin in 2019.

GDP (purchasing power parity)
$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
$88.25 billion (2017 est.)
$86.94 billion (2016 est.)
$85.45 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP - real growth rate
-36.5% (2014 est.)
-30.9% (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 dollars

1.5% (2017 est.)
1.7% (2016 est.)
0.2% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)
$2,900 (2015 est.)
$3,300 (2014 est.)
$2,800 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

$19,600 (2017 est.)
$19,500 (2016 est.)
$19,300 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP - composition by sector
agriculture: 20% (2017 est.)
industry: 19.5% (2017 est.)
services: 60.8% (2017 est.)
agriculture: 3.9% (2017 est.)
industry: 13.1% (2017 est.)
services: 83% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line
82.5% (2014 est.)
28.6% (2004 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
28.1% (2017 est.)
47.3% (2016 est.)
4.5% (2017 est.)
-0.8% (2016 est.)
Labor force
3.767 million (2017 est.)
2.166 million (2016 est.)

note: excludes as many as 1 million foreign workers and refugees

Labor force - by occupation
agriculture: 17%
industry: 16%
services: 67% (2008 est.)
agriculture: 39% NA (2009 est.)
industry: NA
services: NA
Unemployment rate
50% (2017 est.)
50% (2016 est.)
9.7% (2007)
Budget
revenues: 1.162 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 3.211 billion (2017 est.)

note: government projections for FY2016

revenues: 11.62 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 15.38 billion (2017 est.)
Industries
petroleum, textiles, food processing, beverages, tobacco, phosphate rock mining, cement, oil seeds crushing, automobile assembly
banking, tourism, real estate and construction, food processing, wine, jewelry, cement, textiles, mineral and chemical products, wood and furniture products, oil refining, metal fabricating
Industrial production growth rate
4.3% (2017 est.)
-21.1% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - products
wheat, barley, cotton, lentils, chickpeas, olives, sugar beets; beef, mutton, eggs, poultry, milk
citrus, grapes, tomatoes, apples, vegetables, potatoes, olives, tobacco; sheep, goats
Exports
$1.85 billion (2017 est.)
$1.705 billion (2016 est.)
$3.524 billion (2017 est.)
$3.689 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commodities
crude oil, minerals, petroleum products, fruits and vegetables, cotton fiber, textiles, clothing, meat and live animals, wheat
jewelry, base metals, chemicals, consumer goods, fruit and vegetables, tobacco, construction minerals, electric power machinery and switchgear, textile fibers, paper
Exports - partners
Lebanon 31.5%, Iraq 10.3%, Jordan 8.8%, China 7.8%, Turkey 7.5%, Spain 7.3% (2017)
China 13%, UAE 9.9%, South Africa 7.5%, Saudi Arabia 6.5%, Syria 6.5%, Iraq 5.8%, Turkey 4.6% (2017)
Imports
$6.279 billion (2017 est.)
$5.496 billion (2016 est.)
$18.34 billion (2017 est.)
$17.71 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commodities
machinery and transport equipment, electric power machinery, food and livestock, metal and metal products, chemicals and chemical products, plastics, yarn, paper
petroleum products, cars, medicinal products, clothing, meat and live animals, consumer goods, paper, textile fabrics, tobacco, electrical machinery and equipment, chemicals
Imports - partners
Russia 32.4%, Turkey 16.7%, China 9.5% (2017)
China 10.2%, Italy 8.9%, Greece 7%, Germany 6.6%, US 6.3%, Turkey 4.5%, Egypt 4.2% (2017)
Debt - external
$4.989 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$5.085 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$39.3 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$36.6 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Exchange rates
Syrian pounds (SYP) per US dollar -
514.6 (2017 est.)
459.2 (2016 est.)
459.2 (2015 est.)
236.41 (2014 est.)
153.695 (2013 est.)
Lebanese pounds (LBP) per US dollar -
1,507.5 (2017 est.)
1,507.5 (2016 est.)
1,507.5 (2015 est.)
1,507.5 (2014 est.)
1,507.5 (2013 est.)
Fiscal year
calendar year
calendar year
Public debt
94.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
91.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
146.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
145.5% of GDP (2016 est.)

note: data cover central government debt and exclude debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intragovernmental debt; intragovernmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold
$407.3 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$504.6 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$55.42 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$54.04 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Current Account Balance
-$2.123 billion (2017 est.)
-$2.077 billion (2016 est.)
-$12.37 billion (2017 est.)
-$11.18 billion (2016 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)
$24.6 billion (2014 est.)
$54.18 billion (2017 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares

