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Syria Fast Facts

Caption:A picture taken on March 14, 2014 shows Syrian citizens riding their bicycles the ancient oasis city of Palmyra, 215 kilometres northeast of Damascus. From the 1st to the 2nd century, the art and architecture of Palmyra, standing at the crossroads of several civilizations, married Graeco-Roman techniques with local traditions and Persian influences. AFP PHOTO/JOSEPH EID (Photo credit should read JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images)

(CNN)Syria is a Middle Eastern country sharing a border with Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey. The Syrian uprising began in March 2011. As of August 2015, more than 250,000 people have been killed and 12 million displaced because of the conflict, according to the United Nations.

About Syria:
(from the CIA World Factbook)
Area: 185,180 sq km, slightly larger than North Dakota
Population: 17,064,854 (July 2014 estimate)
    Median age: 23.8 years old
    Capital: Damascus (2.5 million)
    Ethnic Groups: Arab 90.3%, Kurds, Armenians, and other 9.7%
    Religion: Sunni Muslim 74%, other Muslim 13%, Christian (various denominations) 10%, and Druze 3%
    GDP (purchasing power parity): $107.6 billion (2011 estimate)
    GDP per capita: $5,100 (2011 estimate)
    Unemployment: 57.7% (2015 estimate)
    Timeline:
    1517-1918 -
    Part of the Ottoman Empire.
    1920 - The League of Nations puts Syria under French control.
    April 17, 1946 - Independence is declared after French troops leave the country.
    1949-1958 - A series of coups leads to instability in the country.
    February 1, 1958 - Syria and Egypt merge, creating the United Arab Republic.
    September 28, 1961 - Syria secedes from the United Arab Republic.
    1967 - Syria loses the Golan Heights to Israel during the Six Day War.
    November 13, 1970 - Minister of Defense Hafez al-Assad stages a bloodless coup.
    1976-2005 - Approximately 17,000 Syrian troops are stationed in neighboring Lebanon.
    1979-present - Syria is placed on the U.S. State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism.
    June 10, 2000 - Hafez al-Assad dies.
    July 10, 2000 - Bashar al-Assad is elected president by referendum, winning 97% of the vote. He is reelected in 2007.
    March 2011-present - An ongoing civil war in Syria claims more than 100,000 lives.
    June 3, 2014 - President Bashar al-Assad is re-elected receiving 88.7% of the vote in the country's first election since civil war broke out in 2011. The election is criticized by opposition groups and many Western countries.
    August 22, 2014 - The U.N. releases the findings from a new analysis of deaths in Syria. The report states that 191,369 men, women and children have died in Syria between March 2011 and the end of April 2014.
    September 22-23, 2014 - The U.S. and allies launch airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria for the first time.
    May 2015 - ISIS takes control of the ancient city of Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back 2,000 years, and begins destroys its temples and shrines in the months that follow.
    August 17, 2015 - The U.N. says the humanitarian crisis in Syria is worsening and estimates that at least 250,000 Syrians have been killed, more than a million have been injured, and almost half the population displaced since the civil war began in 2011.
    February 4, 2016 - Donor countries have pledged more than $10 billion for Syria at an international conference in London, British Prime Minister David Cameron announces.