Terrain shapes and bedrock
A narrow coastal zone between Lebanon and Turkey, about
140 km long, has alternating sandy beaches and rocky coasts,
the latter most in the north. The mountain massif begins
immediately within the coastal zone with Jabal an-Nusayriya
with an average height of about 800 m above sea level. and a
maximum height of 1,526 m above sea level. Just east of this
mountain ridge runs the narrow, north-south Ghab sink, which
is flooded by the Nahr al-Asi river.
Anti-Lebanon's high horst mountains farther south form a
border with Lebanon with Syria's highest peak Hermon (2,814
m above sea level) on the border. Further south, towards
Israel, follows the Golan Mountains. Inland, a number of
mountain ridges rise, including the volcanic Jabal ad-Duruz
furthest south and Jabal al-Khunayzir and Jabal Abu Rujmayn
COUNTRYAAH, the rest of Syria consists mainly of plains and plateaus,
largely rock, gravel and sand deserts. The largest river is
the Euphrates, which flows into Turkey, flows through
eastern Syria and continues into Iraq. A dam has been built,
the Tabaqa Dam, which formed the country's largest water
collection, Lake Asad.
The bedrock in Syria is mostly made up of porous
sandstone and limestone as well as basalt and gives rise to
underground springs and streams, which drain half of the
water in the country. Among the soils are marked black soil
as well as muddy, sandy and in the Euphrates valley
The coastal area and the western mountains have
Mediterranean climate with dry, hot summer and winter with
rain. The annual rainfall amounts to 750-1 250 mm. The
average temperature in January is 13 ～ C, in August 27 ～ C.
The hinterland has a dry climate with an annual rainfall of
250-500 mm, in the southeast 125 mm, and an average
temperature of over 30 ～ C in summer and 5 ～ C in winter.
However, frost can occur and snow is common. In the summer,
most winds blow, but on average twice a year the hot and
dusty desert wind chamsin inland.
The flora is quite rich in its parts, especially in the
mountainous regions. The Euphrates river valley contains
tamarisk, Saʹlix peʹrsica, Poʹpulus euphraʹtica
and a number of species and genus from the Mediterranean
flora, which in Syria transitions into the Saharan-Sindian
flora typical of the arid region from North Africa to the
Most of Syria has more or less treeless vegetation with
species such as the wormwood Artemiʹsia heʹrba-aʹlba,
Anaʹbasis hausskneʹchtii and the amaranth plant
In the east, at the border with Iraq, species such as
Euphorbia deʹnsa and Psammogeʹton criniʹtum occur.
In the south you will find, among other things, the
glacial plant Mesembryaʹnthemum forskaʹhlii,
the carnation plant Polycaʹrpon prostraʹtum and
species from the genus Fagoʹnia and Farseʹtia.
The fauna is adapted to deserts and semi-deserts. There
are only a few large mammal species left (a total of 63
mammal species). Predators include caracal, sand cat and
sand fox (Vuʹlpes rueppeʹllii). Leopard,
cheetah and striped hyena have disappeared.
Among ungulates only Arab gazelle (Gazeʹlla gazeʹlla)
and possibly gazelle (Gazeʹlla subgutturoʹsa)
remain. There are several species of desert rodents,
including gold hamster, blind rat Nannoʹspalax
ehrenbeʹrgi and three species of desert rats.
About 200 species of birds breed in Syria, most of them
desert, including desert runner, white-bellied flying hen,
ten species of larch and five species of stone wasps. In
spring and autumn, large numbers of migrating birds of prey
and storks pass, especially along the mountain range near
the Mediterranean coast.
Syria has no legislation for nature conservation areas
and therefore no reserves and has not signed the most
important international nature protection conventions.
However, there are some so-called protected state forest
Damascus, (Arab. Dimashq or al-Sham), the capital and second largest city in
Syria (after Aleppo) and one of the major cities of the Arab world; approximately 1.7
million input (2011); Damascus has had a very strong population growth in recent
times, but hard fighting since 2011 has influenced both population and urban
image. Damascus continues to have significant minority groups, including
Christians and the Shia Muslim Alawis. The former thriving Jewish minority has
predominantly emigrated to Israel.
In order to keep pace with the migration, a number of high-rise neighborhoods
have been constructed, just as Damascus has gained extensive industrial areas
and the other characteristics of the modern metropolis in the form of
thoroughfares, extensive park areas, modern shopping areas, public offices, etc.
The old town, the medina, lies south of the river Barada and is surrounded by
a huge fortification. Within the city walls are narrow, crooked streets with
numerous small workshops and shops. In the northwest is the famous Umayyad
Mosque and Suq el-Hamidiye, which, with its mark of the original Levant, were
the tourists' favorite trading district. A number of remediation projects were
implemented in the 1990's around the mosque.
Damascus lies at 700 m in height on the fertile al-Ghuta plateau in the
southwestern part of the country. To the west lies the mountains of Antilibanon,
and here springs Barada, which supplies the city and the surrounding area with
water. Precipitation falls almost exclusively in winter, and there is often
water shortage in summer.
The business structure of the city is characterized by trade and industry
(including textile, furniture, food and cement industry), but also by the large
state administration; the country's political and administrative power is
centered in Damascus. Previous competition with Aleppo in North Syria has
clearly fallen to Damascus' favor. At the same time, the city is a national and
international traffic hub, as well as being the headquarters of several
religious communities. In November 2000, the Danish Institute of Damascus was
inaugurated in a renovated building in the central part of the Old Town.