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Study in Syria - GETTING TO SYRIA 




BY AIR     |     BY LAND     |     BY SEA



By Air

Damascus International Airport is becoming a major junction for the Near East. The national airline Syrian Arab (still widely known as Syrian Arab lines) has extended its network in Europe to Paris and London. It is also possible to stop off en route on the Damascus - Aleppo - Berlin - Stockholm flight, the Damascus - Paris flight via Frankfurt, the Damascus - London flight via Munich, or on the Damascus - Tunis - Paris flight. Syrian Air also operates flights to Africa and Asia. Its fleet consists of Boeings 747 (6), T4 154 (2), T4 134 (2), in other words, ten planes. International airlines of all three continents fly to Damascus and have representatives there.

Damascus time is three hours ahead of G.M.T.

Tourist excursion fares (the YE tariff) are available for visit of more than ten days but less than a month.

Approximate flight times

From Damascus to London is 5 hours 50 and from Aleppo is 4 hours 50 minutes.
The flying time from Paris to Damascus, by 747, is 4hrs 35 mins.

Departure tax is S200. Children under ten years are exempt.

Syrian Airports

International airports: Damascus (DAM), 29km (18 miles) southeast of the city (travel time - 30 minutes). Two other international airports, Aleppo and Latakia offer connections to Amman and Beirut airports. A bus service runs at regular intervals. Return is from the city center. Taxis are available, but it is advisable to negotiate fares beforehand if there is no taxi meter in the cab.

Facilities include banking, restaurants/snack bars, duty-free shop and tourist information.
Aleppo (ALP) (Nejrab), 10km (6.5 miles) from the city (travel time - 20 minutes). Bus and tDeparture tax: S£200. Children under 10 years are exempt.

Travel times: The following chart gives approximate travel times (in hours and minutes) from Damascus to other major cities/towns in the Syrian Arab Republic.

Various airlines fly direct to Syria:

British Airways
Air France
Air Alitalia
Austrian Airlines
KLM Royal Dutch
Lufthansa German Airlines

Other Airlines with stops in there home countries are:

Royal Jordanian
Egypt Air
Turkish Airlines

Airline Offices in Syria:

Airline Contact Number
AIR CANADA 2232000
AIR FRANCE 2219567 / 2218580
AIR MAROC 2216265 / 2235225
ALITALIA 2222662 / 2215897
AUSTRIAN AIRLINES 2220498 / 232190
IRAN AIR 2222643 / 2238660





By Land


The E.5 international highway, starting from London, cross ex-Yugoslavia, forks at Nis for Sofia (but an alternative route via Thessaloniki avoids the need for a Bulgarian visa) and reaches Asia via the Bosphorus Bridge at Istanbul. It then crosses Turkey via Ankara, Adana and Iskenderun. Syria can be entered either by Bab al-Hawa, for Aleppo; or at Kassab, for Latakia.

It is a long, often monotonous, journey; but the roads are good and quite fast. From London, Paris, Amsterdam or Frankfurt it takes five or six days - even with good driving. But it is so important to have one’s own transport in Syria itself that this double journey is more or less inevitable - providing one has the time. By combining road and seam the journey can be made much pleasanter, if not much shorter.

For Western Europeans no visa is necessary for any country entered on the journey, except for Bulgaria, where a three-day transit visa can be obtained at the frontier. Green Card motor insurance is similarly valid for the journey, but it is not yet accepted in Syria.

To enter Syria with a car a Customs Certificate must be produced; it is obtainable from Automobile Clubs and Touring Clubs against a deposit of quarter of the current market value of the vehicle. The same organizations issue an International Driving License (on production of a national license) which is technically obligatory in all countries where the Latin alphabet is not used - Greece, ex-Yugoslavia, Arab countries. Approaching from the East, the Tehran-Baghdad-Damascus highway is excellent; the road up through Jordan, from Akaba on the Red Sea (the terminus of the E.5), is good, with stretches of motorway.

Syria's road network is excellent.There are 25,887km (16,086 miles) of roads. Second-class roads are unreliable during the wet season. The principal route is Aleppo to Damascus and Dar'a (north–south axis). Traffic drives on the right.


Syria's railway service is reliable and inexpensive. There are two classes of rail travel, both with comfortable seats, but only first class carriages have air-conditioning.

The main railway route connects Damascus with Aleppo, Deir ez-Zur, Hassake and Qamishle, with a secondary, coastal route from Aleppo to the port of Lattakia. The railway extends 1918km (1192 miles). Services are provided to the north of the country from Damascus, but these are irregular and there are no sleeping or restaurant cars except in the through train to Turkey. Some air-conditioned accommodation is available. There is also a connection from Haleb to the Lebanese border.




By Sea

The principal ports are Latakia, Tartus and Banyas. The nearest car ferry sails to Bodrum in western Turkey. Beirut, however, is served – from Greece, Cyprus and Alexandria – and Damascus can then be reached in a couple of hours by road. An attractive alternative is to take a ferry either from Italy (Venice, Ancona or Brindisi) or from Greece (Piraeus) and go as far as Turkey (Izmir, Kusadasi or Bodrum). From any of these ports it is easy to join the main road south via Aydin, Dinar, Antalya, and the steep rugged coast through Alanya, Anamur, Mersin, Tarsus, Iskenderun, Antakya, to Aleppo or Latakia. Three days should be allowed for the sea crossing and another three for the drive. Certain lines offer a mixture of cruise and car ferry; the return journey could be made via Bodrum, Rhodes, Heraklion, Santorini and Piraeus. Cruise ferries are organised by Italian, Greek, Turkish and Cypriot companies and their programmes vary year by year. Contact a travel agent for details.

Commercial Ports

Port Location
Tartous Tartous
Baniyas Syria
Al Latakia Latakia


Source: Ministry of Information





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