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Is Syria Safe?

Syria is considered an extremely high-risk destination for travelers due to the ongoing civil war and widespread violence. Terrorist attacks, kidnappings, and military operations pose grave risks, even in major cities. Basic services and medical facilities are severely disrupted. Travel by road is perilous due to armed groups, improvised explosive devices, and erratic enforcement at checkpoints. Independent travel is essentially impossible; guided tours are not recommended.

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Safety & Security

Syria is currently experiencing an ongoing civil war and political instability, making it an extremely high-risk destination for travelers. The security situation remains volatile, with frequent outbreaks of violence, terrorist attacks, and kidnappings occurring throughout the country.

  • Terrorism: Syria has been a major battleground for terrorist groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda, who have carried out numerous attacks targeting civilians, security forces, and infrastructure. The risk of being caught in a terrorist attack is extremely high.

  • Civil Unrest: The ongoing civil war has resulted in widespread civil unrest, with clashes between government forces, rebel groups, and extremist organizations occurring regularly. Protests, demonstrations, and roadblocks can erupt without warning.

  • Violent Crime: Due to the breakdown of law and order, violent crimes such as armed robbery, carjackings, and kidnappings for ransom are common, particularly in areas controlled by rebel groups or terrorist organizations.

  • Scams and Disputes: Travelers may be targeted for scams, extortion, or become involved in disputes with locals, especially in lawless areas where there is little recourse for victims.

  • Petty Crime: Pickpocketing, bag snatching, and other petty crimes are prevalent, especially in crowded areas and tourist hotspots.

The overall security situation in Syria is extremely precarious, and the risks to travelers are severe. Travelers are strongly advised to avoid all travel to Syria due to the ongoing conflict and high threat of terrorism and violence.

Health & Medical

Travelers to Syria should be aware of potential health risks and take necessary precautions. The healthcare system in Syria has been severely impacted by the ongoing conflict, with many medical facilities damaged or lacking essential supplies and personnel.

  • Vaccinations: Ensure routine vaccinations are up-to-date, including those for hepatitis A, typhoid, and polio. Additional vaccines may be recommended based on your specific travel plans.

  • Water and Food Safety: Drink only bottled or purified water and avoid raw or undercooked food, especially from street vendors, to reduce the risk of waterborne and foodborne illnesses.

  • Insect-Borne Diseases: Malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases are present in some areas. Use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, and consider antimalarial medication if recommended.

  • Air Pollution: Air quality in major cities can be poor due to dust, vehicle emissions, and conflict-related pollution. Those with respiratory conditions should take precautions.

  • Medical Facilities: Access to adequate medical care may be limited, especially in conflict zones. Travelers should carry a well-stocked first-aid kit and consider purchasing travel health insurance.

  • Mental Health: The ongoing conflict and unstable situation can be mentally and emotionally taxing. Travelers should prioritize their mental well-being and seek support if needed.

Natural Disasters

Syria is located in an active seismic zone, making it prone to earthquakes. The country has experienced several devastating earthquakes in the past, including the 1995 Gulf of Aqaba earthquake and the 1822 Aleppo earthquake. Additionally, Syria faces risks from other natural disasters such as:

  • Droughts: Syria has experienced prolonged droughts, particularly in the northeastern region, leading to water scarcity and impacting agriculture.

  • Floods: Heavy rainfall and inadequate drainage systems can cause flash floods, especially in urban areas like Damascus and Aleppo.

  • Sandstorms: The desert regions of Syria are susceptible to sandstorms, which can disrupt transportation and pose health risks.

While the risk of natural disasters cannot be eliminated, travelers should stay informed about potential hazards, follow local advisories, and take necessary precautions. It is advisable to have a contingency plan and access to emergency services in case of unforeseen events.


Transportation in Syria is generally unsafe and unreliable for travelers due to the ongoing civil war and conflict in the country. Public transportation options are limited, and road travel can be extremely dangerous.

  • Road Safety: The road infrastructure in Syria has been severely damaged by the conflict, with many roads being unsafe or impassable due to debris, checkpoints, and the risk of roadside bombs or ambushes. Driving in Syria is considered extremely hazardous, especially in rural areas.

  • Public Transportation: Public transportation services, such as buses and trains, are sporadic and often disrupted by the conflict. Services may be canceled or rerouted without notice due to security concerns.

  • Checkpoints and Roadblocks: Travelers may encounter numerous military checkpoints and roadblocks, particularly in areas with active fighting or controlled by different factions. These checkpoints can be unpredictable and potentially dangerous.

