Syria is found in southwest Asia, on the east coast of the Mediteranean Sea. Syria shares borders with Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, and Israel. It is fortunate to be located on the fertile Mediterranean coast - this allows agriculture to play a critical role in the country's economy.
Population: 17.9 million (2013 est.)
Ethnic Groups: Arab (90.3%), Kurds, Armenians, and other (9.7%)
Languages: Arabic (official), Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic, Circassian (widely understood); French, English (somewhat understood)
Religions: Sunni Muslim (74%), Alawite, Druze, other Muslim (16%), Christian (10%)
SYRIANS IN TORONTO
In Canada: 31,375
In the GTA: 6,005
In the City of Toronto: 2,175
Primary Areas of Settlement in the GTA (Social Atlas):
Vaughan, Brampton, Mississauga, City of Toronto (Ward 42 Scarborough Rouge River)
Syria became independent from France in 1946. Political unrest and economic sanctions have contributed to Syria's troubled role in the Middle East. Recently, international pressure has forced Syria to take a more moderate position on its foreign policies. Today, Syria's economy is dependent on agriculture, oil, and tourism. Economic progress is being made, but is slow. Syria has been a secular state since independence. The vast majority of the population is Muslim, but the Christian minority enjoys significantly more freedom than in other areas of the Middle East. Nevertheless, they do face discrimination (for example, in trying to find housing.)
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