Syria Fast Facts

A picture taken on March 14, 2014 shows Syrian citizens riding their bicycles by the ancient oasis city of Palmyra, 215 kilometres northeast of Damascus. JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images

(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 2015, more than 250,000 people have been killed and 12 million displaced because of the conflict, according to the United Nations.

About Syria:
(from the CIA World Factbook)
Area: 185,180 sq km, slightly larger than North Dakota
Population: 17,064,854 (July 2015 estimate)
    Median age: 23.8 years old
    Capital: Damascus
    Ethnic Groups: Arab 90.3%, Kurds, Armenians and other 9.7%
    Religion: Muslim 87%, Christian 10% and Druze 3%
    GDP (purchasing power parity): $55.8 billion (2014 estimate)
    GDP per capita: $5,100 (2011 estimate)
    Unemployment: 57.7% (2014 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 US 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 - Civil war in Syria.
    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.
    September 22-23, 2014 - The US and allies launch airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria for the first time.
    May 2015 - ISIS takes control of the ancient city of Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back 2,000 years, and destroys its temples and shrines in the months that follow.
    August 17, 2015 - The UN says the humanitarian crisis in Syria is worsening and estimates that at least 250,000 Syrians have been killed, more than a million have been injured, and almost half the population displaced since the civil war began in 2011.
    February 4, 2016 - Donor countries have pledged more than $10 billion for Syria at an international conference in London, British Prime Minister David Cameron announces.