Yearbook 1996

Syria. The relationship with the enemy Iraq seemed to improve somewhat during the year, mainly due to both boats’ deteriorating relations with Turkey. Both Syria and Iraq are concerned about Turkey’s efforts to regulate the Euphrates and Tigris rivers and were upset that Turkey signed a military cooperation agreement with Israel.

Very little information on domestic policy problems seeps out of closed Syria. According to foreign reports, a number of explosive attacks occurred in Syrian cities in May and June, and at least 15 people were reported to have been killed by a bus bomb in Damascus on New Year’s Eve. The attacks were linked by some to the tense relationship with Turkey and Syria’s support for the Kurdish separatist movement PKK in Turkey, others saw a link to Lebanon, where an increasingly strong anti-Syrian atmosphere was felt in the fall. From a Syrian point of view, nothing was said.

  • ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG: What does SY stand for? In the field of geography, this two letter acronym means Syria. Check this to see its other meanings in English and other 35 languages.

Peace contacts with Israel are frozen. Both Syria and Israel heard mutual accusations in the autumn about preparations for war. The conflict concerns whether Israel should evacuate the annexed Golan Heights in exchange for Syria agreeing to peace and normal relations.

In 1980, an alliance was established between Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Jordan. The friction between this group and Syria was further heightened by the outbreak of the Iraq-Iran war. The Syrian government blamed Iraq for provoking the war and “for diverting attention from the region’s central problem” – the Palestinian issue. At the end of the year, tensions with Jordan were accused of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. This brought both countries to the brink of war. Only mediation from Saudi Prince Abdalla Ibn Abdul-Aziz prevented the conflict from developing further.

In 1981, the “missile crisis” erupted in Lebanon as troops from the Christian Phalangist militia tried to control the Lebanese city of Zahde. Once again, Syria intervened militarily to prevent the advance of the Christians. Syria installed Soviet SAM-6 ground to air rockets, triggering an Israeli response. The crisis was initially overcome, but in 82 Israel invaded Lebanon and destroyed, among other things. the Syrian air batteries. Damascus retained its 30,000-man invasion force in Lebanon and made its withdrawal dependent on similar withdrawal by the Israeli invasion forces.

In mid-83, a serious crisis developed between the Syrian authorities and the leadership of the PLO, prompting Syria to provide comprehensive support to the Palestinian groups opposed to Yasser Arafat’s leadership. Meanwhile, the price of oil on the world market fell, which further exacerbated the financial problems created by the war, and in 84 the government was forced to implement a tight crisis package, including This included tightening control over financial activities, closing the borders on smuggling of ordinary goods – a traffic that had hitherto been tolerated – and a drastic reduction in public spending. In 85, the smuggling of Lebanon fell by 90% and the deterioration of the balance of payments slowed.

In 85, Al-Assad renewed his presidential term by another 7 years when he got 99.8% of the vote. A result similar to the “elections” in 71 and 78. Despite this, in 87, a serious political crisis developed, forcing Prime Minister Abdul Rauf al-Kassem to resign following allegations of corruption. On November 1, President Mahmoud Az-Zoubi was elected new president.

In April 87, an Arab summit was held in which the majority against financial support voted in favor of restoring Syria’s position and condemning Iran for extending the war. Syria did not change its stance on Iran, and at the same time took the opportunity to veto Egypt’s re-entry into the Arab League.

In October 86, the British government accused Syria of supporting the implementation of a terrorist attack on an Israeli aircraft at London’s airport. In November, most of the EU member states cut off diplomatic relations with Syria, although some disagreed with this move. In July 87, all EC countries – with the exception of Britain – decided to resume relations after the Syrian government announced that it was suspending support for the Al-Fatah Revolutionary Council – a Palestinian organization opposed to Yasser Arafat. In May 90, diplomatic relations with Egypt were resumed. Some observers linked this development with the reduction in Soviet military assistance to Syria.

When Iraq invaded Kuwait in August of that year, Syria quickly joined the anti-Iraqi alliance and sent troops to Saudi Arabia. This contributed to a significant improvement in diplomatic relations with the United States. In the shadow of the crisis, Syria significantly increased its influence in Lebanon, where it succeeded in strengthening the country’s government and disarming most of the country’s independent militias.


About 50 Israeli attacks in 2020

December 31st

An annual report by the Israeli Armed Forces, which covers events until December 20, states that Israel carried out military attacks on about 50 targets in Syria by 2020. Israel rarely comments on details or individual attacks, but it is well known, also through statements by Israeli politicians, that it is primarily about targets with suspected links to Iran and the help the Syrian regime receives from the rulers of Tehran. The Lebanese Shiite guerrilla Hezbollah, which is also taking part in the Syrian civil war on the side of the Assad regime, is also being attacked.

IS command strikes at soldier bus

December 30th

An ambush on a bus in eastern Syria killed 37 soldiers, including eight officers. The Islamic State (IS) assumes responsibility. IS’s propaganda department states that those who traveled in the bus were Alawites, fellow believers of President Bashar al-Assad. Sunni extremists such as IS regard Alawites as heretics. SOHR describes the attack as one of the most violent events since IS was driven away from its “caliphate”.

Car bomb in buffer zone

December 10th

In the buffer zone that Turkey controls on the Syrian side of the countries’ common border, 16 people lose their lives when a car bomb detonates at a roadblock in Ras al-Ain. Among the dead are, in addition to two civilians, three Turkish soldiers and members of a militia fighting for Turkey’s interests in the area. The buffer zone extends twelve miles along the border, from Ras al-Ain to Tal Abyad, and there are repeated bombings. Before Turkey and its allies occupied the zone last year, it was controlled mainly by Kurdish forces. SOHR also reports that nine Syrians, militarily trained by Iran, have been killed by one of IS ‘dormant terrorist cells “in al-Mayadin in eastern Syria.

Least fatal year since 2011

December 9th

2020 looks set to be the deadliest since the civil war in Syria broke out in 2011. SOHR estimates the conflict’s total death toll at 387,000. At the beginning of the year, when SOHR last published an estimate, it was just over 380,000. According to the usually well-informed organization, there are 117,000 civilians, of whom 22,000 are children. The Lebanese Hezbollah movement, which fights on the side of the Assad regime, is believed to have lost 1,700 men. For the jihadist movements, mainly the Islamic State (IS) and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, SOHR counts 67,500 dead. The Kurdish-dominated SDF forces are said to have lost 12,500 soldiers in battle, including some women. According to the UN, 5.5 million Syrians are registered as refugees abroad, while 6.7 million remain in Syria as internally displaced persons.

Population 1996

According to, the population of Syria in 1996 was 14,345,381, ranking number 58 in the world. The population growth rate was 2.880% yearly, and the population density was 78.1217 people per km2.

Syria Population Distribution by Age