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Syria Issues - 2024


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Disputes - international

Syria-Iraq: none identified

Syria-Israel: Golan Heights is Israeli-controlled with UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) patrolling a buffer zone since 1974; because of ceasefire violations and increased military activity in the Golan Heights, the UN Security Council continues to extend UNDOF’s mandate; since 2000, Lebanon has claimed Shab'a Farms in the Golan Heights

Syria-Jordan: the two countries signed an agreement in 2005 to settle the border dispute based on a 1931 demarcation accord; the two countries began demarcation in 2006

Syria-Lebanon: discussions on demarcating the two countries’ maritime borders were held in April 2021, after Syria signed a contract with a Russian company to conduct oil and gas exploration in a disputed maritime area, but the issue was not resolved

Syria-Turkey: none identified

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 580,000 (Palestinian Refugees) (2022); 11,121 (Iraq) (2023)

IDPs: 6.865 million (ongoing civil war since 2011) (2022)

stateless persons: 160,000 (2022); note - Syria's stateless population consists of Kurds and Palestinians; stateless persons are prevented from voting, owning land, holding certain jobs, receiving food subsidies or public healthcare, enrolling in public schools, or being legally married to Syrian citizens; in 1962, some 120,000 Syrian Kurds were stripped of their Syrian citizenship, rendering them and their descendants stateless; in 2011, the Syrian Government granted citizenship to thousands of Syrian Kurds as a means of appeasement; however, resolving the question of statelessness is not a priority given Syria's ongoing civil war

note: the ongoing civil war has resulted in more than 5 million registered Syrian refugees - dispersed mainly in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey - as of March 2024

Trafficking in persons

tier rating: Tier 3 — Syria does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so, therefore, Syria remained on Tier 3; a government policy or pattern of human trafficking and employing or recruiting child soldiers continued; Syrians were exploited in forced labor under compulsory military service for indefinite periods under threat of detention, torture, familial reprisal, or death; the government did not hold any traffickers criminally accountable nor identify or protect any victims; government actions directly contributed to the population’s vulnerability to trafficking, and it continued to perpetrate human trafficking crimes; government and pro-Syrian militias forcibly recruited and used child soldiers; the government did not prevent armed opposition forces and designated terrorist organizations from recruiting children; authorities continued to arrest, detain, and severely abuse trafficking victims, including child soldiers, and punished them for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked (2023)

trafficking profile: human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Syria, as well as Syrians abroad; more than half of Syria’s pre-war population of 23 million have been internally displaced or are refugees in other countries and extremely vulnerable to traffickers; the government continues to force military conscripts to serve indefinitely or risk detention, torture, familial reprisal, or death; children are vulnerable to forced marriages—including by terrorist groups such as ISIS—which can lead to sexual slavery and forced labor; armed groups, community members, and criminal gangs exploit women, girls, and boys in Syria—particularly populations such as IDPs or disabled individuals—in sex trafficking in exchange for food or money; foreign domestic workers from Southeast Asian countries, including Indonesia and the Philippines, are subject to forced labor and in some cases victims of fraudulent recruitment; Syrian Government forces, pro-regime militias, and opposition forces use Syrian children in combat and support roles, and sometimes as human shields; terrorist groups reportedly force, coerce, or fraudulently recruit foreigners to join them, including migrants from Central Asia and Western and other women, who are vulnerable to sex trafficking and forced labor; Syrian refugees in neighboring countries, particularly  Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, are highly vulnerable to sex trafficking and forced labor; Syrian women, girls, and boys are vulnerable to sex trafficking in Turkey by commercial sex rings or traffickers (2023)

Illicit drugs

increasing drug trafficking particularly the synthetic stimulant captagon, a mixture of various amphetamines, methamphetamine, and/or other stimulants;  drug smuggling of captagon and other stimulants linked to the Syrian government and Hizballah

NOTE: The information regarding Syria on this page is re-published from the 2024 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Syria 2024 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Syria 2024 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 04 May 24, Copyright © 2024 ITA all rights reserved.