Syria, is a Western Asian country located in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Levant. It is a unitary republic that consists of 14 governorates, and is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east and southeast, Jordan to the south, and Israel and Lebanon to the southwest. The name “Syria” historically referred to a wider region, broadly synonymous with the Levant, and known in Arabic as al-Sham. The modern state encompasses the sites of several ancient kingdoms and empires, including the Eblan civilization of the 3rd millennium BC.
Syria’s population is growing at a rate somewhat higher than the world average. The country’s birth rate is higher than that of most neighboring countries and is also higher than the world average. Life expectancy in Syria is well above the world average. Syria’s four traditional regions are the coastal strip, the mountains, the cultivated steppe, and the desert steppe. On the coast the fertile alluvial plains are intensively cultivated in both summer and winter.