NA

$11.22 billion (30 December 2014 est.)
$10.54 billion (30 December 2013 est.)
$10.42 billion (28 December 2012 est.)
Central bank discount rate
0.75% (31 December 2017)
5% (31 December 2016)
10% (31 December 2017)
10% (31 December 2016)
Commercial bank prime lending rate
14% (31 December 2017 est.)
22% (31 December 2016 est.)
8.29% (31 December 2017 est.)
8.35% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit
$9.161 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$5.786 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$108.2 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$104 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money
$7.272 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$4.333 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$7.047 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$6.739 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money
$7.272 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$4.333 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$7.047 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$6.739 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues
4.2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
21.5% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)
-8.7% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
-6.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use
household consumption: 73.1% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 26% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 18.6% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 12.3% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 16.1% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -46.1% (2017 est.)
household consumption: 87.6% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 13.3% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 21.8% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 0.5% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 23.6% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -46.4% (2017 est.)
Gross national saving
17% of GDP (2017 est.)
15.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
16.1% of GDP (2015 est.)
-0.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
0.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
4.5% of GDP (2015 est.)

Energy

SyriaLebanon
Electricity - production
17.07 billion kWh (2016 est.)
17.59 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - consumption
14.16 billion kWh (2016 est.)
15.71 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - exports
262 million kWh (2015 est.)
0 kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - imports
0 kWh (2016 est.)
69 million kWh (2016 est.)
Oil - production
25,000 bbl/day (2018 est.)
0 bbl/day (2018 est.)
Oil - imports
87,660 bbl/day (2015 est.)
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - exports
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - proved reserves
2.5 billion bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves
240.7 billion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)
0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
Natural gas - production
3.738 billion cu m (2017 est.)
0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - consumption
3.738 billion cu m (2017 est.)
0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - exports
0 cu m (2017 est.)
0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - imports
0 cu m (2017 est.)
0 cu m (2017 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity
9.058 million kW (2016 est.)
2.346 million kW (2016 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels
83% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
88% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants
17% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
11% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels
0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources
0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
1% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production
111,600 bbl/day (2015 est.)
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption
134,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
154,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports
12,520 bbl/day (2015 est.)
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports
38,080 bbl/day (2015 est.)
151,100 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy
27.51 million Mt (2017 est.)
23.36 million Mt (2017 est.)
Electricity access
population without electricity: 1 million (2017)
electrification - total population: 92% (2017)
electrification - urban areas: 100% (2017)
electrification - rural areas: 84% (2017)
electrification - total population: 100% (2020)

Telecommunications

SyriaLebanon
Telephones - main lines in use
total subscriptions: 3,097,164
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 16.66 (2019 est.)
total subscriptions: 752,547
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 12.87 (2019 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellular
total subscriptions: 21.115 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 113.58 (2019 est.)
total subscriptions: 3,614,797
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 61.82 (2019 est.)
Internet country code
.sy
.lb
Internet users
total: 6,077,510
percent of population: 34.25% (July 2018 est.)
total: 4,769,039
percent of population: 78.18% (July 2018 est.)
Telecommunication systems
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; 2018 saw some stabilizing; telecoms have become decentralized; fairly high mobile penetration of 98%; potential for growth given that subscription numbers are low; remote areas rely on expensive satellite communications; mobile broadband infrastructure is predominantly 3G for about 85% of the population; LTE launched in 2017; Syria has two mobile telephone operators (2020)
domestic: the number of fixed-line connections increased markedly prior to the civil war in 2011 and now stands at 17 per 100; mobile-cellular service stands at about 114 per 100 persons (2019)
international: country code - 963; landing points for the Aletar, BERYTAR and UGART submarine cable connections 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 (2019)
note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated
general assessment: two mobile-cellular networks provide good service, with 4G LTE services; future improvements to fiber-optic infrastructure for total nation coverage proposed by 2020; in 2018 first successful 5G trial conducted and in 2019 first live mobile 5G site launched, unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted telecoms industry and pricing has been raised (2020)
domestic: fixed-line 13 per 100 and 62 per 100 for mobile-cellular subscriptions (2019)
international: country code - 961; landing points for the IMEWE, BERYTAR AND CADMOS submarine cable links to Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 1 Atlantic Ocean) (2019)
note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated
Broadband - fixed subscriptions
total: 1,328,688
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 7 (2018 est.)
total: 9,395
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2018 est.)
Broadcast media
state-run TV and radio broadcast networks; state operates 2 TV networks and 5 satellite channels; 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 (2018)
7 TV stations, 1 of which is state owned; more than 30 radio stations, 1 of which is state owned; satellite and cable TV services available; transmissions of at least 2 international broadcasters are accessible through partner stations (2019)

