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The population of Syria, which numbers about 22.5 million, is divided into about 74 percent Sunni and 13 percent Shia, with a minority of about 10 percent who are Christian. The official language of Syria is Arabic, with various dialects spoken around the country. Secondary languages include Kurdish, Armenian, and Turkish, but English and French are also sometimes spoken.
Syria was once a part of the Ottoman Empire, known as the Levant until it gained independence on September 1, 1918. During the period in Syria's independence, it was called the Kingdom of Syria, though it was short-lived. Soon the League of Nations decided to put France in charge of the unstable nation. Syria remained under French rule until the the people of Syria revolted.
Modern Syria was established when it gained independence from the French and became a parliamentary republic, which was recognized as an independent nation in 1944, and was free from French presence in 1946.
In March 2011, the Syrian Uprising began as a battle between the Syrian army and the Free Syrian Army, in a conflict that became known as the Syrian Civil War. Protesters were inspired by the events of the Arab Spring, which were initially peaceful protests for democracy. The status of human rights in Syria is currently considered one of the worst worldwide because of issues like honor killing and censorship.
Last Updated On : January 30, 2013
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Major ReligionSunni Muslims which make up around 74% of the population, of whom about 80% are native Syrian Arabs
Form of GovernmentUnitary dominant-party semi-presidential republic
Prime MinisterWael Nader al-Halqi
GDP$107.831 billion 2012 estimate
Time ZoneEET (UTC+2)