of Congress Country Study
Sponsor of Terrorism - Tyranny -Discrimination of Women
WMD - Largest
chemical weapons capability in the Middle East
Transit for Drugs Bound for Western Markets
Impunity for "honor" killings
Tens of thousands of Arab Syrian victims when regime ravaged Syrian
300,000 Muslim Kurds are denied Syrian nationality along with the
rights to vote, own property, go to state schools, or attain government
Turkey mobilized in 1998 the army for war against Arab Syria
fake that the Turkish province Hatay is inside Syria
map of Syria (Encyclopaedia Britannica, Jan 16, 2006)
map (Syrian Ministry of Tourism website, Jan 16, 2006)
[red - MEI]
does not have peaceful relations with any Arab state. At best, its
relations with its neighbors range from hostility to mutual dislike.
Syria's relations veer from hostile to cool with Lebanon, Jordan,
Turkey, Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian Authority and
Invaded Israel in 1948 with the declared
intent of destroying her
Arab Jordan ("Black September" 1970)
2008, Syria never accepted
the legitimacy of a separate, sovereign Lebanese state, had
no diplomatic relations and no delineated border
with Lebanon | In
Syrian textbooks Lebanon appears as part of "Greater Syria"
| Occupied Arab
Lebanon from 1976 - 2005
in 1948-1967 former Mandate for Palestine land (Himmah area)
Arab Jordanian land since 1970
Jordan occupies land belonging to Arab Syria
The Golan Heights
were transferred from the British Mandate of Palestine to the French
Mandate of Syria in 1923, and are partly ruled by Israel since
Freedom Score of Syria (Not Free)
and Israel (Free)
Source: Freedom House (PDF, 187
Human Development Index of Syria
(0.685) and Israel (0.905) (PDF,
Source: United Nations Human
Development Report 2003
Corruption Index of Syria (3.8),
Israel (7.3), Germany (7.3) and USA (7.7)
Source: Transparency International (PDF,
Massacre of Hama (London-based Syrian Human Rights Committee):
"For 27 days starting from
February 2nd 1982, the Syrian forces put Hama under a siege, shelled
the town with all kinds of artillery, then Hama was ravaged by military
and special forces, and its civilians were severely punished. The
estimated victims range between 30000 and 40000 civilians including
ladies, children and elderlies. 15000 civilians were considered
lost since then and had never traced back. Thousands
of civilians were obliged to desert the town, as one
third of Hama had been completely destroyed.
Many mosques, churches and historical buildings were left in rubbles
as a consequence to the government’s artillery bombardment.
Foreign press reports said that the Syrian
government had given the military forces full authority to finish
the opposition and to punish all sympathisers."
Hama (ArabNet): "Much
of the old town, including the Grand Mosque, was destroyed during
internal troubles in 1982 ..."
Syrian Human Rights Committe (SHRC) Annual Report - 2003
Regime More Criminal than Saddam's Regime. Ahmad Al-Jarallah, editor
of the Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyasa, wrote a series of articles which
were critical of the Syrian regime (MEMRI, Apr 22, 2003): "Syria,
and with it the same supporters and mercenaries, say that it is
a Zionist game, and that Iraq was conquered by the American-Israeli
forces. It says that the U.S. is carrying out a Sharonist program
in this country, the goal of which is to impose Pax Israeliana on
the region, and every one of the statements are part of the game
of cat and mouse and are aimed at gaining time. What is demanded
from Syria is self-examination that will show that the Damascus
regime suffers greatly from sadistic behavior, and that it is identical
to Saddam, in the parameters of dictatorship, of single-party rule,
and in its refraining from development, change, and adopting the
principles of freedom and democracy."
Addicted to Death (Paris based Iranian Amir Taheri, New York Post
June 1, 2003):
"A scorpion's sting is not a matter of behavior but an existential
reality. The Syrian regime cannot stop using terrorism as a routine
part of policy. It cannot stop violating the human rights of its
citizens. To urge the regime to end its military occupation of Lebanon
is like asking a confirmed alcoholic to give up the bottle. Syria,
a one-party dictatorship, cannot but sabotage the development of
a democratic system in Iraq."
Report (Freedom House, July 18, 2002): "Syria
continues to occupy the country with approximately 30,000 troops."