Transportation

SyriaLebanon
Railways
total: 2,052 km (2014)
standard gauge: 1,801 km 1.435-m gauge (2014)
narrow gauge: 251 km 1.050-m gauge (2014)
total: 401 km (2017)
standard gauge: 319 km 1.435-m gauge (2017)
narrow gauge: 82 km 1.050-m gauge (2017)

note: rail system is still unusable due to damage sustained from fighting in the 1980s and in 2006

Roadways
total: 69,873 km (2010)
paved: 63,060 km (2010)
unpaved: 6,813 km (2010)
total: 21,705 km (2017)
Pipelines
3170 km gas, 2029 km oil (2013)
88 km gas (2013)
Ports and terminals
major seaport(s): Baniyas, Latakia, Tartus
major seaport(s): Beirut, Tripoli
container port(s) (TEUs): Beirut (1,305,038) (2017)
Merchant marine
total: 25
by type: bulk carrier 1, general cargo 10, other 14 (2019)
total: 55
by type: bulk carrier 2, container ship 1, general cargo 39, oil tanker 1, other 12 (2019)
Airports
total: 90 (2013)
total: 8 (2013)
Airports - with paved runways
total: 29 (2013)
over 3,047 m: 5 (2013)
2,438 to 3,047 m: 16 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2013)
under 914 m: 5 (2013)
total: 5 (2019)
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 1
Airports - with unpaved runways
total: 61 (2013)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 12 (2013)
under 914 m: 48 (2013)
total: 3 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2013)
under 914 m: 1 (2013)
Heliports
6 (2013)
1 (2013)
National air transport system
number of registered air carriers: 3 (2020)
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 11
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 17,896 (2018)
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 30,000 mt-km (2018)
number of registered air carriers: 1 (2020)
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 21
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 2,981,937 (2018)
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 56.57 million mt-km (2018)
Civil aircraft registration country code prefix
YK (2016)
OD (2016)

Military

SyriaLebanon
Military branches
Syrian Armed Forces: Syrian Arab Army, Syrian Naval Forces, Syrian Air Forces, Syrian Air Defense Forces, National Defense Forces (pro-government militia and auxiliary forces) (2019)
note: the Syrian government is working to demobilize militias or integrate them into its regular forces
Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF): Army Command (includes Presidential Guard Brigade, Land Border Regiments), Naval Forces, Air Forces; Lebanese Internal Security Forces Directorate (includes Mobile Gendarmerie); Directorate for General Security (DGS); Directorate General for State Security (2019)
Military service age and obligation
18-42 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation is 18 months; women are not conscripted but may volunteer to serve (2019)
17-25 years of age for voluntary military service (including women); no conscription (2019)
Military - note
the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) has operated in the Golan between Israel and Syria since 1974 to monitor the ceasefire following the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and supervise the areas of separation between the two countries; as of October 2019, UNDOF consisted of about 1,140 personnel
the United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon (UNIFIL) has operated in the country since 1978, originally under UNSCRs 425 and 426 to confirm Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, restore international peace and security and assist the Lebanese Government in restoring its effective authority in the area; following the July-August 2006 war, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 1701 enhancing UNIFIL and deciding that in addition to the original mandate, it would, among other things, monitor the cessation of hostilities; accompany and support the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) as they deploy throughout the south of Lebanon; and extend its assistance to help ensure humanitarian access to civilian populations and the voluntary and safe return of displaced persons; UNIFIL had about 10,200 personnel deployed in the country as of March 2020 (2020)

Transnational Issues

SyriaLebanon
Disputes - international

Golan Heights is Israeli-controlled with an 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

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 area in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights; the roughly 2,000-strong UN Interim Force in Lebanon has been in place since 1978

Illicit drugs
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
Lebanon is a transit country for hashish, cocaine, heroin, and fenethylene; fenethylene, cannabis, hashish, and some opium are produced in the Bekaa Valley; small amounts of Latin American cocaine and Southwest Asian heroin transit country on way to European markets and for Middle Eastern consumption; money laundering of drug proceeds fuels concern that extremists are benefiting from drug trafficking
Refugees and internally displaced persons
refugees (country of origin): 13,311 (Iraq) (2019); 562,312 (Palestinian Refugees) (2020)
IDPs: 6.1 million (ongoing civil war since 2011) (2020)
stateless persons: 160,000 (2019); 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

note: the ongoing civil war has resulted in more than 5.5 million registered Syrian refugees - dispersed in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey - as of November 2020

