Syria Economy Overview

By | December 17, 2021

The Syria was for a long time subject to various foreign rulers who paid little attention to its economic and social progress and, once it reached its independence, it was faced with many difficulties, due not only to the absence of industries but also to the archaic backwardness of its agriculture. However, the latter has always represented the country’s only resource, despite the aridity of the climate and the presence of a mountainous area that is not very usable for agricultural purposes. In 1962 34.5% of the land area was cultivated, and just 558,000 ha of land were irrigated. Despite this, up to 1966 over 70% of the active population was employed in the primary sector. Today the general picture is completely different (arable 27.7%, tree crops 1.9%,

The most widespread crops remain cereals and those typical of the Mediterranean environment. For cereals, we find wheat (1,590,000 ha and 17,900,000 q in 1976) and barley (1,172,000 ha and 10,590,000 q in 1976) at the top; followed by corn, rice, millet and oats. Horticultural crops, on the other hand, are in clear progress, both as regards the area destined for them, and for production, and the same can be said for the olive tree (280,000 q of oil) and for other oil plants (sesame, peanuts), for fruit trees (citrus, apricots) and for industrial crops (tobacco: 120,000 q, sugar beet, cotton). In a very slight decrease, both productive and areal, is the vine (82,000 ha, 2,800,000 q of grapes of which 70,000 q of dried grapes, already renowned in ancient times). For Syria 1997, please check

Livestock farming remains one of the traditional resources of the country, to which the nomadic population is especially dedicated; in recent times the composition of the livestock has changed considerably as there has been a decrease in the number of sheep and goats, as well as mules and camels to the advantage of an increase in cattle, of the Ba’ladi species (national), of donkeys, buffaloes and birds. The breeding of Arabian horses is good, while the quantity of breeding products (butter, eggs, cheese, wool) is fair.

Fishing is not very popular; however, on the coasts of the Syria many sponges are fished, a fairly important item of exports.

From the mining point of view, Syria was considered a very poor nation until 1964, which focused all its efforts on strengthening the electricity sector, at the time based exclusively on thermal energy. In 1975 the electricity produced was 1673 million kWh with an installed power of 616,000 kW: these values, much higher than those of 1960, were achieved thanks also to a diversification of production, as electricity it is no longer exclusively thermal since the Tabqa dam on the Euphrates came into operation. Mining research all began after 1960 and led to the discovery of natural asphalt deposits in Kafria (21,100 t in 1972), of rock salt in Deir ez-Zor (40,000 t) and above all of oil, which was found in 1964 in the north-eastern part of the country: in fact, the main wells (Karatchok, Suwaidiyah, Rumaila, Hamseh) are concentrated, which in 1977 produced 10,680,000 tons of crude oil, conveyed through an oil pipeline of 650 km, up to the Ḥimṣ refinery and the port of Tortosa. The production of phosphates (650,000 t) is significant, while the deposits of iron in Damascus, chromium and manganese in the Alawit region, copper in the Aleppo area and lead and zinc in M. Hermon are in decline.

The industries are also recently formed: the most important are linked to the development of cotton cultivation, which has favored the rise of textile plants in Damascus and Aleppo (116,000 spindles, 4546 looms) which produced in 1975-31,700 t of cotton yarn, 36,400 t of cotton fabrics, and 1100 t of wool yarn. Discrete are the food industries (oil mills in Ḥamān and Laodicea (Latakia), milling industry in Damascus and Aleppo, sugar factory in Ḥimṣ, breweries in Damascus), while the traditional industries of silk (Ḥamān) and leather tanning are in constant decline., you still work with archaic methods, except in Damascus and Aleppo. On the contrary, glass processing offers discrete prospects of efficiency and modernity, at least for the oriental world. Today, cement factories (Dummar,

The lines of communication, still underdeveloped, contribute to delaying the concrete economic take-off of the state. In 1973 the railway network was 1333 km overall; the road of 13,513 km, of which just over 5,000 are asphalted. In Syria there are two oil pipelines, the main one coming from Iraq, which passes through the Ḥimṣ refinery, where it forks into the Ḥimṣ-Banyas branch and the Ḥimṣ-Tripoli branch. The other pipeline connects Qatif to Sidon.

In the commercial field, state finances have suffered the repercussions of recent political and military events: in 1963 the banks were nationalized definitively, but despite this and other measures adopted to reduce the deficit, the foreign trade balance remains constantly in deficit. with exports stationary at values ​​only slightly higher than half of imports. Partial remediation of this chronic deficit is the tolls linked to transit rights on Iraqi oil.

Syria Economy Overview