Jun 092014

Not that I’m seriously considering it any time soon (or am I) but one of the biggest gaps and challenges to my plan to finish all countries in a little over two years is Lebanon (easy) and Syria (very not easy.)

Ideally, of course, I’d prefer to do them together since Beirut and Damascus are relatively close, but this opens up lots of questions:

1) What’s the visa situation? Are Syrian embassies still open, and if they are, are they even issuing visas?

2) According to this map, the road from Beirut to Damascus appears to be solidly in government hands (assuming your driver knows which roads to take) and would be feasible. But, are taxis still running this route? Could I even find one willing in Beirut?

3) Once in Damascus, are their still safe areas? Possible to spend a night, or would this be a daytrip type of thing from Beirut?

4) What direction are the winds blowing? From media reports, Assad appears to be gaining the upper hand again, so it would appear things might get safer, at least in Damascus, over coming months?

5) Is there a “safe and easy” option? A relatively safe area that would be easy to daytrip over from Lebanon or Turkey? A border I could cross with a town on the other side, spend a couple of hours, and go back? The Jordanian border seems to border rebel-held areas, so that looks out of the question. Maybe west from Mosul (which I think is safe from Erbil these days?) into what appear to be “safe” Kurdish held areas like Al-Yarubiyah? Who controls the border here? Visa situation?

6) Latakia sounds to be completely (a relative term) safe these days, but is there any way to get there? From Turkey? The border at Kesab (based on the map above) appears in rebel hands?

Any thoughts?