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Syria Fast Facts

By CNN Library
June 19, 2014 -- Updated 1650 GMT (0050 HKT)

(CNN) -- Syria is a Middle Eastern country sharing a border with Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey. The Syrian uprising began in March 2011. As of August 2013, more than 100,000 Syrians have been killed, according to the United Nations. The death toll is no longer being updated by the United Nations due to methodology issues.

About Syria:
(from the CIA World Factbook)
Area: 185,180 sq km, slightly larger than North Dakota

Population: 17,951,639 (July 2014 est.)

Median age: 23.3 years old

Capital: Damascus (2.5 million)

Ethnic Groups: Arab 90.3%, Kurds, Armenians, and other 9.7%

Religion: Sunni Muslim 74%, other Muslim (includes Alawite, Druze) 16%, and Christian (various denominations) 10%

GDP: $107.6 billion (2011 estimate)

GDP per capita: $5,100 (2011 estimate)

Unemployment: 17.8% (2013 estimate)

Timeline:
1517-1918 - Part of the Ottoman Empire.

1920 - The League of Nations puts Syria under French control.

April 17, 1946 - Independence is declared after French troops leave the country.

1949-1958 - A series of coups leads to instability in the country.

February 1, 1958 - Syria and Egypt merge, creating the United Arab Republic.

September 28, 1961 - Syria secedes from the United Arab Republic.

1967 - Syria loses the Golan Heights to Israel during the Six Day War.

November 13, 1970 - Minister of Defense Hafez al-Assad stages a bloodless coup.

1976-2005 - Approximately 17,000 Syrian troops are stationed in neighboring Lebanon.

1979-present - Syria is placed on the U.S. State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism.

June 10, 2000 - Hafez al-Assad dies.

July 10, 2000 - Bashar al-Assad is elected president by referendum, winning 97% of the vote. He is reelected in 2007.

March 2011-present - An ongoing civil war in Syria claims more than 100,000 lives.

January 22, 2014 - At the Geneva II conference, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the path to a peaceful Syria must involve the world community, but cannot include Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

June 3, 2014 - President Bashar al-Assad is re-elected receiving 88.7% of the vote in the country's first election since civil war broke out in 2011. The election is criticized by opposition groups and many Western countries.

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