Violence against women is a vicious practice present in all societies. Yet data about its occurrence and associated factors are scarce in the Arab world. In this study, we attempt to determine the spread of physical abuse and its sociodemographic correlates among low-income women in Aleppo, Syria. A sample of 411 women was recruited from 8 randomly selected primary care centers in Aleppo. Response rate was 97%, mean age of participants 28 +/- 8 years, and most women (88%) were married. A special questionnaire was used including questions about physical abuse, the self-reporting questionnaire (SRQ-20), and questions about relevant sociodemographic information. Current physical abuse (battering at least 3 times during the previous year) was found in 23% of the investigated and among 26% of married women, while regular abuse (battering at least once weekly) was found in 3.3% of married women. Correlates of physical abuse were women's education, religion, age, marital status, economic status, mental distress, smoking, and residence. Our data show that physical abuse is prevalent in this population and that women's education is the most important modifiable factor.