How is the geography of Syria described?

Geographical regions
The area includes about 185,180 square kilometers of deserts, plains, and mountains. It is divided into a coastal zone--with a narrow, double mountain belt enclosing a depression in the west-- and a much larger eastern plateau. The climate is predominantly dry; about three-fifths of the country has less than 25 centimeters of rain a year. Fertile land is the nation's most important natural resource, and efforts have been made, and in the 1980s were continuing, to increase the amount of arable land through irrigation projects.  

Coastal plain

Along the Mediterranean, a narrow coastal plain stretches south from the Turkish border to Lebanon. The flatness of this littoral, covered with sand dunes, is broken only by lateral promontories running down from the mountains to the sea. Syria claims a territorial limit of 35 nautical miles (65 km) off its Mediterranean coastline.
Topography of Syria

The Jabal an Nusayriyah mountains, a range paralleling the coastal plain, has an average elevation of just over 1,212 meters; the highest peak, Nabi Yunis, is about 1,575 meters. The western slopes catch moisture-laden western sea winds and are thus more fertile and more heavily populated than the eastern slopes, which receive only hot, dry winds blowing across the desert. Before reaching the Lebanese border and the Anti-Lebanon Mountains, the Jabal an Nusayriyah range terminates, leaving a corridor-the Homs Gap-through which run the highway and railroad from Homs to the Lebanese port of Tripoli. For centuries the Homs Gap has been a favorite trade and invasion route from the coast to the country's interior and to other parts of Asia. Eastward, the line of the Jabal an Nusayriyah is separated from the Jabal AZ Zawiyah range and the plateau region by the Al Ghab depression, a fertile, irrigated trench crossed by the meandering Orontes River.
Inland and farther south, the Anti-Lebanon Mountains rise to peaks of over 2,700 meters on the Syrian-Lebanese frontier and spread in spurs eastward toward the plateau region. The eastern slopes have little rainfall and vegetation and merge eventually with the desert.
In the southwest, the lofty Mount Hermon (Jabal ash Shaykh), also on the border between Syria and Lebanon, descends to the Hawran Plateau-frequently referred to as the Hawran-that receives rain-bearing winds from the Mediterranean. All but the lowest slopes of Mount Hermon are uninhabited, however. Volcanic cones, some of which reach over 900 meters, intersperse the open, rolling, once-fertile Hawran Plateau south of Damascus and east of the Anti-Lebanon Mountains. Southwest of the Hawran lies the high volcanic region of the Jabal Druze range (renamed Jabal al Arab), home of the country's Druze population.  

Eastern plateau

The entire eastern plateau region is intersected by a low chain of mountains, the Jabal ar Ruwaq, the Jabal Abu Rujmayn, and the Jabal Bishri, extending northeastward from the Jabal Al Arab to the Euphrates River. South of these mountains lies a barren desert region known as the Hamad. North of the Jabal ar Ruwaq and east of the city of Homs is another barren area known as the Homs Desert, which has a hard-packed dirt surface.
Northeast of the Euphrates River, which originates in the mountains of Turkey and flows diagonally across Syria into Iraq, is the fertile Djazirah region that is watered by the tributaries of the Euphrates. The area underwent irrigation improvements during the 1960s and 1970s, and it provides substantial cereal and cotton crops. Oil and natural gas discoveries in the extreme northeastern portion of the Jazirah have significantly enhanced the region's economic potential.