|Sheep & goats|
|Apples & pears|
Syria, officially the Syrian Arab Republic, is a country in Western Asia. De jure Syrian territory borders Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest, but the government's control now extends to approximately 30–40% of the de jure state area and less than 60% of the population. A country of fertile plains, high mountains, and deserts, Syria is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including Syrian Arabs, Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians, Kurds, Circassians, Mandeans, and Turks. Religious groups include Sunnis, Christians, Alawites, Druze, Mandeans, Shiites, Salafis, and Yazidis. Sunni Arabs make up the largest population group in Syria. In English, the name "Syria" was formerly synonymous with the Levant (known in Arabic as al-Sham), while the modern state encompasses the sites of several ancient kingdoms and empires, including the Eblan civilization of the 3rd millennium BC. Its capital Damascus is among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.
The Syrian government under Assad started its reform efforts by changing the regulatory environment in the financial sector, including the introduction of private banks and the opening of the Damascus Securities Exchange in March 2009. In 2001, Syria legalized private banking and the sector, while still nascent, has been growing.
Foreign banks were given licenses in December 2002, in compliance with Law 28 March 2001, which allows the establishment of private and joint-venture banks. Foreigners are allowed up to 49 percent ownership of a bank, but may not hold a controlling stake. As of January 2010, 13 private banks had opened, including two Islamic banks. Syria has taken gradual steps to loosen controls over foreign exchange. In 2003, the government canceled a law that criminalized private sector use of foreign currencies, and in 2005 it issued legislation that allowed licensed private banks to sell specific amounts of foreign currency to Syrian citizens under certain circumstances and to the private sector to finance imports. In October 2009, the Syrian Government further loosened its restrictions on currency transfers by allowing Syrians traveling abroad to withdraw the equivalent of up to the U.S. $10,000 from their Syrian pound accounts. In practice, the decision allows local banks to open accounts of a maximum of U.S. $10,000 that their clients can use for their international payment cards. The holders of these accounts will be able to withdraw up to the U.S. $10,000 per month while traveling abroad. To attract investment and to ease access to credit, the government allowed investors in 2007 to receive loans and other credit instruments from foreign banks and to repay the loans and any accrued interest through local banks using project proceeds. In February 2008, the government permitted investors to receive loans in foreign currencies from local private banks to finance capital investments. Syria's exchange rate is fixed, and the government maintains two official rates—one rate on which the budget and the value of imports, customs, and other official transactions are based, and a second set by the Central Bank on a daily basis that covers all other financial transactions. The government passed a law in 2006, which permits the operation of private money exchange companies. However, a small black market for foreign currency is still active.
|Agriculture||Wheat, barley, cotton, lentils, chickpeas, olives, sugar beets, mutton, eggs, poultry & milk.|
|Manufacture||Petroleum, textiles, food processing, beverages, tobacco, phosphate rock mining.|
|Services (Including financial)||60.2% (2013 estimate)|
|Bank of Syria and Overseas||Banking|
|Chemins de Fer Syriens||Railways|
|Syrian Petroleum Company||Oil & gas|
|Banque Bemo Saudi Fransi||Banking|
|Cham Wings Airlines||Airline|
|Syrian Pearl Airlines||Airline|
|Sheep & goats|
|Apples & pears|
Syria has been going through many developments for the last decade, especially in the financial sector. One of the major developments was the issuance of the Decree NO (55) in 2006 about the stock exchange act, defining the Damascus Securities Exchange as an organization seeking to, regulate & facilitate the investment of funds, and providing the required capitals to extend the economic activities done by applying terms of justice and transparency in trading the securities. The main object of DSE is to protect the investors from all types of illegal activities and to enhance the act of saving & investing in the country by applying the basis of transparency in its laws. DSE takes on the responsibility of establishing and applying the operating measures & procedures to guarantee efficient & transparent trading. DSE also operates through organizing awareness campaigns, and conferences to educate people about the advantages of investing. The Damascus Securities Exchange (DSE) is a stock exchange located in Damascus, Syria. Founded in 2009, it is the only stock exchange in Syria. Its current premises are in the Barzeh district, within Syria's financial markets and securities commission. Its final home is to be the upmarket business district of Yaafur. The first official tradings were launched on Tuesday, March 10, 2009.
Since the beginning of the Syrian insurgency in March 2011, the al-Asad government has taken steps to roll back its accelerated pace of neoliberal reform. After a decade of loosening market regulations, the state is back to governing the market in order to ensure that economic contraction and social hardships following the political upheaval and imposed foreign sanctions do not worsen. State intervention is crucial during times of crisis, not only to restore infrastructure but also to ensure the availability of essential consumer goods and services to the majority of the population. The state has reinstated much of the tangible social protection and benefits that were neglected during the Bashar al-Asad regime’s accelerated transition toward a market-driven economic structure. Although the recently adopted interventionist strategies have been aimed at mitigating social unrest, these measures have done little to arrest the social disaster already in place. Political unrest and foreign sanctions imposed on Syria have aggravated economic conditions and deepened economic contraction. Although the economy was growing at an average rate of five percent before the uprising erupted, this growth was mainly attributed to oil revenues, underpinned by the increase in international oil prices since 2002.
