Syria: Travel Updates Part 2
Replies: 210 - Last Post: Jun 6, 2013 4:00 PM Last Post By: rrclark
Sep 26, 2012 2:19 PM
180Why are you even asking these questions? Glance at any news site you choose. Damascus and the road leading to it are both subject to ever-shifting pockets of fighting.
If you're at all inclined to take your chances crossing from Lebanon to Syria at this time, then Tartus is possibly your only viable destination. I stress 'possibly'. Especially if you don't speak Arabic.
Sep 26, 2012 3:02 PM
Sep 27, 2012 8:08 AM
182Yes, it used to be possible to get your visa at the Masnaa checkpoint between Beirut and Damascus. Did it myself a number of times before I figured that pre-arranged multiple-entry visas are better suited to my needs. Not sure about the other border crossings but I think I heard the on-the-spot visas were available at Masnaa only. And for a fee to be paid in $ far below the official rate, and not for Brits, and so on.
And about today? - I won't the hell try it.
Sep 27, 2012 12:32 PM
183In some conditions of warfare it is possible to visit the war zone as a neutral party with some degree of confidence that this neutrality will be recognized and respected by parties on both sides.
The present state of war in Syria does not allow for neutrality. Right now you will be presumed to be on one side or the other, and run a high risk of being summarily executed if you give the "wrong" answer.
To any venturesome souls seriously considering going to Damascus right now, please, don't go. It's not about whether or not it's possible, or whether you somehow have the "street smarts" to pull it off. What it is about is the shame when you look at the men who have detained you, and realize that there is nothing you can do to influence them as they smoke a cigarette, have a coffee, and tweak a glitch with the video camera they're going to use to film your execution. The shame of throwing away your life, as well as the part of your life you share with other people: your family, your friends, your relationships.
If you, reading this, are just about to buy that ticket, just stop right now.
Pray for Syria. Donate to the Red Cross or Red Crescent. But do not go there. Not now.
Sep 27, 2012 10:46 PM
184"realize that there is nothing you can do to influence them as they smoke a cigarette, have a coffee, and tweak a glitch with the video camera they're going to use to film your execution"
I don't know how you came up with this., The regime is not into filming people's execution, and I have never read any news of them executing a foreigner for crossing a border. All the Western people who were detained, mostly journalists without permission, were released after a week or two.
I would not advise anyone to go to Syria right now either, but please do not use this site to dwell on glossy fantasies of what the regime might be doing and pass this off as "travel information", ok?
Yes, I have heard of a case where someone obtained a visa on arrival at the border from Lebanon some months ago, buut the next person I heard of, was refused one at the border.
Yesterday the Syrian mobile phone company sent an sms to everybody in Syria with a phone contract, with a message aimed at the rebels. It said: "Game over". So expect more atrocities and stay out of it.
Edited by: seftali
Sep 27, 2012 10:58 PM
185If you want a cheap way out of Lebanon, I believe, the cheapest way may be to buy a ticket to Cyprus (maybe 50 Euro), cross the border to Turkish Northern Cyprus and buy another cheap ticket on Atlas Air to Istanbul (also under 100 Euro, if you are lucky, I think), or take the ferry to Mersing/Adana or Antalya.
Sep 28, 2012 10:48 AM
Sep 28, 2012 11:07 AM
187seftali, regretably there are YouTube videos showing approximately what I have described.
At present the relative standards of conduct of the two sides is a moot point.
My intent was to convey one quite possible version of the worst case scenario, just in case it may jar one person into reconsidering a bad travel idea.
Thank you for your understanding.
Oct 2, 2012 4:55 AM
188I still do not understand why you asked us detailed questions before about how to enter Syria from Lebanon whehn you think, this is such a crazy idea and want to warn us about it. ; )
I found the following info regarding the presence of tourists in Syria dyring the revolution:
"An official report by the ministry of Tourism stated that the number of tourists in Syria during the first quarter of this year has dropped by more than %76.4 in comparison with the same period of previous year."
Oct 18, 2012 1:58 AM
Oct 18, 2012 7:32 AM
190Well some months ago, maybe in May I heard that one or two people were given a VOA from Lebanon. But a month later I heard that someone was rejected at that border. Anyway there is bombing almost everywhere in Syria and food shortages etc. I do not recommend entering. They will suspect your motives and anybody who gives you a room will be suspected too.
Oct 21, 2012 1:23 AM
191jellison2 -- if you're serious about going to Syria then get your visa in your home country, as you're supposed to do. This should also minimise ambiguity at the border, and ideally reduce suspicion that you're a journalist or militant trying to sneak in.
However, if you do get a visa, what do you propose to do with it? The one open border crossing point from Jordan will take you into a region with constant fighting. You face similar problems entering from Lebanon at any crossing, unless you're heading to the coastal city of Tartus.
Understand that going into Syria as a tourist at this time means you will make a nuisance of yourself for all parties -- government, opposition forces and consular officials from your country. No one of these can guarantee your safety or support if things go wrong for you.
Oct 21, 2012 1:56 PM
Oct 24, 2012 6:36 AM
Oct 24, 2012 2:40 PM
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