Syria has been ruled by the secular, socialist Baath party since 1963, and by the Al-Assad family since 1970.

In the spring of 2011, a significant number of Syrians rose against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. The demonstrations were met with harsh repercussions and attacks from the military and the regime. International support of the demonstrations did not occur significantly until the end of 2011. 

The demonstrations and counter attacks on the protestors and population from the regime soon developed into a full scale civil war with numerous opposition groups with different political agendas often supported by external regimes or interest groups.

In 2013, the so-called Islamic State had expanded from Iraq into Northern Syria started making large and rapid military gains. In 2014, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militants declare "caliphate" in territory from Aleppo to eastern Iraqi province of Diyala.

They implement their own Wahhabi-inspired interpretation of Sharia Law, where public beheadings and stoning occur on a regular basis. 

Women are facing particular discrimination with girls being able marry at age 9, women must wear two black gowns to mask their body shape, and three veils so their eyes cannot be seen and a woman must always be accompanied by a male close relative.

So far, the civil war has produced more than 4 million refugees, 7,6 million internally displaced persons, and nearly 180,000 fatalities, according to Syrian Network for Human Rights.

Women faced legal and other forms of discrimination even before the uprising. While Syria was one of the first Arab countries to grant female suffrage, women remain underrepresented in Syrian politics and government.

During the armed conflict, regime forces have used systematical sexual and physical assaults against women as a weapon.

*All information regarding Syria is to be regarded with caution as access to sources and documentation is difficult because of the ongoing conflict.

Furthermore, as so many people are either internally displaced or have fled the country, numbers are most likely incomparable to the other countries in the region.




Total population


Female population (2014)


Total 0-14 years 


Total 15-64 years 


Total 65 years and over (2015)


Life expectancy at birth (2013)

78  years

Fertility rate (2013)

3 children born/woman

Total literacy rate (2013)


Total literacy rate among females (2015 est.)


School life expectancy ( primary to tertiary education, 2012)

12 years

Female enrolment at higher education*

*Higher education is the degree after achieving the high-school diploma.