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First intellectual output. Loyola Andalucia University

First intellectual output. Loyola Andalucia University

The Syrian Arab Republic

The Syrian Arab Republic is a West Asian country bordered by 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.

The country's capital is Damascus, one of the world's oldest continuously populated cities. Syria is located in a region called the Horn of Plenty, which forms a deep archway from Iraq, passing through the confluence of Tigris and Euphrates, including the territory of central Syria and Israel, and continuing to the Nile Valley in Egypt. In the northern and southern parts of this region there are vast areas of desert and steppe that have been partially transformed into fruitful fields, especially due to the artificial irrigations practiced here for thousands of years. The Syrian government is currently controlling only 30-40% of the state's territory and less than 60% of the population.

The surface of the Syrian territory is 185.181 km². The population of this country is of about 20 million inhabitants. The country has fertile lands, high mountains and deserts.

Syria is the home of various ethnic and religious groups, including Syrian Arabs, Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians, Kurds, Tarsus, Mandeans and Turks. Some of the religious groups are Sunnis, Christians, Alawites, Druze, Mandeans, Shiites, Salafits and Yazidis.  The Syrian Arabs are the largest community group in Syria.

Syria is situated between latitudes 32° and 38° N. Like most of the Near East, Syria is an arid country with predominantly desert relief, where the desert occupies more than a third of the territory. In Syria, there are two main geographical regions: Western and Eastern. The western region includes the narrow plateau and the coastal mountain chain, which isolates the interior of the country from the humid air masses of the Mediterranean Sea. The eastern part is occupied by a vast steppe. This is crossed by the Euphrates, which gives rise to true oases on its banks.

The climate is warm and dry in Syria, while winters are gentle. Due to altitude, snow occurs occasionally in the winter. Commercial oil was first discovered in the Northeast in 1956. The most important oil fields are Suwaydiyah, Qaratshui, Rumayian, and Tayyem, near Dayr az–Zawr. The oil fields are a natural extension of those of Mosul, Iraq and Kirkuk. Oil became the main natural resource of Syria and the chief export after 1974. Natural gas was discovered on the land of Jbessa in 1940.

Syria is a semiarid country with limited water resources. The sector that consumes the most water is agriculture. Domestic water use accounts for only around 9% of total water use. A major challenge for Syria is the rapid population growth coupled with a growing need for urban and industrial water. In 2006, Syria's population was 19.4 million with a 2.7% growth rate.

Syria has four international airports (Damascus, Alep, Lattakia and Kamishly), serving as centers of the Syrian airline. For a relatively underdeveloped country, Syrian rail infrastructure is well maintained with many express services and modern trains. Syria's road network is 69.873 km long, including 1.103 km of highways. The country also has 900 km of navigable waterways, but it has no significant economic waterways.

The coin is the Syrian lira.

Political and social instability
The modern Syrian state was established after the First World War as a French mandate and was the largest Arab state that emerged from the former Arab Levant mastered by the Ottomans. It became independent as a parliamentary republic on October 24, 1945, when Syria became a founding member of the United Nations, an act that legally concluded the French Mandate - although the French troops left the country in April 1946. The period after independence was tumultuous and a large number of military coups and coup attempts shook the country in the period 1949-1971. Between 1958 and 1961, Syria entered a brief union with Egypt, which ended with the Syrian coup in 1961.

The Syrian Arab Republic emerged at the end of 1961, after the constitutional referendum on December 1, and was all the more unstable until the Ba'athist coup in 1963, after which the Ba'athist Party came to power, remaining there until today. Syria was under the Emergency Right from 1963 to 2011, effectively suspending most constitutional protections for its citizens, and its ruling system is considered undemocratic. Bashar al-Assad became president in 2000 after the death of his father, Hafez al-Assad, who was in office from 1970 to 2000.

Today, there is an armed conflict in Syria between the authoritarian government of Damascus, on one side, and the Syrian pro-Western democratic opposition, the Kurdish forces and the Sunni Muslim extremist group called SIIL, on the other.

