|Syria lies on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean
Sea. It is bordered by Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to
the south, Israel to the southwest, and Lebanon to the west.
Syria has about 145 km of Mediterranean coastline.
The coastal area is a fertile plain with a mild climate and receives the
most rainfall in the country. Inland, a range of mountains called the Jabal
al-Nusayriya (also called Alawieen) runs north and south, parallel to the
sea. The mountains are cool in the summer and often cold and snow-covered
in the winter.
|The largest cities in Syria, including Damascus
and Aleppo, are on the eastern slopes of these mountains. Damascus, the
capital, and the surrounding area, Ghota, have a moderately dry climate.
The area is famous for its orchards. The highest point in Syria is Mount
Hermon, southwest of Damascus, at 2,814 metres.
Farther east is the Syrian Desert, which extends into Jordan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. It is largely barren, except for irrigated areas near the Euphrates River and its tributaries. To the south the desert occupies an ancient volcanic area. Volcanic rock has been cleared from the land so that it can be used for agriculture.
|The Euphrates River is wide but shallow,
with shifting sandbars. It is used mainly for irrigation and fishing and
is also important for the generation of electrical power. The Tabaqah Dam,
constructed along the Euphrates River, is Syrias main source of electricity.
Turkey has also built dams along the Euphrates River, which have reduced
its flow in Syria. As a result, Syria experiences frequent power shortages.
The climate on the coast is typical of Mediterranean countries, with hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. Farther inland, the climate is drier and the desert areas receive very little rainfall.
Olive, pine, eucalyptus, locust, fig, palm, poplar,
cottonwood and citrus trees and many grapevines grow in the fertile parts
of Syria. In the spring, irises and tulips bloom in many areas. Orange
blossoms, poppies, bougainvillea and jasmine grow in the cities during
spring and summer. The Damascene Rose grows in Damascus. Even in the desert,
there are oases, which are natural springs where banana and date palms