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Syria Geography Profile

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Location
Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Lebanon and Turkey
Geographic coordinates
35 00 N, 38 00 E
Map references
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

Area - comparative
slightly more than 1.5 times the size of Pennsylvania
Land boundaries
total: 2,343 km
border countries (5): Iraq 599 km, Israel 79 km, Jordan 362 km, Lebanon 394 km, Turkey 909 km
Coastline
193 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 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
Terrain
primarily semiarid and desert plateau; narrow coastal plain; mountains in west
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
Natural resources
petroleum, phosphates, chrome and manganese ores, asphalt, iron ore, rock salt, marble, gypsum, hydropower
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.)
Irrigated land
14,280 sq km (2012)
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

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

Environment - current issues
deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; depletion of water resources; water pollution from raw sewage and petroleum refining wastes; inadequate potable water
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
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)

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on Friday, November 27, 2020

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