Location: SW Asia, Middle East. Neighboring countries are Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Israel
Population: 18,389,000 (comparable to Florida)
Size: 71,498 miles (comparable to North Dakota)
Religion: 90% Muslim, various sects. Of the Muslim sects, most are sunni. However a small percentage of Alawite Muslims are in control. Christianity is the other primary religion.
Government: Authoritarian. Ruled by Bashar al-Assad
Exports: Crude oil (now we can guess why they make headlines), petroleum products, fruits and vegetables, cotton fiber, clothing
Fun Facts: Damascus is said to be the oldest continuously inhabited settlement. Archeologists have found evidence of ancient cultures that both rival and influence Egyptian and Roman cultures.
Not so Fun Facts: Syria’s human rights conditions are among the worst in the world. Syria has a prevelance of censorship (related to missing blogger in news), unrestricted detainment and torture of citizens (related to blogger, uprising), and unwritten gender inequality that allows for violence against women.
In the news:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-13732669 June 10 State does retaliate against Jisr al-Shughour
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-13720172 June 9 IAEA votes to refer Syria to UN council (LONG article)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-13707938 June 9 Refugees flee from Syria to Turkey in fear of rumored state army attack in Jisr al-Shughur
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-13679109 June 7 comparison of Syrian violence accounts (chart-form article)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-13677061 June 6 State claims that protestors are violent and kill 120 in Jisr al-Shughur (video)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-13663766 June 6 International pressure Syria with nuclear reactor violation accusations.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-13607770 May 31 President Assad promises amnesty which many consider to be empty rhetoric, also info about movement as a whole (video)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-13475979 May 20 increase in state violence against protestors (video)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-13464011 Obama’s May 19th speech addressing Syria (video)