Crimes and Massacres Committed by the PLO and the Syrians Against
the Lebanese, 1975-2002 (Guardians of the Cedars)
the occupation (Alan Dershowitz, professor at Harvard Law School,
JP, Sep 20, 2004): "When is the last time you heard about
a demonstration on a university campus calling for the end of the
Syrian occupation of Lebanon? How about never?"
September in Jordan 1970-1971 (OnWar): During a bitterly fought
ten-day civil war, primarily between the PLA and Jordan Arab Army,
Syria sent about 200 tanks to aid the fedayeen. ... Under attack
from the Jordanian army and in response to outside pressures, the
Syrian forces began to withdraw from Jordan on September 24, having
lost more than half their armor in fighting with the Jordanians.
designated as State Sponsor of Terrorism by the United States
(Party of God) a.k.a. Islamic Jihad, Revolutionary Justice Organization,
Organization of the Oppressed on Earth, and Islamic Jihad for the
Liberation of Palestine (Background Information on Designated Foreign
Terrorist OrganizationsPatterns of Global Terrorism -2001, Office
of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, U.S. Department of State:
"Three members of Hizballah,'Imad
Mughniyah, Hasan Izz-al-Din, and Ali Atwa, are on the FBI's list
of 22 Most Wanted Terrorists ... Receives substantial
amounts of financial, training, weapons, explosives, political,
diplomatic, and organizational aid from Iran and received diplomatic,
political, and logistical support
Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) (Patterns of Global Terrorism -2001,
Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism. U.S. State Department:
"Receives financial assistance from Iran and limited logistic
support assistance from Syria."
Liberation Front (PLF), (Patterns of Global Terrorism -2001, Office
of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism. U.S. State Department:
"Receives safe haven and some
logistical assistance from Syria."
Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC,
(Patterns of Global Terrorism -2001, Office of the Coordinator for
Counterterrorism. U.S. State Department: "Receives
support from Syria and financial support from
on Human Rights Practices 2001 (U.S. Department of State, Bureau
of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor): "The political
system places virtually absolute authority in the hands of the President.
Former President Hafiz Al-Asad died on June 10, 2000, after 30 years
in power. Immediately following Al-Asad's death, the Parliament
amended the Constitution, reducing the mandatory minimum age of
the President from 40 to 34 years old, which allowed his son Bashar
Al-Asad legally to be eligible for nomination by the ruling Ba'th
party. On July 10, 2000, Bashar
was elected by referendum in which he ran unopposed and received
97.29 percent of the vote. Key decisions regarding
foreign policy, national security, internal politics, and the economy
are made by the President, with counsel from his ministers, high-ranking
members of the ruling Ba'th Party, and a relatively small circle
of security advisers. Although the Parliament is elected every 4
years, the Ba'th Party is ensured a majority. The Parliament may
not initiate laws but only assesses and at times modifies those
proposed by the executive branch. In general all three branches
of government are influenced to varying degrees by leaders of the
Ba'th Party, whose primacy in state institutions is mandated by
the Constitution. The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary,
but security courts are subject to political influence. The regular
courts generally display independence, although political connections
and bribery may influence verdicts.
powerful role of the security services in government, which extends
beyond strictly security matters, stems in part from the state
of emergency that has been in place almost continuously since 1963.
Constitution provides for right to express opinions freely in speech
and in writing, but the Government restricts these rights significantly
in practice. The Government strictly
controls the dissemination of information and permits no written
or oral criticism of the President, the President's family, the
Ba'th Party, the military, or the legitimacy of the Government.
The Government also does not permit sectarian issues to be raised.
Detention and beatings for individual expressions of opinion that
violate these unwritten rules at times occur …
citizens ostensibly vote for the President and Members of Parliament,
they do not have the right to change their government.
Constitution provides for equal rights and equal opportunity for
all citizens. In practice membership in the Ba'th Party or close
familial relations with a prominent party member or powerful government
official can be important for economic, social, or educational advancement.
Party or government connections can pave the way for entrance into
better elementary and secondary schools, access to lucrative employment,
and greater power within the Government, the military, and the security
services. Certain prominent positions, such as that of provincial
governor, are reserved solely for Ba'th Party members.
