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Syria: Government#

Country nameconventional 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)
CapitalDamascus Damascus
geographic coordinates: 33 30 N, 36 18 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins midnight on the last Friday in March; ends at midnight on the first Friday in November
Administrative divisions14 provinces (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Al Hasakah, Al Ladhiqiyah (Latakia), Al Qunaytirah, Ar Raqqah, As Suwayda', Dar'a, Dayr az Zawr, Dimashq (Damascus), Halab, Hamah, Hims (Homs), Idlib, Rif Dimashq (Damascus Countryside), Tartus
Constitutionseveral previous; latest issued 15 February 2012, passed by referendum 26 February 2012 (2013)
Executive branchchief of state: President Bashar al-ASAD (since 17 July 2000); Vice President Farouk al-SHARA (since 21 February 2006); Vice President Najah al-ATTAR (since 23 March 2006)
head of government: Prime Minister Wael al-HALQI (since 9 August 2012); Deputy Prime Ministers Fahd Jasim al-FURAYJ, Lt. Gen. Walid al-MUALEM
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president; note - new Council appointed on 14 April 2011
elections: president approved by popular referendum (the 2012 constitution allows for two successive 7-year terms); referendum last held in 3 June 2014 (next to be held in June 2021); the president appoints the vice presidents, prime minister, and deputy prime ministers
election results: Bashar al-ASAD approved as president; percent of vote - Bashar al-ASAD 88.7%, Hassan al-NOURI 4.3%, Maher HAJJER 3.2%, other/invalid 3.8%
Flag descriptionthree equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and black; two small, green, five-pointed stars in a horizontal line centered in the white band; the band colors derive from the Arab Liberation flag and represent oppression (black), overcome through bloody struggle (red), to be replaced by a bright future (white); identical to the former flag of the United Arab Republic (1958-1961) where the two stars represented the constituent states of Syria and Egypt; the current design dates to 1980
note: similar to the flag of Yemen, which has a plain white band, Iraq, which has an Arabic inscription centered in the white band, and that of Egypt, which has a gold Eagle of Saladin centered in the white band
Independence17 April 1946 (from League of Nations mandate under French administration)
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Court of Cassation (organized into civil, criminal, religious, and military divisions, each with 3 judges); Supreme Constitutional Court (consists of 4 members)
judge selection and term of office: Court of Cassation judges appointed by the Supreme Judicial Council or SJC, a judicial management body headed by the minister of justice with 7 members including the national president; judge tenure NA; Supreme Constitutional Court judges nominated by the president and appointed by the SJC; judges appointed for 4-year renewable terms
subordinate courts: courts of first instance; magistrates' courts; religious and military courts; Economic Security Court
Legal systemmixed legal system of civil and Islamic law (for family courts)
Legislative branchunicameral People's Assembly or Majlis al-Shaab (250 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held on 7 May 2012 (next to be held in 2016)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA
International organization participationABEDA, AFESD, AMF, CAEU, FAO, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, MIGA, NAM, OAPEC, OIC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
National holidayIndependence Day, 17 April (1946)
Political pressure groups and leadersFree Syrian Army
Syrian Muslim Brotherhood or SMB (Muhammad Riyad al-SHAQFAH) (operates in exile in London)
Syrian Opposition Coalition or National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (al-Asi- al-JARBAL)
note: there are also hundreds of local groups that organize protests and stage armed attacks
Political parties and leaderslegal parties: National Progressive Front or NPF (President Bashar al-ASAD, Dr. Suleiman QADDAH) (includes Arab Socialist Renaissance (Ba'th) Party (President Bashar al-ASAD)
Socialist Unionist Democratic Party (Fadlallah Nasr al-DIN)
Syrian Arab Socialist Union or ASU (Safwan al-QUDSI)
Syrian Communist Party (two branches) (Wissal Farha BAKDASH, Yusuf Rashid FAYSAL)
Syrian Social Nationalist Party (As'ad HARDAN)
Unionist Socialist Party (Fayez ISMAIL))
Kurdish parties (considered illegal): Kurdish Azadi Party
Kurdish Democratic Accord Party (al Wifaq)
Kurdish Democratic Party (al Parti-Ibrahim wing)
Kurdish Democratic Party (al Parti-Mustafa wing)
Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria or KDP-S
Kurdish Democratic Patriotic/National Party
Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party or KDPP-Darwish
Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party or KDPP-Muhammad
Kurdish Democratic Union Party or PYD (Salih Muslim MOHAMMAD)
Kurdish Democratic Unity Party
Kurdish Democratic Yekiti Party
Kurdish Future Party or KFP
Kurdish Future Party (Rezan HASSAN)
Kurdish Left Party
Kurdish Yekiti (Union) Party
Syrian Kurdish Democratic Party
other parties: Syrian Democratic Party (Mustafa QALAAJI)
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Government typerepublic under an authoritarian regime
Diplomatic representation in the USnote: embassy ceased operation since 18 March 2014
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Mounir KOUDMANI
chancery: 2215 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: (1) (202) 232-6313
FAX: (1) (202) 265-4585
National anthemname: "Humat ad-Diyar" (Guardians of the Homeland)
lyrics/music: Khalil Mardam BEY/Mohammad Salim FLAYFEL and Ahmad Salim FLAYFEL
note: adopted 1936, restored 1961; between 1958 and 1961, while Syria was a member of the United Arab Republic with Egypt, the country had a different anthem
International law organization participationhas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
National symbol(s)hawk
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador Robert Stephen FORD (since 7 January 2011); note - on 6 February 2012, the US closed its embassy in Damascus
embassy: Abou Roumaneh, Al-Mansour Street, No. 2, Damascus
mailing address: P. O. Box 29, Damascus
telephone: (963) (11) 3391-4444
FAX: (963) (11) 3391-3999