The Syrian government is headed by president Hafez Al-assad, leaderof the Arab Ba'ath Socialist party.

The President who is elected to a seven years term of officc, has the power to appoint ministers of his own choice, which form the executive branch of the government. The legislative branch of the governmentis made up of the People's Council, which has 195 members elected from cities abd counties within syria.

Civil servants and military personnel are also appointed by the President and it is within his power to issue laws declare war.

The nationl constitution specifies that the head of the state must be a Muslim.

Syria is divided into 14 governorates (muhafazat) and these in turn are sudivided into smaller, local sections.

Once considered a hard-line arab country, syria in the Post-Gulf war period is slowly changing and it's relations ith the West are now on a much more friendly footing than in the recent past.

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