Syria Facts: 44 Interesting Facts About Syria

Syria, officially the Syrian Arab Republic, is a country in Western Asia. It has high mountains, deserts and fertile plains. With the following interesting facts about Syria, we’ll explore more about its history, culture, civil war and crises.

Interesting Facts about Syria for Kids

1. The two stars in the Syrian Flag represent the previous union between Syria and Egypt.

2. Syria is a founding member of the United Nations.

3. The largest lake in Syria, Lake Assad, is actually man made and has only existed since 1968.

4. The National Museum of Damascus contains relics and artifacts from every age, starting with the Prehistoric Age and extending to the modern Classical Age.

Flag of Syria
Flag of Syria. Image credit –

5. Damascus, the capital city of Syria, is called the “Jasmine City.” It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.

6. The Assyrian New Year falls on April 1st. Celebrated with the arrival of spring, Kha b-Nisan literally means the first of the month of Nisan.

7. The Shouting Valley is the meeting point of four countries: Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel. It is an “echo point,” and people often use it to communicate with their relatives on the other side.

The shouting valley Syria
Interesting facts about Syria: The shouting valley. Image credit –

8. The city of Damascus gets its name from Damask, a variety of cotton fabric rich in exquisite patterns.

9. Syria was the largest Arab state to emerge from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire.

10. Syria is currently suspended from the Arab League.

11. The only Pope to ever visit a mosque was John Paul II. He visited the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus in 2001.

Umayyad moskee in Damascus
Interesting facts about Syria: Umayyad moskee in Damascus. Image credit – Martijn.Munneke

Facts About Syrian Crises

12. Syria was under emergency laws for a staggering period of 48 years from 1963 to 2011. In 2011, the Syrian Civil War started.

13. Though relatively isolated, you can find Syrians scattered throughout the world because of its civil war.

14. Present day Syria is a battleground of the whole world, with troops from nearly 34 countries fighting a complex web of wars. Their main enemy is the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria/Levant.

15. The present Syrian conflict has created many global problems. Europe has been hit by the worst migration crisis since World War II. The two major global superpowers, Russia and the United States, are moving towards another era of cold war, as well.

16. In December, 2015, the U.S. completed a record 9000 airstrikes in Syria. Two months later, Russia joined in with a 400+ strikes in just 6 days.

Twin-Explosion in southeastern Kobane on 8th October 2014
Twin-Explosion in southeastern Kobane on 8th October 2014. image credit – Karl-Ludwig Poggemann

17. ISIS and the Syrian Government are fighting a water war to drain out water from each other’s territory. As they say, all is fair in love and war.

18. The Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia, also known as the Arab Spring, fueled the 2011 Civil War in Syria.

19. The Syrian refugee crisis is the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II. It deeply affected 13 million residents who were forced to flee or face persecution from religious fanatics. According to the U.N., it will take $7.7 billion to meet the urgent needs of the most vulnerable Syrians in 2016.

To learn more detail about the Syrian crises, go here.

Facts about the History and Culture of Syria

20. Syria was invaded by Pompey the Great, a Roman general under Julius Ceaser, who thought himself to be the king.

21. Syria has been drinking beer to chill out since times immemorial. A historical reference to beer is found in the Ebla tablets, which date back to 2500 BC.

22. In Syria, it’s the government’s job to get you drunk! There are two varieties of beer, Al-Shark Beer and Barada Beer, both produced by the state.

23. The Aleppo Codex, an ancient Jewish manuscript, remained in Syria for five hundred years. It was lost during a riot in 1947, but was later smuggled into Israel by a Syrian national. The sad news: only half the pages remained.

24. The city of Aleppo in Syria was named the Islamic Capital of Culture in 2006.

25. The Al-Madina Souq, a link in the ancient silk route, is the perfect example of a tinsel town. Oblivious to the modern era, it maintains the rare charm of a medieval marketplace, filled with exotic goods and stunning architecture.

26. Qudud Halabiya and Muwashshah are the two forms of Arab music and poetry uniquely developed in Syria.

27. The internet hacktivist group Anonymous has declared war on The Syrian Electronic Army because of its censorship laws.

28. Syria has close ties with the country of Iran. The latter is believed to have spent $15 billion annually in Syria during the Syrian Civil War.

