Syria Syrian Medical Students' Association
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Mario Tarzi
Afaf Atassi
Tarek Turk

The Syrian Medical Student Association (SMSA) is a non-profit, non-governmental, student-run organization, located in Damascus, Syria.
SMSA is the National Member Organization (NMO) to represent Syria at the IFMSA (International Federation of Medical Students Association) and is the national voice of the Syrian medical students.

Our mission in SMSA is to connect, support and represent our members as they learn to serve the individual and the society.
Our vision is: tomorrow's physicians leading for health today!


Syrian Arab Republic, is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Palestine to the southwest.


Syria’s capital is Damascus and its largest city is Aleppo. Syria’s currency is the Syrian Pound.

A country of fertile plains, high mountains, and deserts, Syria is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including Syrian Arabs, Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians, Kurds and Turks.

It consists mostly of arid plateau, although the northwest part of the country bordering the Mediterranean is fairly green. The Northeast of the country "al-Jazeera" and the South "Hawran" are important agricultural areas. The Euphrates, Syria's most important river, crosses the country in the east. It is considered to be one of the fifteen states that comprise the so-called "Cradle of civilization". Its land straddles the "northwest of the Arabian plate".

The climate in Syria is dry and hot, and winters are mild. Because of the country's elevation, snowfall does occasionally occur during winter.

Ancient history:

Syria has been a cradle of civilization for at least 10,000 years. It was home to the ancient majestic city of Ebla, which flourished from 1800 B.C. to 1650 B.C. A vast trove of 20,000 cuneiform tablets unearthed in the city provided an unprecedented look at everyday life in Mesopotamia at the time. Since then, it has been part of the major empires of history: At various times, the Egyptians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Persians, Macedonians and Romans ruled the region.

Modern history:

For nearly four centuries, Syria was part of the Ottoman Empire. Along with what is now Lebanon, Syria came under French control after the Ottoman Empire collapsed in 1918, and became an independent country in 1946.


The health care system in Syria has been improved during the last few decades, this improvement is reflected by the health indicators that shows an increase in life expectancy at birth from 56 years in 1970 to 73.1 years.

Today, Syria has many well-equipped hospitals including University hospitals, public and private hospitals. Health centers and clinics are distributed along different areas of Syrian lands, to insure prober access to health services.


The Syrian Medical Educational System is composed of 6 years of study. Those 6 years are divided in two phases each one is composed of 3 years: the first is the pre-clinical phase and the second is the clinical phase. Each year is divided in 2 semesters; each semester is followed by an exam. The sixth year is a practical one in which medical students attend clinical courses in all the different specializations at the university hospitals.


Syria has four international airports (Damascus, Aleppo, Lattakia and Kamishly), which serve as hubs for Syrian Air and are also served by a variety of foreign carriers.

Syria has a well-developed system of motorways that connects the coutry’s cities together, the most important motorway is M5 which is considered the longest motroway in the country. It functions as the backbone of the whole country network. It connects the border with Jordan in the south with Damascus, the capital, and continues further north to Aleppo, the country's second largest city. Other cities connected by this motorway are Daraa, Al Nabk, Homs and Hamah. Its length is 474 km.

Syria has many seaports at its coastline, the main international seaport is Latakia. other additional ports are Baniyas, Jablah, and Tartus.

The majority of Syrian cargo is carried by  the Syrian railway company, which links up with Turkish State Railways (the Turkish counterpart). For a relatively underdeveloped country, Syria's railway infrastructure is well maintained with many express services and modern trains.


Syria has a broad range of activities that can be done during the weekends of the four weeks rotation period. We make sure that each year we will provide incoming students with the best that a rich and diverse country has to offer. The social program will have a detailed guidetour for most ancient cities, ruins, castles, monuments and landscapes. In addition to a wide spectrum of modern-world activites including restaurants, malls, cafes, and bars.

Please note that currently, and due to the current situations, we are not announcing any social program.


Especially if there’s no regular social program. Focus on few attractions or suggested trips

Umayyad Mosque

It is located in the old city of Damascus, is one of the largest and oldest mosques in the world.
For more information.


Castle Alhisn

Formerly Crac de l'Ospital, is a Crusader castle in Syria and one of the most important preserved medieval castles in the world.

For more information.


Local Perspective:

Foreign are very welcomed and well respected in Syria.

When you meet a Syrian for the first time, whether man or woman, it is important to shake hands and/or introduce yourself. It should come as no surprise if a Syrian asks you personal questions, and this is a part of creating a personal relation. Be friendly and try to communicate by answering.

The working environment in Syria is generally relaxed. Humour is acceptable as long as extreme political or religional views are not involved. Tea and coffee will be served often throughout the day. Declining politely is not considered rude.

People in Syria are very proud of their hometown, particularly if they are from an isolated region, which by some happy coincidence you have visited or heard about from others.

The person with whom you are speaking will quickly try to learn more about your personal circumstances—whether you are married, have children and brothers and sisters, if your parents are still alive, etc.

Law and order:

The legal drinking/smoking age is 18, a minor cannot purchase alcohol/tobacco.

Drugs, soft or hard, carry very severe penalties for possession, usage or distribution. The drug laws are heavily enforced.

Homosexuality is against the law and carries a heavy penalty.


In general, conservative is preferred.

In business life and formal sites:

For Men- A suit is common.  A suit without the tie is acceptable in many situations. Suit without a blazer/jacket is usually acceptable in the summer.

For Women- Conservative is the way to go.  Skirts and dresses should always be knee length and tops should keep the shoulders covered. Suits and pants are not that common.

Jeans and shorts are not worn in business situations.


Weekend: Friday and Saturday.

January 1st: New year’s day.

March 8th:

March 21st: Mother’s day.

3rd Thursday of March: Teacher’s day.

April 17th: Evacuation day.

May  1st: Labor day.

May 6th: Martyr’s day.

October 6th: Anniversary of 1973 war.

December 25th: Christmas day.


Important phone numbers:

112: Police

113: Fire department

133: First Aid ambulance -Syrian Arab Red Crescent