refugees (country of origin): 879,529 (Syria), 476,033 (Palestinian refugees) (2020)
IDPs: 11,000 (2007 Lebanese security forces' destruction of Palestinian refugee camp) (2019)
stateless persons: undetermined (2016); note - tens of thousands of persons are stateless in Lebanon, including many Palestinian refugees and their descendants, Syrian Kurds denaturalized in Syria in 1962, children born to Lebanese women married to foreign or stateless men; most babies born to Syrian refugees, and Lebanese children whose births are unregistered
Trafficking in persons
current situation: as conditions continue to deteriorate due to Syria’s civil war, human trafficking has increased; Syrians remaining in the country and those that are refugees abroad are vulnerable to trafficking; Syria is a source and destination country for men, women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; Syrian children continue to be forcibly recruited by government forces, pro-regime militias, armed opposition groups, and terrorist organizations to serve as soldiers, human shields, and executioners; ISIL forces Syrian women and girls and Yazidi women and girls taken from Iraq to marry its fighters, where they experience domestic servitude and sexual violence; Syrian refugee women and girls are forced into exploitive marriages or prostitution in neighboring countries, while displaced children are forced into street begging domestically and abroad
tier rating: Tier 3 - the government does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; in 2014, Syria’s violent conditions enabled human trafficking to flourish; the government made no effort to investigate, prosecute, or convict trafficking offenders or complicit government officials, including those who forcibly recruited child soldiers; authorities did not identify victims and failed to ensure victims, including child soldiers, were protected from arrest, detention, and severe abuse as a result of being trafficked (2015)
current situation: Lebanon is a source and destination country for women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking and a transit point for Eastern European women and children subjected to sex trafficking in other Middle Eastern countries; women and girls from South and Southeast Asia and an increasing number from East and West Africa are recruited by agencies to work in domestic service but are subject to conditions of forced labor; under Lebanon’s artiste visa program, women from Eastern Europe, North Africa, and the Dominican Republic enter Lebanon to work in the adult entertainment industry but are often forced into the sex trade; Lebanese children are reportedly forced into street begging and commercial sexual exploitation, with small numbers of Lebanese girls sex trafficked in other Arab countries; Syrian refugees are vulnerable to forced labor and prostitution
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Lebanon does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; in 2014, Lebanon was granted a waiver from an otherwise required downgrade to Tier 3 because its government has a written plan that, if implemented would constitute making significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; law enforcement efforts in 2014 were uneven; the number of convicted traffickers increased, but judges lack of familiarity with anti-trafficking law meant that many offenders were not brought to justice; the government relied heavily on an NGO to identify and provide service to trafficking victims; and its lack of thoroughly implemented victim identification procedures resulted in victims continuing to be arrested, detained, and deported for crimes committed as a direct result of being trafficked (2015)

Terrorism

SyriaLebanon
Terrorist groups - foreign based
Abdallah Azzam Brigades (AAB): aim(s): disrupt and attack Shia Muslim and Western interests in Syria
area(s) of operation: remains operational; conducts attacks against primarily Shia Muslim organizations and individuals, including Hizballah members, and Westerners and their interests (2018)
al-Qa'ida (AQ): aim(s): overthrow President Bashar al-ASAD's regime; establish a regional Islamic caliphate and conduct attacks outside of Syria
area(s) of operation: operational primarily in Idlib Governorate and southern Syria, where it has established networks and operates paramilitary training camps (2018)
Ansar al-Islam (AAI): aim(s): remove Syrian President Bashar al-ASAD from power and establish a government operating according to sharia
area(s) of operation: operationally active in Syria since 2011; launches attacks on Syrian Government security forces and pro-Syrian Government militias; some AAI factions combat ISIS, while others are aligned with ISIS (2018)
Hizballah: aim(s): preserve Syrian President Bashar al-ASAD's regime
area(s) of operation: operational activity throughout the country since 2012; centered on providing paramilitary support to President Bashar al-ASAD's regime against armed insurgents (2018)
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps -- Qods Force (IRGC-QF):

aim(s): assist government forces in suppressing opposition forces and Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) forces; train Syrian Government troops; conduct strikes against Israel; funnel arms and money onward to Lebanese Hizballah
area(s) of operations: throughout Syria

