There have been no in depth studies of post Socialist transition in the Middle East. Syria’s experience is a useful one to explore given its historically important role in the region and its distinctive characteristics. The Syrian economic transition, from the early 1990s to 2011, was in two phases: an incremental liberalisation phase and a transition to Social Market Economy phase. During both phases, Syrian policy makers showed a preference for a gradualist approach to economic transition, rather than a big-bang approach. This was facilitated by oil revenues and subsidies from the Gulf States. The Syrian experience therefore has its own distinct characteristics, as well as elements in common with the transitions in other post Socialist economies.