Where is Syria?
Syria is located in the Middle East, in a region known as the Levant. Syria has a vast variety of landscapes from the Mediterranean Sea in the west to deserts in the East and mountains running the length of the country. It shares borders with Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Palestine/Israel and Lebanon.
Syria with towns and cities
The main population centres of Syria run in a line down the west of the country from Damascus up to Aleppo. This area, as well as the coast where you will find Tartus and Latakia, are the most populated areas of the country. The West is more arid and has fewer cities. Many of the towns in the west are even more sparsely populated since the conflict, as these areas were heavily affected/still are affected by fighting with ISIS.
Regions of Syria
Syria has six main regions. The largest is the Eastern desert which is the most sparsely populated part of the country. Then there's the North West where you will find Aleppo, and the Orentes Valley in the centre. The Syrian coast and mountains are is the fertile heart of the country with a cooler climate and mostly Christian and liberal population. Hauran in the South West is an old volcanic plateau and home to Damascus. Finally in the very South there is still a small portion of the Golan Heights that is controlled by Syria.
Current control of Syria
The current crisis in Syria means that not all of the country is under the control of one group. Currently there are roughly five main groups controlling territory in Syria. The largest section is the Syrian government which controls the major population centres. The northeast is controlled by the Kurds and their various groups such as Pashmerga and YPG forces. Turkish forces control strips along the Northern border. The area surrounding Idlib is still controlled by several factions that are largely ex-Al Nursra. The US military controls a small section in the South along the border with Iraq. The South Eastern desert is also home to several small pockets of ISIS fighters.
The Golan Heights
This is an area of great international significance. The majority of this territory was captured by Israel during the 6 Day War in 1967. This area is still not internationally recognised as Israel and is considered to be under Israeli occupation.
However, for practical purposes if you want to visit the area, it is controlled by Israel - you can access it easily from within Israel with no permit, border check, or anything, but it is completely inaccessible from Syria.