Jacob Baker

The population of Syria is 22,198,110.
•    0-14 yrs. 36.4 %
•    15-64 yrs. 59.9%
•    65+ yrs. 3.7%

Ethnic Makeup:
•    Arab 90.3%
•    Kurds, Armenians and others make up the other 9.7%

Religious Makeup:
•    Sunni Muslim: 74%
•    Various other Muslim: 16%
•    Christian: 10%
•    Some small Jewish communities

Literacy Rate:
•    79.6% of ages 15 and up can read and write
o    Male: 86%
o    Female: 73.6%

Maternal Mortality Rate
•    150 per 100,000 live births

Infant Mortality Rate
•    16.14 deaths/1,000 live births
•    World Ranking- 117

Life Expectancy
•    Total population: 74.46 years
o    Male: 72.1 years
o    Female: 76.96 years   

School Life Expectancy
•    Male: 11 years
•    Female: 10.5 years (1)

Women in Syria
•    Under Syrian law, men and women are given equal rights. The reality is that women are still considerably inferior to men, especially in the judicial system:
o    A rapist can have his punishment suspended if he chooses to marry his victim.
o    It provides leniency for honor crimes: for example if a brother were to murder his sister for having a sexual relationship outside of marriage to protect the honor of their family.

Drug Issues
•     Syria is a transit point for opiates, hashish and cocaine that is purchased and consumed in western markets.

•    Not a major issue, less than .1%

The relationship between religion and the public sector
•    Islam is the most widely practiced religion and Shari’a law is practiced in family court, so Islam is very influential.

Refugee Problem: YES
•    1-1.4 million Iraqi refugees, 522,100 Palestinian refugees

Freedom of Religion, Press and Speech:
•    The constitution grants these rights, but they are very much restricted in practice. The government especially cracks down on anti-government media and speech that they consider “national security risks” (3)

Trafficking in persons:
•    Yes this is an issue in Syria. “It is a destination and transportation center for women and children being trafficked for sexual exploitation”
o    Iraqi gangs force some women in Iraqi refugee camps into the sex trade.
•    The Syrian Government has done little to combat this issue

Three Current Issues in Syria:
o    The sex trade is currently a huge problem in Syria and the government is not making any effort to fight it.
o    Freedom of expression is a big issue, especially as Syrians attempt to use the Internet to express themselves on sites like Facebook. (4)
o    The Iraq War has led to a huge influx of refugees to seek refuge in Syria. Massive numbers of refugees are living in cramped conditions as a result. (5)

1.  " UNdata | record view | School life expectancy ISCED 1-3." UNdata. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2010. <>.

2.  Agency, Central Intelligence . "The World Factbook: Syria." The World Factbook. N.p., 9 Nov. 2010. Web. 18 Nov. 2010. <>.

3.  "UNHCR | Refworld | Freedom of the Press 2009 - Syria." UNHCR Welcome. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2010. <,FREEHOU,,SYR,4b2741f68,0.html>.

4.  WORTH, ROBERT F.. "Web Tastes Freedom Inside Syria, and Its Bitter -" The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2010. <>.

5.  Wilson, Scott. "Iraqi Refugees Overwhelm Syria (" Washington Post - Politics, National, World & D.C. Area News and Headlines - N.p., 3 Feb. 2005. Web. 18 Nov. 2010. <>.