SYRIAN POLITICS GUIDE
Syria's System of Government: Semi-Presidential
Syrian politics take place within the context of a dominant-party Semi-Presidential State (i.e., a dictatorship).
The modern Syrian state was established after World War I as a French mandate and is named after the ancient Assyria, which was centered on the Upper Tigris to the east of the modern entity.
Syria was the largest Arab state to emerge from the formerly Ottoman-ruled Arab Levant, and gained independence from France in April 1946 as a Parliamentary Republic. The post-independence period was tumultuous, and a large number of military coups and attempted coups shook the country from 1949 to 1971. Between 1958 and 1961, Syria was in a brief union with Egypt that was terminated by a coup. The country was then under an Emergency Law from 1963 to 2011 which effectively suspended most constitutional protections for its citizens. Bashar al-Assad has been President since 2000 and was preceded by his father Hafez al-Assad, who was in office from 1970 to 2000.