The real economy, however, incurred a steady contraction, exacerbating negative shocks. The recent international sanctions imposed on Syrian crude oil have delivered a severe blow to this already weak structure. Shortfalls in oil revenues, estimated at $4 billion, have dragged the economy into structural deficits. Dwindling government revenues, deteriorating trade and capital accounts, supply shortages, exponential price increases, and currency devaluation have been some of the more serious consequences of foreign sanctions and the domestic political crisis. With the inflation rate hovering at 30 percent and an economic growth rate estimated to drop to negative five and a half percent in 2012, the economy is already in a state of an acute stagflation. Although the real human costs are immeasurable following the violent escalation of the domestic crisis, economic deterioration has also exacted a high social cost, whose main burden has been carried by the middle class and the poor. It is estimated that three million Syrians have lost their jobs since the uprisings began. Thousands of small businesses have shut down, leading to considerable layoffs. Sanctions imposed on the banking sector have curtailed most money transactions.
Both public and private entities have not been able to carry out their business transactions smoothly, and Syrian expats have faced difficulties transferring remittances to their families back home. Notwithstanding the dramatic fall in revenues from tourism, an important source of foreign currency, the hoarding of dollars and other foreign currency withdrawals have added pressure on the Syrian pound, whose value fell to £S 74 to the dollar in February 2012—a fifty percent drop since March 2011. This depreciation has pushed market prices up and dampened the purchasing power of the majority of Syrians. The drying up of Arab investments, which increased more than six-fold between 2002 and 2007, has exacerbated the economic squeeze. In light of the EU sanctions on Syrian crude oil imports and the suspension of the free trade agreement with Turkey, Syria increased its trade with Russia and Iran in order to generate alternative revenues. Other alternative buyers of Syrian oil include various Asian economies that benefit from importing its oil at discounted prices. Syria has also relied on its allies for the financial support it needs to rehabilitate some of its infrastructure and restore services that were destroyed by the violence.
In the Islamic era, Damascus was the seat of the Umayyad Caliphate and a provincial capital of the Mamluk Sultanate in Egypt. The modern Syrian state was established after the end of centuries of Ottoman control in World War I as a French mandate, and represented the largest Arab state to emerge from the formerly Ottoman-ruled Arab Levant. It gained independence as a parliamentary republic on 24 October 1945 when Syria became a founding member of the United Nations, an act that legally ended the former French Mandate – although French troops did not leave the country until April 1946.
The post-independence period was tumultuous, and a large number of military coups and coup attempts shook the country in the period 1949–71. In 1958, Syria entered a brief union with Egypt called the United Arab Republic, which was terminated by the 1961 Syrian coup d'état. The Arab Republic of Syria came into being in late 1961 after December 1 constitutional referendum, and was increasingly unstable until the Ba'athist coup d'état, since which the Ba'ath Party has maintained its power. Syria was under Emergency Law from 1963 to 2011, effectively suspending most constitutional protections for citizens, and its system of government is considered to be non-democratic by American NGO Freedom House Bashar al-Assad has been president since 2000 and was preceded by his father Hafez al-Assad, who was in office from 1970 to 2000. Syria is a member of one international organization other than the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement; it is currently suspended from the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and self-suspended from the Union for the Mediterranean. Since March 2011, Syria has been embroiled in an uprising against Assad and the Ba'athist government as part of the Arab Spring, a crackdown that contributed to the Syrian Civil War and to Syria's becoming one of the most violent countries in the world. The opposition umbrella group, the Syrian National Coalition, formed the Syrian Interim Government in March 2013.Representatives of this alternative government were subsequently invited to take up Syria's seat at the Arab League.
