A. THE COUNTRY
The Syrian Arab Republic, a country in Western Asia, is a fertile plain
on the Mediterranean coast with 60% desert in the centre and east but
crossed by the Euphrates River. Water issues grow more significant in
the region. The government is a hereditary dictatorship. Constitution
defines Syria as a secular socialist state. Emergency Law since 1963
was lifted in April, 2011 to meet a key demand of anti-government
protestors who were demanding freedom in a month-old uprising. There is
little optimism that this will ease the increasingly harsh blows against
opponents. The exploding youthful population find themselves jobless
and without prospects. The economy is based on agriculture, oil and
tourism. Economic performance is poor largely due to declining rates of
oil production, high military spending, widespread corruption and a
powerful insider’s network of businesses.
B. THE PEOPLE
The population is ~22,505,200. The official language is Arabic.
As many as 1.8 million Iraqi refugees, many of them Christian, have
swelled the population, but are not accounted for in any ethnic or
~90.3% are Arab (Syrian Arab, Alawi, Bedouin, Palestinian, Druze).
~9.7% are Other (Kurd, Dom Gypsy, Armenian, Turk/Turkmen).
C. RELIGIONS AND CHRISTIANITY/PENTECOSTALISM
The government recognizes Islam as the religion of the majority. Other
minorities are accorded rights and privileges, with a measure of
~90% are Muslim, ~6.34% Christian, ~2.25% Other (Druze, others), ~1.4%
Non-religious, ~0.01% Baha’i.
Of those claiming the Christian category:
~3.11% are Catholics, ~3.02% Orthodox, ~0.14% Protestant, ~0.04%
Independent, ~0.02% Anglican.
Evangelicals represent ~0.1% of the population
Charismatics represent ~<0.1% and about one quarter of those are
Operation World, Jason Mandryk. Colorado Springs: Biblica Publishing, 2010.