A protest, a rare occurrence in Syria, was held on Thursday 17 February but few people turned up and those who did were not calling for regime change. A small rally in Damascus was organised after a shopkeeper’s son was allegedly beaten up by police. President Bashar al-Assad has promised political reform and greater internet freedom since the Arab unrest began.
Political system: republic
President: Bashar al-Assad – 2000 / …
Population: 20.1 million
Human Development Index1: 111th
1 HDI is calculated according to factors such as schooling, life expectancy and gross national income and is used by the UN’s Development Programme for its Human development reports.