Syria - Transportation
The Syrian national railway system consists of 2,750 km (1,709 mi) of which 2,423 km (1,506 mi) is standard gauge line: three sections are the Syrian section of the old Baghdad Railway; the main line from Damascus to Aleppo, with connections to Tartus, points in Lebanon, and the phosphate mines; and the railway linking Latakia, Aleppo, and Al-Qamishli, built with Soviet help and completed in 1981. There are also 327 km (203 mi) of narrow-gauge line-part of which is the pre-World War I Hejaz Railway, linking Damascus to Jordan and Lebanon. Syria is also connected by rail with Turkey (thus with Europe) and Iraq.
The road system, though growing, remains inadequate in view of the demands imposed by increased economic activity. In 2002, Syria had 41,451 km (25,758 mi) of roads, of which only 9,575 km (5,950 mi) were paved, including 877 km (545 mi) of expressways. There are road connections between the major towns and with Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey.
Tartus and Latakia are the main ports. Jablah and Baniyas are minor ports. In 2002, the merchant fleet was comprised of 143 vessels with a capacity of 482,958 GRT. Also in 2001, Syria had 99 airports, of which 24 had paved runways. Damascus is a connecting point for a number of major airlines; the main passenger terminal of its international airport was completed in 1982. Another principal airport is Aleppo International at Aleppo. Syrian Arab Airlines provides service to Aleppo, AlQamishli, Latakia, and other airports; it also flies to other Arab
countries and to Europe and Africa. In 2001, 760,900 passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international flights.