Results for Category: Syria

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Society

Syria’s ethnic and religious composition is fairly homogenous. The population is overwhelmingly Arab and of Sunni Muslim religious denomination. Its dominant culture is Arab Islamic. Ethnic and religious minorities have nonetheless left a significant mark on Syrian society. The population distribution is uneven, with most of the Syrians living in the western part of the country. An extensive desert stretches across most of Syria’s eastern territory.

Imbalances

There are notable – regional and other – imbalances in Syria in regard to the distribution of age, work, wealth and – inversely – poverty. According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP, Poverty in Syria, data for 2003-2004), almost two million inhabitants (11.4 percent of the population) cannot meet their basic food and non-food needs. Using a broader definition of poverty, 30.1 percent of the population (5.3 million individuals) may be considered poor.

Past to Present

In mid-March 2011 the Syrian authorities faced mass protests as people demanded basic rights. These protests soon led to violent clashes with the Syrian security forces, and many protestors were killed or arrested. The uprising culminated in a large-scale conflict in which the opposition took up arms to defend itself against the government forces, leading to severe destruction and many casualties. The conflict has increasingly attracted the involvement of outside forces, leading to growing sectarian tensions in the region. As of October 2015, more than 4 million Syrians had fled the country and the death toll since 2011 had passed 250,000.