(2019)
Kata'ib Hizballah (KH): aim(s): preserve Syrian President Bashar al-ASAD's regime
area(s) of operation: deploys combatants to Syria to fight alongside Syrian Government and Lebanese Hizballah forces (2018)
Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK): aim(s): advance Kurdish autonomy, political, and cultural rights in Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran
area(s) of operation: operational in the north and east; majority of members inside Syria are Syrian Kurds, along with Kurds from Iran, Iraq, and Turkey (2018)
Mujahidin Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem (MSC): aim(s): destroy the state of Israel; enhance its networks in Syria
area(s) of operation: maintains limited networks for operational planning against Israel (2018)
Palestine Liberation Front (PLF): aim(s): enhances its networks and, ultimately, destroy the state of Israel and establish a secular, Marxist Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital
area(s) of operation: maintains a recruitment and training presence in many refugee camps (2018)
PFLP-General Command (PFLP-GC): aim(s): preserve Syrian President Bashar al-ASAD's regime
area(s) of operation: maintains a political base in Damascus; fights with President al-ASAD's forces and Hizballah in areas where anti-regime paramilitary groups are active (2018)
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP): aim(s): enhance its recruitment networks in Syria
area(s) of operation: maintains a recruitment and limited training presence in several refugee camps (2018)
al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (AAMB):
aim(s): bolster its recruitment presence in Lebanon and, ultimately, establish a Palestinian state comprising the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Jerusalem
area(s) of operation:
recruits youths in Palestinian refugee camps (2018)
al-Nusrah Front/al-Qa'ida: aim(s): bolster networks in Lebanon and, ultimately, establish a regional Islamic caliphate
area(s) of operation:
in the east in the Bekaa Valley and along the Lebanon-Syria border; targets Lebanese Government institutions, security forces, and Lebanese civilians (2018)
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps -- Qods Force (IRGC-QF):

aim(s): support Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement to advance Shia agenda through funding, training, and weapons area(s) of operations: Beirut, Bekaa Valley, southern Lebanon

(2019)
Palestine Liberation Front (PLF): aim(s): enhance its networks in Lebanon and, ultimately, destroy the state of Israel to establish a secular, Marxist Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital
area(s) of operation:
maintains a recruitment and training presence in many refugee camps (2018)
PFLP-General Command (PFLP-GC): aim(s): enhance recruitment and operational networks in Lebanon
area(s) of operation:
recruits young men living in Palestinian refugee camps, including camps in the Bekaa Valley (2018)
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP): aim(s): enhance its recruitment network in Lebanon and, ultimately, establish a secular, Marxist Palestinian state
area(s) of operation:
recruits youths residing in the country's Palestinian refugee camps (2018)
Terrorist groups - home based
al-Nusrah Front: aim(s): overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-ASAD's regime, absorb like-minded Syrian rebel groups, and ultimately, establish a regional Islamic caliphate
area(s) of operation: headquartered in the northwestern Idlib Governorate, with a minor presence in Halab Governorate; operational primarily in northern, western, and southern Syria; installs Sharia in areas under its control; targets primarily Syrian regime and pro-regime forces, some minorities, other Syrian insurgent groups, and occasionally Western interests (2018)
Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS): aim(s): an alias of the al-Nusrah Front; overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-ASAD's regime, absorb like-minded Syrian rebel groups, and, ultimately, establish a regional Islamic caliphate
area(s) of operation: Northwest Syria (2018)
Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS): aim(s): replace the world order with a global Islamic state based in Iraq and Syria; expand its branches and networks in other countries; rule according to ISIS's strict interpretation of Islamic law
area(s) of operation: ISIS has lost most of the territory it once controlled and now its overt territorial control is limited to pockets of land along the Syria-Iraq border and in southern Syria (2018)
Abdallah Azzam Brigades (AAB): aim(s): enhance its networks in Lebanon to combat Shia Muslim influence in the country; seeks to disrupt Israel's economy and its efforts to establish security; attack Western interests in the Middle East
area(s) of operation: headquartered in the Ayn al-Hilwah Palestinian refugee camp near Sidon in the south (2018)
Asbat al-Ansar (AAA): aim(s): overthrow the Lebanese Government, rid Lebanon of Western influences, destroy the state of Israel to seize Jerusalem and, ultimately, establish an Islamic state in the Levant region
area(s) of operation: headquartered in the Ayn al-Hilwah Palestinian refugee camp near Sidon in the south (2018)
Hizballah: aim(s): accrue military resources and political power and defend its position of strength in Lebanon; destroy the state of Israel; counter the West; provide paramilitary support to Syrian President Bashar al-ASAD's regime
area(s) of operation: headquartered in Beirut with a significant presence in the Bekaa Valley and Southern Lebanon
note: remains the most capable armed group in the country, enjoying support among many Lebanese Shia and some Christians; receives considerable support from Iran (2018)
Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) network in Lebanon: aim(s): replace the Lebanese Government with an Islamic state and implement ISIS's strict interpretation of sharia
area(s) of operation: operational primarily in the east along the border with Syria; also maintains a presence in Ayn al-Hilweh refugee camp (2018)

Source: CIA Factbook