  • Lack of Oversight: With the breakdown of government authority in many areas, there is a lack of oversight and regulation for transportation services, increasing the risk of accidents, breakdowns, and criminal activity.

  • Restricted Areas: Certain areas of the country may be completely off-limits or restricted for travel due to ongoing military operations or the presence of armed groups, making transportation options extremely limited or non-existent.

It is strongly recommended that travelers exercise extreme caution and avoid all non-essential travel to Syria due to the significant risks associated with transportation and the overall security situation in the country.

Cultural Norms

Syria is a predominantly Muslim country with a rich cultural heritage. As a traveler, it's essential to respect local customs and traditions to avoid causing offense. Here are some tips for cultural sensitivity:

  • Dress Modestly: Both men and women should dress conservatively, covering their arms and legs. Women should also consider covering their hair with a headscarf when visiting religious sites or conservative areas.

  • Ramadan Etiquette: During the holy month of Ramadan, avoid eating, drinking, or smoking in public during daylight hours out of respect for those fasting. Tourist facilities may have separate areas for non-fasting guests.

  • Gender Norms: Syrian society is generally conservative, and gender roles are traditionally defined. Avoid public displays of affection and be mindful of interactions between genders.

  • Religious Sites: Remove shoes before entering mosques or other religious sites. Women should cover their heads and dress modestly. Avoid visiting during prayer times unless you intend to pray.

  • Photography: Ask for permission before taking photographs of individuals, especially women. Avoid photographing military or government buildings.

  • Greetings: Handshakes are common greetings between men, but men should wait for a woman to initiate a handshake. Avoid physical contact between genders unless familiar.

  • Hospitality: Syrians are known for their hospitality and generosity. Accept offers of food or drink graciously, even if you decline politely.

Respecting local customs and traditions will not only enhance your travel experience but also foster cross-cultural understanding and goodwill.

Emergency Services

Emergency services in Syria are severely limited and unreliable due to the ongoing civil war and conflict. The availability and quality of emergency services vary greatly depending on the region and can be scarce or non-existent in areas affected by fighting.

  • Limited Ambulance Services: Ambulance services are often unavailable or face significant delays, especially in conflict zones. Response times can be extremely slow or non-existent.

  • Inadequate Medical Facilities: Many hospitals and medical facilities have been damaged or destroyed, leaving them ill-equipped to handle emergencies. Supplies and resources are often scarce.

  • Lack of Trained Personnel: There is a shortage of trained medical personnel, as many have fled the country or been displaced due to the conflict.

  • Security Risks: Emergency responders may face security risks, such as being caught in crossfire or targeted attacks, hindering their ability to respond effectively.

  • Tourist-Specific Services: There are no dedicated tourist-specific emergency services available in Syria due to the ongoing conflict and instability.

It is crucial for travelers to exercise extreme caution and consider the risks carefully before visiting Syria. Seeking professional guidance and closely monitoring travel advisories is highly recommended.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Is Syria safe for tourists?

Syria is currently an extremely dangerous destination for tourists due to the ongoing civil war and high risk of terrorism, kidnapping, and violence. Travel to Syria is strongly advised against by most governments and should only be undertaken with professional security arrangements.

Is Syria safe for solo female travelers?

Solo female travel in Syria is not recommended due to the extremely high risks of violence, harassment, and cultural restrictions on women's freedoms. Women face additional dangers and should avoid travel to Syria at this time.

Is Syria safe for families?

Syria is not a safe destination for families with children due to the ongoing conflict, risk of violence, lack of adequate medical facilities, and potential for exposure to trauma. Families should avoid travel to Syria until the situation stabilizes.

Is Syria LGBTQ+ friendly?

Syria is not an LGBTQ+-friendly destination. Same-sex sexual activity is illegal and can be punished with imprisonment. LGBTQ+ individuals face widespread discrimination and lack of legal protections, making travel to Syria extremely risky.

Do you need a visa to go to Syria?

A visa is required for most foreign nationals to enter Syria. However, due to the ongoing conflict and travel advisories, visa services are currently suspended or extremely limited. Travelers should check with their government for the latest updates on entry requirements.

Can you drink tap water in Syria?

Due to the ongoing conflict and infrastructure damage, tap water in Syria is generally not safe to drink. Travelers should only consume bottled or purified water to avoid potential contamination and waterborne illnesses.

What is the currency in Syria?

The official currency of Syria is the Syrian Pound (SYP). However, due to the ongoing conflict and economic instability, foreign currencies like the US Dollar or Euro may be more widely accepted, especially in major cities.

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