Syria is divided into 14 provinces (muhafazat) ; every province has a governor (muhafiz) and council. Each province is in turn divided into districts (mantiqat), each headed by a qaimmaqam. Each district is further subdivided into subdistricts, each in the charge of a mudir. Governors are appointed by and are directly responsible to the authorities in Damascus.
Islam is the religion of the vast majority. About 74% of the population are Sunni Muslims. Alawite, Druze, Ismailis, Shia, and Yazidis account for another 16% of the population. The Alawite constitute an important minority in Syria and hold a disproportionate share of political power. About 10% of the population is Christian, with Greek Orthodox being the largest denomination.
The official language and the language of the majority is Arabic, but dialect variations are distinct from region to region and even from town to town.
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