29. Palmyra, a city dripping with history and culture, was deliberately destroyed by the Islamic State of Levant due to its polytheistic statues. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a rare gem of the ancient world.

30. The fourth holiest place in Islam is the Umayyad Mosque, located in Damascus. It also is home to the mausoleum containing the tomb of King Saladin, as well as the Shrine of John the Baptist.

31. Contrary to the barbaric present, the very idea of civilization started in ancient Syria as the Mesopotamian civilization. For this reason, it is also known as the cradle of civilization.

32. The Aleppo Citadel in Syria is the mother of all citadels. Built in the year 3, BCE, it is one of the oldest and largest castles in the world, standing strong even today.

33. The Middle East’s version of absinthe, the arak, is an important part of the Levant culture, originating in the city of Aleppo.

34. The city of Bosra was the Capital of Roman Arabia. The Theater of Bosra was built just a century after the birth of Christ, and it is still used for the Bosra music festival.

35. Syria was once a tourist hotspot for its religious and historical wonders, but the war caused a 75% decline in the tourism industry.

36. Russian company Megapolis Ltd. has organized war tourism trips to the frontlines of the Syrian conflict. The other popular choice is Ukraine.

A blade made from Damascus steel
Interesting facts about Syria: A blade made from Damascus steel. Image credit –

37. The capital of Syria is known for its steel. The Damascus Steel swords were feared and revered by the crusaders for their extremely sharp edges.

38. Legends have it that the first murder took place in Syria. Cain, the son of Adam and Eve, killed his brother, Abel, on Mount Qasioun, near Damascus.

39. The Norias, or the waterwheels of Hama, were built in 1361 CE and are still used.

40. The ancient Euphrates River passes through Syria. It is considered the birthplace of the first civilization in the world, the Mesopotamian Civilization.

41. Ironically, even with such a strong fort, the city of Aleppo was invaded by Romans, Byzantines, Seljuqs, Mitannians, Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Persians, Mamluks and Ottomans.

42. The city of Damascus is forever attached to Christian beliefs because the New Testament preaches that the conversion of Paul the Apostle happened on his way to Damascus.

43. The great Ottoman Empire, a legacy of 624 years, was broken up by a single agreement, the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916. It broke the great empire off into several colonies, and was a watershed moment in the evolution of the Middle East.

44. The Kurdish People form a distinctive community, which is believed to have originated from the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh.

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Quick Facts about Syria

National anthem"Humat ad-Diyar" (Guardians of the Homeland)
Capital CityDamascus
33°30′N 36°18′E
Largest CityAleppo
Total area185,180 sq km
Population23,229,108 (2016)
Official LanguageArabic
BordersIraq, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon and Turkey.
CurrencySyrian pound (SYP)
ReligionIslam (Sunni muslims), Syrian Arabs, with the remainder being Kurds, Turkomans, Circassians, and Palestinians.
Terrainprimarily semiarid and desert plateau; narrow coastal plain; mountains in west
Natural resourcespetroleum, phosphates, chrome and manganese ores, asphalt, iron ore, rock salt, marble, gypsum, hydropower
Agricultural land75.8%
Birth rate22.17 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Death rate4 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Sex ratio1.01 male(s)/female (2015 est.)
Government typepresidential republic; highly authoritarian regime
Independence17 April 1946 (from League of Nations mandate under French administration)
National symbolshawk; national colors: red, white, black, green
Life expectancy75.8 years (2016)
Life expectancy at birth indicates the number of years a newborn infant would live if prevailing patterns of mortality at the time of its birth were to stay the same throughout its life.
Industriespetroleum, textiles, food processing, beverages, tobacco, phosphate rock mining, cement, oil seeds crushing, automobile assembly
Exports$1.849 billion (2015 est.)
crude oil, minerals, petroleum products, fruits and vegetables, cotton fiber, textiles, clothing, meat and live animals, wheat
Imports$6.557 billion (2015 est.)
machinery and transport equipment, electric power machinery, food and livestock, metal and metal products, chemicals and chemical products, plastics, yarn, paper
Internet country
Internet users5.116 million
percent of population: 30% (July 2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$5,100 (2011 est.)
Calling Code+963
Time ZoneEET (UTC+2)
Summer (DST)
Drives on theRight