Syria: Travel Updates Part 2
Replies: 208 - Last Post: May 18, 2013 10:27 AM Last Post By: smallbighorn
Feb 27, 2012 11:08 AM
Feb 27, 2012 11:14 AM
76I have no idea, but presume it may stop in Israel, as he's taking the plane. All I know is from the very short PM he sent me as a courtesy..
Feb 28, 2012 3:32 AM
Feb 28, 2012 3:58 AM
78Running the risk to get some more catcalls from the fraction here who does not appreciate news from Al Jazeera about Syria, here is today's update on the border situation:
The international border is still open between Lebanon and Syria, but the volume of traffic and trade has been reduced as a result of 11 months of violence in Syria.
In exchange houses, where people can change the Syrian currency into Lebanese, the dealers say business is down by 80 per cent.
Furthermore, tourist bookings are said to be down by about 25 per cent and taxi drivers say they rarely find any customers who want to go to Syria.
Al Jazeera's James Bays reports from Shtoura, a Lebanese town 30km away from the Syria border.
Tags James Bay, syria 14 hours 56 min ago - SyriaThe effect of Syria's uprising is becoming more and more evident in the capital, Damascus. Hundreds of plainclothes police roam the city's neighbourhoods, ready to disperse and arrest gathering crowds.
Power outages are common and queues for petrol go on for miles.
Residents of Damascus tell Al Jazeera of the daily battle they face just to stay alive as the fight gets closer to the heart of the Syrian government.
Feb 28, 2012 4:26 AM
Feb 28, 2012 5:32 AM
80jhveldhu - the share-taxis in Antakya (Hatay) go via the Reyhanli (spg?) border. You can find them near the old otogar, closer to the centre of town (unless they've now moved closer to the new otogar).
They're bright yellow minivans. Some of the drivers speak English. But you could also get information from the new otogar, where 'Has' staff at least speak a little English.
Feb 28, 2012 8:23 AM
81Hi - sorry for the late reply and short pm's - I haven't been online much as I have to arrange a lot of things for the shipping and I'm not staying in a hotel these days (car park works out well ;-)...).
We went to Antakya to find out how things were like close to the Syrian border (with the intention of crossing Syria the next day), and met various Turkish people who would help us crossing Syria. All the people we met told us the same, namely that taking the Reyhanli border would be a bad idea; the road to Aleppo (Halap) would be dangerous, according to various reports. Therefore we could try the road to Latakia (Tartus-Homs-Damascus-Nasib border), which should be alright if you wouldn't get off the main road; just like Marcopoloo told me (thanks to you and the many others in this thread who helped me with my preparations). In Antakya we could arrange a Syrian driver who could either come along with us in our car from border to border or could drive in a rental car from border to border in order to prevent us to get lost in Syria or have language problems at the borders, etc. Crossing via this route with our car (including border formalities) should cost about 11 hours from Antakya to the Jordan border (as well as a few hundred dollars for a driver including car).
So why didn't we cross Syria at the end? In our view, news reports get worse these days and violence is more widespread. None of the many people we spoke to and have any knowledge about Syria were enthousiastic, to say the least. But most of them came to the same conclusion: crossing Syria via the abovementioned route might be possible, but of course safety cannot be guaranteed. This, we found, is not enough; we - foreigners who depend on newspapers and information of people around us - would like to have more specific information and certainty than we could get. A considerable chance of passing through without having much trouble is not sufficient for us, especially not if there is an alternative (a bad one, though). Safety first. Besides, we were not too enthousiastic about bypassing Homs and seeing the smoke from fresh shells at a distance, which we guessed would be reality. The most essential reason why we decided to return to Mersin and not to cross Syria, however, was that we read in a newspaper in Antakya that these days there are hardly any foreigners in Syria and the Syrian authorities would now thoroughly check foreigners entering Syria in order to see if they would smuggle any small weapons and/or communication devices. Since we travel with a mobile phone, satphone, two camera's, night goggles, binoculars, a machete, p-spray, etc., we thought that the chance that we would be considered either smugglers or journalists at one of the borders would be too high to risk. Needless to say that we could have get rid of some of these stuff (could have sent it to Jordan/divide it to two cars/etc.), but the risk we could face didn't really appeal to us.
We are now in Mersin, spending days and days at a very helpful shipping agency. Shipping a car like ours (too high for a container) seems to an extremely complex and time-consuming process... It looks like we could ship our car to either Alexandria/Port Said/Damietta in a container (open top or flat) in a few days (let's hope for the best). This would take 24 hours. We will fly to Egypt ourselves and hope it won't take too much trouble (and baksheesh) to get our car from the Egyptian harbour. The shipping costs, including all other fees, are considerable (about $1650/$2000). But we save the costs to cross Syria and - as may be clear by now and more important of course - save a lot of potentially dangerous hassle.
If anyone would like to have more information regarding our decision or shipping in Mersin (we are experts by now ;-)), please let me know.
P.s. the first RoRo from Mersin to Alexandria will depart on 13 March (or at least is scheduled on this date); costs (excluding custom charges etc.) are about EUR 835,-. Passengers are allowed on the vessel. This is not the RoRo which Jhveldhu mentions in his post; that RoRo would start its services as from 27 February, but the relevant agency informed us that it is highly uncertain when the services will really start (maybe somewhere in March/April).
Edited by: Anacondor
Edited by: Anacondor
Feb 28, 2012 12:08 PM
I am glad that you finally took a decision and planned your trip!
the news about the road from Gazientab to aleppo is full of troubles now, it is true. but it is important to know that normal cars are not targeted at all! i have friends who live in this area and they told me that the situation is bad because there are some clashes between the syrian Army and the Free army! but they do not target people or public cars!
crossing Antakya border is safer than Gazientab now!
for any info, feel free to contact me!
Feb 29, 2012 1:12 AM
Mar 1, 2012 10:14 AM
Mar 2, 2012 12:16 AM
Mar 3, 2012 1:06 AM
Mar 3, 2012 10:35 AM
88Only Reuters does not report what you (and probably SANA news) are claiming to be a fact, go_2. The article that you posted reports an entirely different story. So does everyone else, including the French journalists who were there.
The "balanced reporting" that you have been asking for is never accepted as balanced by you, unless it supports Bashar al Assad's regime. I don't see how such kind of reporting would be helpful to travellers who want to take the risk to enter Syria in these times.
Mar 3, 2012 1:16 PM
89How strange - that's a totally dfferent story to the one I read yesterday, for which I gave the link.
Still, as I said, I trust Reuters more than any other news source (and have no reason to change my mind on that score.)
I tend not to read the reports put out by the Syrian government, any more than I read 'western' reports, as both are biased. On the ground reports by such as Santiagosheikh are much more useful to intending travellers.
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