Safety and security
If you’re currently in Syria, we strongly advise you to leave immediately while this is still possible. Our clear advice for some time has been to leave the country by commercial means.
If you decide to remain in Syria, against our clear advice, please ensure that your travel documents are up to date in case you need to leave the country at short notice and that you and your family have valid exit visas, if you need one to leave Syria.
Always keep yourself informed of what’s going on around you by monitoring local media and staying in contact with your hotel and local contacts. Follow the advice of the local authorities and stock up on basic necessities such as water, food, fuel and medicines as supplies of these may deteriorate rapidly, and without warning.
Avoid demonstrations and large crowds and if you become aware of any disturbances leave the area immediately. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times.
The security situation has led to the suspension of commercial flights. There has been an increase in the number of checkpoints on major routes, and intermittent road closures on the main inter-city highways. If you want to leave Syria overland, check the status of the border crossing and access routes before travelling.
You should exercise caution if going outside after dark, and take sensible precautions:
- Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place
- Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home
- Avoid showing large sums of money in public
- Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, and arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible
- Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafés, train and bus stations
If you’re a victim of a crime while in Syria, report it to the local police immediately. If you need help, you should contact the Embassy in Cairo or the Honorary Consul in Damascus.
If you’re planning to drive in Syria, road and driving standards are variable, so you should avoid driving outside the main cities at night. We advise against travel to the Syria-Iraq border. If you want to drive:
- Bring your full Irish driver’s licence and your international driving permit and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught
- Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights
There has been an increase in the number of checkpoints on major routes, and intermittent road closures on the main inter-city highways
Hiring a vehicle
If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).
Wed, 11 May 2016 09:42:17 BST