Provinces of Syria

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Sorin Cosoveanu provided 2004-09-22 census data and revised areas of subdivisions from the Syrian Central Bureau of Statistics.

Country overview: 

Short nameSYRIA
ISO codeSY
LanguageArabic (ar)
Time zone+2~


The Ottoman Empire had a Syria province, containing the vilayets of Aleppo, Beirut, Syria (or Damascus), and Zor. During World War I, the British and French seized the southern part of the Ottoman Empire and parceled it out between themselves. The Treaty of Sèvres (1920-08-10) mandated Syria and Lebanon to France. Syria and Lebanon became independent and separate countries on 1944-01-01. Syria formed a union with Egypt, the United Arab Republic (U.A.R.), on 1958-02-01. They both became regions of the U.A.R. Syria withdrew from the union on 1961-09-29.

Other names of country: 

  1. Arabic: al-Jumhuriya al-Arabiya as-Suriya (formal)
  2. Danish: Syrien
  3. Dutch: Syrië, Syrische Arabische Republiek (formal)
  4. English: Syrian Arab Republic (formal)
  5. Finnish: Syyria
  6. French: Syrie f, République f Arabe Syrienne (formal)
  7. German: Syrien, Arabische Republik f Syrien n (formal)
  8. Icelandic: Sýrland
  9. Italian: Siria f
  10. Norwegian: Den arabiske republikk Syria (formal) (Bokmål), Den arabiske republikken Syria (formal) (Nynorsk), Syria
  11. Portuguese: Síria, República f Árabe Síria f (formal)
  12. Russian: Сирийская Арабская Республика (formal), Сирия
  13. Spanish: Siria, República f Árabe Siria f (formal)
  14. Swedish: Syrien
  15. Turkish: Suriye Arap Cumhuriyeti (formal)

Origin of name: 

Syria is probably from Phoenician tsur: rock

Primary subdivisions: 

Syria is divided into fourteen muhafazah (provinces, or governorates).

Al ḤasakahSY.HASY011,275,11823,3349,009
Ar RaqqahSY.RASY04793,51419,6187,575
As Suwaydā'SY.SUSY05313,2315,5502,143
Dayr az ZawrSY.DYSY071,004,74733,06012,765
Rif DimashqSY.RDSY082,273,07418,0186,957
14 provinces17,920,810185,18071,498
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes. If periods are replaced
    by hyphens, these are the same as the province codes from ISO 3166-2.
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
  • Population: 2004-09-22 census.
  • Capitals: Capitals have the same names as their provinces, except that
    Damascus is the capital of both Damascus and Rif Dimashq.

Further subdivisions:

See the Districts of Syria page.

The provinces are divided into sixty manatik (sing. mantika: districts), which are further divided into nawahi (sing. nahia: subdistricts). The nawahi contain villages, which are the smallest administrative units.

Territorial extent: 

Syria claims the Turkish province of Hatay, which the Syrians call Iskenderun.

The UN LOCODE page  for Syria lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.

Origins of names: 

  1. Aleppo: said to derive from Arabic Hala al-Shahbaa: milking the fair cow, referring to a legend that the patriarch Abraham milked a cow there
  2. Al Jazira: Arabic for the island, referring to the area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers
  3. Jabal Druze: Arabic jabal: mountain, named for Mount Druze in southern Syria

Change history: 

