Syria Ecological Problems

Economy & Development

The Syrian economy has completely collapsed as a result of international sanctions and the civil war situation. Food prices have risen immensely, and many foods are no longer available for many people. Petrol and gas have become extremely scarce. In many cities, entire neighborhoods were razed to the ground.

Society & culture

The Syrian population is like a mosaic of religious communities and ethnic groups. Most of them have lived together peacefully in the millennia-old history of the country. In the current conflict, however, there is a risk that this fragile structure will break apart.

Everyday life & practical information

The uprising against the Syrian regime began in March 2011. The situation soon escalated. Today millions of people are on the run. In Syria, residential areas and factories, hospitals and schools, roads and bridges and large parts of the cultural heritage are in ruins. A normal life is hardly possible anymore. How long the war will last and how the situation will develop after the war is over cannot be foreseen. Foreigners are currently strongly advised not to travel to Syria.

Ecological problems

According to zipcodesexplorer, the most important environmental problem in Syria is air pollution. It is caused by the civil war and especially by traffic, open fires and uncontrolled landfills. Explosives, toxic waste and air pollution contaminate groundwater and soils. The destruction of the environment as a result of the war means for the Syrians that, even decades after the end of the war, they can no longer inhabit or cultivate large areas of the country. Large parts of the environment have already been permanently devastated, toxic substances from ammunition, ruined houses or rubbish penetrate the soil and pollute the groundwater. So does air pollution. Bombed buildings play an important role, because asbestos was used in many houses. The climate in Syria is very dry, which means that the particles from destroyed houses stay in the air longer.

The high volume of traffic in metropolitan areas and heating with environmentally harmful diesel oil results in heavy air pollution in large cities. Before the outbreak of war, environmental problems in Syria were primarily the result of very high population growth and high economic growth. Serious damage was caused by the bombardment of oil refineries during the Syrian war.

Uncontrolled high water consumption, especially in agriculture, but also in the private sector, as well as inadequate wastewater treatment lead to a lowering of the groundwater level and to the pollution of the already scarce resource water. Only 53 percent of the population are connected to a sewage system.

Further ecological problems arise from deforestation and overgrazing through extensive sheep and goat breeding. Syria’s environmental problems are in the areas of deforestation; Overgrazing; Soil erosion; Desertification; Water pollution from wastewater and petroleum processing wastes; insufficient drinking water.

Syria Ecological Problems

Water scarcity

From 2006 to 2011, the entire fertile crescent from the Levant to Mesopotamia was dry. The drought thus affected large parts of the “Fertile Crescent”. In Syria alone, according to UN figures, around 800,000 people lost their livelihoods due to crop failures and their economic consequences. The ecological crisis therefore also had social and economic consequences. Before the crisis, agriculture contributed a quarter of Syria’s gross domestic product, but its production decreased by a third with the drought.

The water supply has collapsed in many places since the outbreak of the civil war, so UNICEF provides millions of people in Syria with daily water supplies and the construction and repair of wells. Water scarcity is a pressing problem in Syria. The problem is also exacerbated by the fact that the warring parties use dehydration as a weapon. Many observers and human rights organizations accuse Turkey of deliberately cutting off the people in northeastern Syria from an adequate water supply.

Turkey, Syria and Iraq have so far not been able to agree on a common concept for water use. As early as the 1970’s, Iraq built large dams on the Tigris and Syria on the Euphrates. For its part, Turkey does not take the interests of its neighbors into account. Since Turkey is on the upper reaches, the country determines how much water Syria and Iraq get. The conflict over water has regularly escalated in the past.

Rivers

  • Nahr al khabur
  • Orontes
  • Chabur
  • Nahr al-Furad (Euphrates)

Lakes

  • Jabul with a size of 239 km²
  • Quattineh with a size of 61 km²
  • Al-Assad with a size of 674 km²