Last updated: July 2nd, 2021

The Syrian Arab Republic lies on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and borders Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan and Israel to the south, and Lebanon to the west. Syria is about half the size of Germany. The capital Damascus is located in the southwest of the country. Syria has about 17 million inhabitants. A further 6.6 million Syrians were internationally recognised as refugees in 2021, living in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey in particular. In addition, 6.2 million Syrians were displaced within Syria. In Syria, 11.1 million are dependent on humanitarian aid.

Until the withdrawal of French troops and the attainment of full independence in 1946, Syria was a mandated territory first of the League of Nations, then of the UN. In 1958, Syria joined with Egypt in the spirit of pan-Arabism to form the United Arab Republic, but it only lasted for three years in this form. In 1971, Hafiz Al-Assad, the father of the current president, came to power.

Syria was particularly hard hit by the political upheavals in many Arab countries. Since 2011, different groups have been fighting for power in the country with no reconciliation in sight and international sanctions in place. The diverse opposition is particularly concerned with replacing President Bashar Al-Assad, who has been in office since 2000 and was re-elected in 2021 for another seven-year term. In December 2012, more than 130 states – including Germany – recognised the Syrian National Coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people. This coalition also holds Syria’s membership in the Arab League.

Despite the difficult situation, trade relations exist between Germany and Syria. Germany exported goods worth 59.3 million euros to Syria in 2020, mainly chemical products, machinery, and food. Syria exported mainly food, raw materials, and textiles worth 16 million euros to Germany.