The conflict in Aleppo, Syria continues. Aleppo, the largest of Syria's cities, has an approximate population of over 3.5 million people. It lies in the northeastern section of Syria, less than 100 km from the border with Turkey.
Following World War I, France acquired a mandate over the northern portion of the former Ottoman Empire province of Syria. The French administered the area as Syria until granting it independence in 1946. The new country lacked political stability and experienced a series of military coups. Syria united with Egypt in February 1958 to form the United Arab Republic. In September 1961, the two entities separated, and the Syrian Arab Republic was reestablished. In November 1970, Hafiz al-Asad, a member of the socialist Ba'th Party and the minority Alawi sect, seized power in a bloodless coup and brought political stability to the country. Following the death of President Hafiz al-Asad, his son, Bashar al-Asad, was approved as president by popular referendum in July 2000. In May 2007, Bashar al-Asad's second term as president was approved by popular referendum.
Influenced by major uprisings that began elsewhere in the region, and compounded by additional social and economic factors, anti-government protests broke out first in the southern province of Dar'a in March 2011 with protesters calling for the repeal of the restrictive Emergency Law allowing arrests without charge, the legalization of political parties, and the removal of corrupt local officials. Demonstrations and violent unrest spread across Syria with the size and intensity of protests fluctuating.
International pressure on the Asad regime has intensified since late 2011, as the Arab League, EU, Turkey, and the US expanded economic sanctions against the regime. In December 2012, the Syrian National Coalition, was recognized by more than 130 countries as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people. Peace talks between the Coalition and Syrian regime at the UN-sponsored Geneva II conference in 2014 failed to produce a resolution of the conflict. Unrest continues in Syria, and according to an April 2016 UN estimate, the death toll among Syrian Government forces, opposition forces, and civilians had reached 400,000. As of January 2016, approximately 13.5 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance in Syria, with 6.5 million people displaced internally, and an additional 4.8 million Syrian refugees, making the Syrian situation the largest humanitarian crisis worldwide.
Syria's climate is mostly desert; hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters along coast. The terrain is primarily a semiarid desert plateau, with a narrow coastal plain and mountains in west. The country's natural resources include: petroleum, phosphates, chrome and manganese ores, asphalt, iron ore, rock salt, marble, and gypsum.
CIA World Factbook, 8/2016
This map has also been used:
- Palmyra, Syria, January 2016