  1. 1920: France organized its mandate of Syria. Beirut became the capital. There were six semi-autonomous areas: Aleppo, Alexandretta, Damascus, Jabal Druze, Alaouites (Alawiya, `Alawite), and Lebanon (Great Lebanon; French: Grand Liban).
  2. 1923: Northern strip of Syria restored to Turkey by the Treaty of Lausanne.
  3. 1925: Syria state formed by merging Aleppo and Damascus provinces.
  4. 1926-05: Status of Lebanon changed from province to state, with its borders somewhat enlarged.
  5. 1930-05-14: The French imposed a new constitution, under which the French mandate consisted of the republics of Latakia (former Alaouites; French: Lattaquié), Lebanon, and Syria (including Alexandretta), and the semi-autonomous area of Jabal Druze.
  6. 1936: Latakia and Jabal Druze merged with Syria under new treaty with France.
  7. 1938-09-02: Alexandretta became independent as the Republic of Hatay (later merged with Turkey).
  8. 1944-01-01: Lebanon split from Syria.
  9. ~1946: Syria reorganized into the districts of Aleppo, Damascus, Euphrates (Al Furat), Hama, Hauran, Ḥimṣ, Jabal Druze, Al Jazira, and Latakia.
  10. ~1954: Name of Hauran changed to Dar`ā; name of Jabal Druze changed to As Suwaydā'; name of Al Jazira changed to Al Ḥasakah.
  11. ~1960: Euphrates split into Al Rashid and Dayr az Zawr; Idlib split from Aleppo.
  12. ~1962: Damascus split into Dimashq (Damascus) province and Damascus city (Madīnat Dimashq).
  13. ~1963: Name of Al Rashid changed to Ar Raqqah.
  14. 1964-08-27: Quneitra province split from Dimashq.
  15. 1967: Israel occupied the Golan Heights. This represents most of Quneitra and part of Dar`ā.
  16. ~1972: Ţarţūs split from Latakia.
  17. 1987: Status of Damascus city changed from governorate to province; Dimashq province brought under the jurisdiction of Damascus and called Rif Dimashq rural area.

Other names of subdivisions: 

  1. Aleppo: Alep (French); Alepo (Spanish); Haleb, Ḥalab (variant)
  2. Al Ḥasakah: Al Hasaka, Al-Haska, Al Hassake, El Haseke, Haseke, Hassakeh, Hazakieh (variant); Hassetché (French); Al Jezira, Jezireh (obsolete)
  3. Quneitra: Al Qunatirah, Al Qunayţirah, Al-Qunaytrah, Al Quneitera, El Quneitra, El Kenitra, Kunaitra, Kuneitra, Qunaytira, Qunitra (variant)
  4. Ar Raqqah: Al Rakka, Raqqa (variant); Al Rashid, Rashid (obsolete)
  5. As Suwaydā': Djebel Druze, Jabal Druze, Jebel Druse, Jebel ed Druz, Al Jubal ad Druze (obsolete); Gebel Druso (Italian-obsolete); Al Sueida, Es Sueida, Es Suweida, Soueida, Suwaidaa, Suwaydá, Swaidaa, Sweida (variant); Suayda (French)
  6. Damascus: Damas, Damas-Ville (French); Damasco (Italian, Portuguese, Spanish); Damaskus (German, Norwegian, Swedish); Damascus City, Dimashq, Dimishq, Madînat Dimashq (variant)
  7. Dar`ā: Dara'a, Dária, Dera`a, Derraa (variant); Hauran (obsolete)
  8. Dayr az Zawr: Dair-Ezzor, Dayr az Zaur, Deir Al Zour, Deir ez Zor, Der Azzor, Dier Elzour (variant)
  9. Hama: Ḥamāh (variant)
  10. Ḥimṣ: Homs (variant)
  11. Idlib: Adlib, Edleb, Idleb (variant)
  12. Latakia: Al Lādhiqīyah, El Ladhiqiya, Lattakia, Lattakieh, Lattikia (variant); Lattaquie (French)
  13. Rif Dimashq: Damas Campagne (French); Damascus Countryside, Damascus Rural (variant)
  14. Ţarţūs: Tartaus, Tartous (variant)

Population history:

Al Ḥasakah351,661468,506669,8871,275,118
Ar Raqqah177,964243,736348,383793,514
As Suwaydā'99,512139,650199,114313,231
Dayr az Zawr221,290292,780409,1301,004,747
Rif Dimashq346,977621,266917,3642,273,074


  1. 1960 census: Encyclopædia Britannica World Atlas, 1964 edition.
  2. 1970 census: Almanaque Abril, 1979 edition. Editora Abril, São Paulo, 1978.
  3. 1981 census: The Statesman's Year-Book, 1988-89 edition. St. Martin's Press, New York, 1988.
  4. Data from the 1994-09-03 census by province are not available. The total population was about 13,783,000.
  5. 2004 census: Syrian Central Bureau of Statistics  (retrieved 2009-07-24).
  6. A statistics page from the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development  had population estimates for 2002.
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