Middle East

RAW DATA: Background on Syria's Crackdown

Over the last six months, some 1,800 to 2,000 protesters have been killed by the government, more than 12,000 arrested, and tens of thousands have fled as refugees.

Bashar Assad

Bashar al-Assad, 45, came to power in 2000 after the death of his father who ruled Syria for 30 years.

• President Assad's Syria has near-complete control of the media, while internet and cell phone access has been repeatedly shut down during the chaos.

• In speeches, Assad has accused protesters of causing civilian deaths, arguing "saboteurs" are leading a conspiracy against the Syrian people.

• Assad's security forces have used kidnappings, abductions, and torture - including brutal death of a 13-year-old named Hamza - in an attempt to quell the protests that have included hundreds of thousands of Syrians.

• Aug 17: Assad told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on that military and police operations against protesters had stopped.

• Bashar has the power to change the country’s Constitution at will.

• Assad’s Baath Party has ruled Syria since 1963 with almost no dissent. It counts about 10 percent of Syrians (about 2 million people) as members.


• Nearly 20 percent of Syria is unemployed.

• About 55 of the population is 25 years and younger.

• In 2002, the "Axis of Evil" was expanded to include Syria.

• Syria has been designated a State Sponsor of Terrorism since Dec 29, 1979.

• Parliamentary Republic? Syria's executive branch holds the power to pick and choose what political parties can participate in the political process, effectively giving the Baath Party total control over parliament, this parliamentary republic is actually considered an authoritarian government.

• Oil Production: 401,000 bbl/day (2010).

Sources: Syrian National Human Rights Organization, U.S. Department of State, Council on Foreign Relations, Christian Science Monitor, Wall Street Journal.