A husband may request that his
wife's travel abroad be prohibited (see Section 2.d.). Women generally
are barred from travelling abroad with their children unless they
are able to prove that the father has granted permission for the
children to travel."
killing in national legal codes (Wikipaedia, Jul 19, 2006):
Penal Code Article 548 states that "He who catches his wife
or one of his ascendants [sic], descendants or sister committing
adultery (flagrante delicto) or illegitimate sexual acts with another
and he killed or injured one or both of them benefits from an exemption
Report 2003 (Human Rights Watch)
Price Of Dissent (Human Rights Watch)
This report published by Human Rights Watch focuses on Syria’s
state security court and the continuing trials of individuals accused
of membership in unauthorized political groups. It also examines
the practice of torture in Syria, and the pressure and punishment
placed on political prisoners after release. It documents the high
price that some Syrians have paid—and continue to pay—for
exercising their right to peaceful political dissent.
for the Syrians? (Daniel Pipes, Commentary, Dec 1986): During
a meeting with leaders of the Palestine Liberation Organization
(PLO) in 1976, Syrian President Hafiz al-Asad referred to Palestine
as a region of Syria, as Southern Syria. He then went on to tell
the Palestinians: "You do not represent Palestine as much as
we do. Do not forget one thing: there is no Palestinian people,
no Palestinian entity, there is only Syria! You are an integral
part of the Syrian people and Palestine is an integral part of Syria.
Therefore it is we, the Syrian authorities, who are the real representatives
of the Palestinian people."
President, Bashar Al-Assad, granted on Mar 27, 2003 an interview
to the pro-Syrian daily Al-Safir (Lebanon) (as published by MEMRI):
"The Arab Defense Agreement Should Be Implemented"; "As
Long as Israel Exists It Will Constitute a Threat"; "Israel
Will Not Be a Legitimate State Even After the Peace"
and Weapons of Mass Destruction (Center for Strategic and International
Studies) (PDF, 115 KB)
You Harbor a Terrorist. Striking Syria to save Iraq (Barbara Lerner,
NRO, Oct 27, 2003): "What will it take to win the second
great battle of Iraq, the battle against terrorism on Iraqi soil?
Thousands of additional Coalition troops and billions of dollars
in donor aid will make it easier to hold the line, but I'm afraid
it won't be enough, by itself, to ensure another Coalition triumph
there in a year or two. We have to add a new element to the mix,
and it's not another U.N. resolution. It's another "shock and
awe" campaign, this one designed to convince Iraq's neighbors
that when we say they must shut off the flow of foreign terrorists
into Iraq, we mean it."
Reform Party of Syria (RPS) is a U.S.-based opposition party
that has emerged as a result of September 11. The party is governed
by secular, peace committed Arab-Americans of Syrian descent who
are determined to see that a "New Syria" is reborn that
embraces real democratic and economic reforms.
Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003,
H. R. 1828, signed into law by U.S. President Bush on Dec 12, 2003:
"To halt Syrian support for
terrorism, end its occupation of Lebanon, and stop its development
of weapons of mass destruction, and by so doing hold Syria accountable
for the serious international security problems it has caused in
the Middle East, and for other purposes."
Arab Republic (Columbia Encyclopedia, February 6,
2010): Political union (1958-61) of Egypt
and Syria. The capital was Cairo. As an initial
step toward creating a pan-Arab union, the republic abolished Syrian
and Egyptian citizenship, termed its inhabitants Arabs, and called
the country “Arab territory.” It considered the Arab
homeland to be the entire area between the Persian Gulf and the
Atlantic coast. With Yemen
(North Yemen), it formed (1958) a loose federation called the United
In 1961, Syria withdrew from the union after a military coup, and
Yemen soon followed, thus ending the union. Egypt continued to use
the name until 1971.
related documents at Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)
of Congress's Country Studies (Syria)
World Factbook (Syria): "Golan Heights is Israeli-occupied;
dispute with upstream riparian
Turkey over Turkish water development plans
for the Tigris and Euphrates rivers; Syrian
troops in northern, central, and eastern Lebanon
since October 1976; Turkey is quick to rebuff any perceived Syrian
claim to Hatay province ...
A transit point for opiates and
hashish bound for regional and Western markets."