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You are here: Home Research Resources Expert Guides Palestinian Refugees in Syria Summary

Summary

Summary

Syria is located in the south-east of the Mediterranean basin. It borders Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey, and Israel. The capital is Damascus and the other main cities are Homs, Hama, Aleppo, and Latakia. Its main ethnic groups include Arabs (90 per cent), Kurds, and Armenians. It is in main part a Muslim country with Sunni Muslims accounting for 74 per cent, Alawite, Shia, and Druze reported to 16 per cent. Christians (of various sects) are reported to account for 10 per cent of the population (CIA World Factbook 2003). Syria was part of the Ottoman Empire until World War I, and after the Empire's break-up, it came under French mandate until its independence in 1946. After that Syria lived through a period of political instability, including a three-year union with Egypt 1958–1961 (the United Arab Republic or UAR), until the Baath Party took power in 1963. In 1967, during the "Six-Day" war, Israel occupied the Golan Heights.

Last updated Aug 17, 2011