Syria (officially Syrian Arab Republic), Arabic الجمهورية العربية السورية al-Dschumhūriyya al-'arabiyya as-sūriyya, is a country in Western Asia and part of the Mashreq. Syria is bordered to the south by Israel and Jordan, on the west by Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea, in the north to Turkey and east to Iraq. The island of Cyprus is situated about 125 km as the crow flies from the Syrian coast. With about 185,000 square kilometers Syria is about half the size of Germany. Since a coup in 1963, the Baath Party ruled the country. Since spring 2011, evolved from demonstrations against the Syrian government, the civil war in Syria, which has so far claimed more than 400,000 lives. More than four million Syrians have fled the country, nine million more are inside Syria on the run. The civil war led to a de facto partition of the country. The terrorist organization Islamic State controlled in May 2015, more than half of the Syrian territory in which hardly 15\% of the population, while the capital Damascus, 11 of the 13 provincial capitals and densely populated areas in the west of the country in which the majority of the population lives still under the control of Syrian government forces. The remaining areas controlled by rebel groups such as the Free Syrian Army, the Islamic Front, Kurdish militias and the Al-Qaeda offshoot Al-Nusra Front.
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