The Syrian pound (SYP) is the currency of Syria and is issued by the Central Bank of Syria. The pound is subdivided into 100 qirsh, although coins in qirsh are no longer issued. Before 1947, the word qirsh was spelled with the initial Arabic letter ?, after which the word began with ?. Until 1958, banknotes were issued with Arabic on the obverse and French on the reverse. After 1958, English has been used on the reverses, hence the three different names for this currency. Coins used both Arabic and French until Syrian independence, then only Arabic. The standard abbreviation for the Syrian pound is SYP. On 5 December 2005, the selling rate quoted by the Commercial Bank of Syria was 58.4 SYP to the US dollar. A rate of about 50 pounds to one dollar has been usual in the early 2000s, but the exchange rate is subject to fluctuations. Since the start of the Syrian civil war against the president Bashar Al Assad in 2011, the exchange rate of the Syrian pound has deteriorated quickly from 47 SYP for US$1 in March 2011 to over 200 SYP for US$1 in June 2013. Hard currencies such as the USD, CAD, GBP or Euro cannot be bought from banks or exchange companies; the black market is the only source of foreign currencies available to Syrian businessmen, students and those who want to travel abroad. The maximum amount that is allowed to be taken out with the Syrian traveler is US$3,000 per flight per year. The authorities confiscate any amount in excess of US$3,000 and the Syrian traveler will risk spending a long time in what is called "economic affairs court". The Syrian pound is not a hard currency, and there are restrictions on its export (the maximum amount is 2,500 SYP per person). During the period when Syria was a part of the Ottoman Empire—which lasted about 400 years—the Ottoman lira was the currency. Following the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the placing of Syria under a mandate (French occupation), the Egyptian pound was used in the territories under French and British mandates, including Lebanon, Transjordan, and Palestine. Upon taking Lebanon and Syria under its separate mandate, the French government sought to replace the Egyptian currency and granted a commercial bank, the Banque de Syrie (a French affiliate of the Ottoman Bank), the authority to issue currency for states under its new mandate. The pound (or livre as it was then known) was introduced in 1919 and was pegged at a value of 20 French francs. As the political status of Lebanon evolved, the Banque de Syrie, which was to act as the official bank for Lebanon and Syria, was renamed the Banque de Syrie et du Grand-Liban (BSL).
The BSL issued the Lebanese-Syrian currency for 15 years, starting in 1924. Two years before the expiration of the 15-year period, the BSL split the Lebanese-Syrian currency into two separate currencies that could still be used interchangeably in either state. In 1939, the bank was renamed the Banque de Syrie et du Liban. In 1921, cupro-nickel 1?2 qirsh coins were introduced, followed in 1926 by aluminum bronze 2 and 5 qirsh. In 1929, holed, nickel-brass 1 qirsh and silver 10, 25 and 50 qirsha were introduced. Nickel-brass 1?2 qirsh were introduced 1935, followed by zinc 1 qirsh and aluminum-bronze 2½ qirsh in 1940. During the Second World War, brass 1 qirsh and aluminum 21?2 qirsh emergency coins were issued. These pieces were crudely produced and undated. A new coinage was introduced between 1947 and 1948 in denominations of 21? 2, 5, 10, 25 and 50 qirsha and 1 pound, with the 21? 2, 5 and 10 qirush struck in cupro-nickel and the others in silver. Aluminum-bronze replaced cupro-nickel in 1960, with nickel replacing silver in 1968. In 1996, following high inflation, new coins were introduced in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10 and 25 pounds, with the 25 pounds a bimetallic coin. In 2003 5, 10, and 25 pound coins were issued, with latent images. In 1919, the Banque de Syrie introduced notes for 5, 25 and 50 qirsha, 1 and 5 livres. These were followed, in 1920, by notes for 1 qirsh and 10, 25, 50 and 100 livres. In 1925, the Banque de Syrie et du Grand-Liban began issuing notes and production of denominations below 25 qirsha ceased. Notes below 1 livre were not issued from 1930. In 1939, the issuing body again changed its name, to the Banque de Syrie et du Liban. Between 1942 and 1944, the government introduced notes for 5, 10, 25 and 50 qirsha. In the early 1950s, undated notes were issued by the Institut d'Emission de Syrie in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 livres, followed by notes dated 1955 for 10 and 25 livres. The Banque Centrale de Syrie took over paper money issuance in 1957, issuing the same denominations as the Institut d'Emission. In 1958, the French language was removed from Syrian banknotes and replaced by English. Notes were issued for 1, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100 and 500 pounds. In 1966, the design of the 25, 50, and 100-pound notes were changed. In 1976 and 1977, the designs changed for all the denominations except the 500-pound note. In 1997 and 1998, a new series of notes was introduced in denominations of 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 pounds, with the lower denominations replaced by coins. In 2009, the 50, 100, and 200-pound notes were changed with an entirely new design. In 2014 a new 500-pound note has been released
|National Song||"Humāt ad-Diyār"|
|Currency||Syrian pound (SYP)|
|GDP / GDP Rank||$21.0 (nominal) Billion USD|
|GDP Growth Rate||-4.8 Percent|
|GDP Per Captial||N/A|
< 1.0% Hindus
< 1.0% Buddhists
< 1.0% Jews
< 1.0% Other Religions
And Other 9.7%
President – Bashar al-Assad
Prime Minister – Imad Khamis
|Website||Go to the web|
|Public Debt||55.5 Percent|
|Unemployment Rate||14.312 Percent|
|Labor Force (Occupation)||-|