Syria is officially a unitary republic. The constitution adopted in 2012 turned Syria into a semi-presidential republic, due to the constitutional right to elect individuals who are not part of the Progressive National Front. The president is the head of state, and the prime minister is the head of government.

The Constitution gives the President the right to nominate ministers, to declare war and state of emergency, to issue laws (which, except in emergencies, need ratification of the People's Council), to declare amnesty, to amend the constitution and to designate civil servants and military personnel. According to the constitution of 2012, the president is elected by Syrian citizens through direct elections. The Personal Status Law 59 of 1953 (amended by Law 34 of 1975) is essentially a codified sharia. Article 3 (2) of the Constitution of 1973 declares Islamic jurisprudence as the main source of legislation. The Personal Status Law is applied to Muslims by Sharia courts.

The reasons why the Syrian population wants to leave
As a result of the ongoing civil war, alternative governments were formed, such as the Syrian Interim Government, the Democratic Union Party and the Sarajean Rule-controlled regions. On March 28, 2013, representatives of the Syrian Interim Government were invited to represent Syria in the Arab League and have been recognized by several nations, including the United States, the United Kingdom and France, as "the only representatives of the Syrian people."

The human rights situation in Syria has been an important concern among independent organizations such as Human Rights Watch, which in 2010 referred to the reputation of the country as "one of the worse in the world." Freedom House called Syria "unfree" in its Freedom in the World annual study.

In August 2014, the head of the UN Office for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, criticized the international community for "paralysis" in dealing with the civil war that had lasted for more than three years, plagued the country, and generated 191.369 deaths in war crimes by April 30, 2014, crimes which, according to Pillay, were committed with a total lack of fear of consequences by all sides of the conflict. The minority of Alawites and Christians have been increasingly targeted by Islamists and other groups fighting in the Syrian civil war.

Asylum countries
GENEVA, July 9, 2015 (UNHCR) - More than four million Syrians have fled war and persecution and became refugees in neighboring countries, making the conflict in Syria the greatest refugee crisis of the last 25 years.

The latest figures from UNHCR show a total number of over 4.013.000 Syrian refugees.

"This is the biggest refugee population from a single conflict in a generation. It is a population that needs the support of the world but is instead living in dire conditions and sinking deeper into poverty," said UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres.

At least another 7.6 million people were displaced to Syria, many of them in difficult situations and hard to reach.

"Worsening conditions lead an increasing number of refugees to Europe, but the vast majority remain in the region," added Guterres. "We cannot afford to leave them and the communities that host them to become desperate."

The Syrian Exodus is the largest exodus ever since 1992, when the number of Afghan refugees had reached 4.6 million. In fact, the figure is even higher because it does not include over 270.000 asylum requests from Syrians to Europe and other thousands who have not settled in neighboring countries.

In June 2015, over 24.000 Syrians, mainly women and children, fled to Turkey from Tel Abyad and other parts of Northern Syria. Turkey is now home to 45% of all Syrian refugees in the region.

Meanwhile, the financing of the situation of Syrian refugees has become an equally pressing issue. For the year 2015 as a whole, UNHCR and its partners have spent $ 5.5 billion. However, as of the end of June 2015, only a quarter of the requested humanitarian funds were received. This means that refugees face new cuts in food and make great efforts to cover their health services or send their children to school.

A substantial proportion of funds have been used to prevent the main host countries in the region from becoming overcrowded and unstable.

Life for Syrians in exile is getting tighter. About 86% of non-Jordanian refugees live under the poverty line of $ 3.2/day. In Lebanon, 55% of refugees live in shelters below their normal standard of living.

Syrian's hope of returning home decreases as the crisis deepens. Refugees have become poorer and negative survival practices such as child labor, begging and child marriages are on the rise. Competition for work, terrain, running water and energy in already vulnerable host communities reduces the ability of these communities to cope with and assist the growing number of refugees.[1]


[1] https://www.unhcr.org/ro/2828-rostiri2015peste-patru-milioane-de-sirieni-au-fugit-de-razboi-i-persecuie-html.html

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