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|Syrian Arab Republic|
Flag of Syria
|Government:||Ba'athist Arab Republic|
The Syrian Arab Republic, informally Syria, is a sovereign state in the Middle East. It is bordered by Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey. Sadly Syria is now wrecked by Civil war and enormous numbers of people want to flee.
A Ba'athist government has run Syria since 1963, which many regard as a dictatorship. Former Iraqi Head of State Saddam Hussein was also a Ba'athist. Despite the lack of free elections, Syria before the civil war was considered to be one of the most civilly free countries in the region, along with Israel and Turkey. The state was secular and the law was not entirely run on the basis of Islamic Shari'a, there are separate secular and religious courts, the secular courts handling state, criminal and civil matters while the religious courts handle personal/family matters between Muslims or between Muslims and non-Muslims. Although cases where both parties are non-Muslim are addressed in secular courts. The constitution allows freedom of religion, so Christians and Jews, a prominent proportion of the population, are not second-class citizens. Syria is officially democratic, but the president is president for life and cannot be elected out of office. The nation has the most extensive civil rights in the Arab world (though this isn't saying much), surpassing Egypt and Kuwait.
The United States and Israel are unfriendly towards Syria due to the country's actions in the Lebanese War, the end of which has resulted in Israel maintaining an occupation in the Syrian Golan Heights.
Syria's government is essentially a dictatorship. With no free elections and large numbers of political prisoners. The president, Bashar Al-Assad, has been in power since his father died. Neither of the men were elected into office.
The Ba'athist constitution, in fact, allows elections to be held by the people. However, the former president declared a state of emergency during his term in office, granting him (and, after his death, his son) full emergency powers and putting an end to elections until the state of emergency is nullified.
The nation has many Socialist policies, in the trend of the regime, which have resulted in decentralisation and subsidisation, making the Syrian economy one of the strongest in the region (not contending with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, of course).
During the Islamic era, Syria's capital Damascus was the seat of the Umayyad Empire, and a provincial capital of the Mamluk Empire. This has resulted in a lot of Damascus's architecture drawing greatly from Islamic culture. The city was also one of the most scientifically advanced during the era.
Philip Hitti claimed, "the scholars consider Syria as the teacher for the human characteristics," and Andrea Parrout writes, "each civilized person in the world should admit that he has two home countries: the one he was born in, and Syria."
Although the populace is largely Muslim and Islam has shaped much of Syria's history, there are pre-Islamic cultures and other religions that have great significance in the nation today.
Though nothing compared to the woman-decapitating antics of Saudi Arabia, Syria is not famed for its human rights. There are many political prisoners in the country that have spoken out against the Ba'ath party. Though there have been executions, some in Syria's government are ready to abolish the death penalty.
General targets for political imprisonment include the Muslim Brotherhood, unauthorised Kurdish organisations and other political dissent groups.
Since the civil war of course things got much worse.