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Visa information on Syria:

Background information on Syria:

Following the breakup of the Ottoman Empire during World War I , Syria was administered by the F rench until independence in 1946. In the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, Syria lost the Golan Heights to Israel . Since 1976, Syrian troops have been stationed in Lebanon , ostensibly in a peacekeeping capacity. In recent years, Syria and Israel have held occasional peace talks over the return of the Golan Heights .

The Lonely Planet reports:

Syria is a country in ruins. The place is full of them: cast-aside castles, teetering teatros and fallen-down fortresses. Syria has squirmed under the thumb of empire builders from Rome , Persia , Egypt , Turkey and Babylon , and every last one of them has left their architectural tag on the place.

The vestiges of Roman Palmyra are one of the Middle East 's top sites, and Syria also lays claim to the oldest continuously occupied city, the spunkiest Crusader castle, the best preserved Roman theatre and the monument to the silliest martyr.

Admittedly, Syria is still on the US State Department's list of the seven countries sponsoring terrorism, but don't let that put you off. The Syrian government may not be among the world's most benevolent, but the Syrian people are renowned for their friendliness and hospitality. Just keep abreast of world events that may increase tensions and avoid demonstrations and political gatherings.

Factsheet Lebanon:

Full country name: Syrian Arab Republic
Area: 185,180 sq km
Population: 17.5 million
Capital City : Damascus (pop 6 million)
People: Arabs (90%), Kurds, Armenians, Circassians , Turks
Language: Arabic, Kurdish, Armenian, Turkish, English
Religion: 74% Sunni Muslim, 16% other Muslim, 10% Christian
Government: Military republic
Head of State: President Bashar al- Assad
Head of Government: Prime Minister Muhammad Naji al- Otari

GDP: US$41.7 billion
GDP per capita: US$2,500
Annual Growth: 2%
Inflation: 15-20%
Major Industries: Oil, agriculture, textiles
Major Trading Partners: Ukraine , EU, Turkey , Lebanon , Japan

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