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Syria Government

    Country name:
    conventional long form: Syrian Arab Republic
    conventional short form: Syria
    local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Arabiyah as Suriyah
    local short form: Suriyah
    former: United Arab Republic (with Egypt)

    Data code: SY

    Government type: republic under military regime since March 1963

    Capital: Damascus

    Administrative divisions: 14 provinces (muhafazat, singular—muhafazah); Al Hasakah, Al Ladhiqiyah, Al Qunaytirah, Ar Raqqah, As Suwayda', Dar'a, Dayr az Zawr, Dimashq, Halab, Hamah, Hims, Idlib, Rif Dimashq, Tartus

    Independence: 17 April 1946 (from League of Nations mandate under French administration)

    National holiday: National Day, 17 April (1946)

    Constitution: 13 March 1973

    Legal system: based on Islamic law and civil law system; special religious courts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

    Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

    Executive branch:
    chief of state: President Hafiz al-ASAD (since 22 February 1971); note—President ASAD seized power in the November 1970 coup, assumed presidential powers 22 February 1971, and was confirmed as president in the 12 March 1971 national elections; Vice Presidents 'Abd al-Halim ibn Said KHADDAM (since 11 March 1984) and Muhammad Zuhayr MASHARIQA (since 11 March 1984)
    head of government: Prime Minister Mahmud ZUBI (since 1 November 1987), Deputy Prime Ministers Lt. Gen. Mustafa TALAS (since 11 March 1984), Dr. Salim YASIN (since NA December 1981), and Rashid AKHTARINI (since 4 July 1992)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
    elections: president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term; referendum/election last held 8 February 1999 (next to be held NA 2006); vice presidents appointed by the president; prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the president
    election results: Hafiz al-ASAD reelected president; percent of vote—Hafiz al-ASAD 99%

    Legislative branch: unicameral People's Council or Majlis al-shaab (250 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
    elections: last held 30 November-1 December 1998 (next to be held NA 2002)
    election results: percent of vote by party—NPF 67%, non-NPF 33%; seats by party—NPF 167, independents 83; note—the constitution guarantees that the Ba'th Party (part of the NPF alliance) receive one-half of the seats

    Judicial branch: Supreme Constitutional Court, justices are appointed for four-year terms by the president; High Judicial Council; Court of Cassation; State Security Courts

    Political parties and leaders:
    National Progressive Front (NPF) includes: the ruling Arab Socialist Renaissance (Ba'th) Party [Hafiz al-ASAD, president of the republic, secretary general of the party, and chairman of the National Progressive Front]; Syrian Arab Socialist Party or ASP [Ghassan 'Abd-al-Aziz UTHMAN]; Arab Socialist Union or ASU [Fayiz ISMAIL]; Syrian Communist Party or SCP [Yusuf FAYSAL]; Arab Socialist Unionist Party [Safwan QUDSI]; Socialist Union Democratic Party [Ahmad al-ASAD]

    Political pressure groups and leaders: non-Ba'th parties have little effective political influence; Communist party ineffective; conservative religious leaders; Muslim Brotherhood (operates in exile in Jordan and Yemen)

    International organization participation: ABEDA, AFESD, AL, AMF, CAEU, CCC, ESCWA, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNRWA, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WMO, WToO

    Diplomatic representation in the US:
    chief of mission: Ambassador Walid MUALEM
    chancery: 2215 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 232-6313
    FAX: [1] (202) 234-9548

    Diplomatic representation from the US:
    chief of mission: Ambassador Ryan CROCKER
    embassy: Abou Roumaneh, Al-Mansur Street, No. 2, Damascus
    mailing address: P. O. Box 29, Damascus
    telephone: [963] (11) 333-2814, 333-0788, 332-0783
    FAX: [963] (11) 224-7938

    Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black with two small green five-pointed stars in a horizontal line centered in the white band; similar to the flag of Yemen, which has a plain white band and of Iraq, which has three green stars (plus an Arabic inscription) in a horizontal line centered in the white band; also similar to the flag of Egypt, which has a symbolic eagle centered in the white band

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)