Syria - Holidays, Flights and Hotels
For flight bookings and travel to Syria and the Middle East.
The Syrian Arab Republic, or Syria, is a country in the Middle East. It borders Lebanon to the west, Israel to the southwest, Jordan to the south, Iraq to the east, and Turkey to the north. Israel occupies the Golan Heights in the southwest of the country; a dispute with Turkey over the Hatay Province now seems to have subsided. Historically, Syria has often been taken to include the territories of Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian Territories, and parts of Jordan, but excluding the Jazira region in the north-east of the modern Syrian state. In this historic sense, the region is also known as Greater Syria or by the Arabic name Bilad al-Sham.
Syria consists mostly of arid plateau, although the northwest part of the country bordering the Mediterranean is fairly green. The Northeast of the country "Al Jazira" and the South "Hawran" are important agricultural areas. The Euphrates, Syria's most important river, crosses the country in the east. It is considered to be one of the fifteen states that comprise the so-called "Cradle of Humanity".
Major cities include the capital Damascus in the southwest, Aleppo in the north, and Homs. Most of the other important cities are located along the coast line. (See also List of cities in Syria.)
The climate in Syria is dry and hot, although winters are mild. Because of the country's elevation, snowfall does occasionally occur during winter.
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Syria is generally safe for travelers, partly because crime is considered shameful and is heavily punished. However, the renewed conflict between Israel and Lebanon in 2006 prompted large demonstrations throughout the Middle East. Travelers are advised to avoid all large gatherings as they may turn violent. Late in 2006 gunmen attacked the US Embassy in Damascus. Occasionally foreign travelers have been targeted by political groups, especially in the south of the country.
Women traveling alone may find that they draw a little too much attention from Syrian men. However, this is generally limited to stares or feeble attempts at making conversation. If it goes beyond that the best approach is to remain polite but be clear that approaches are unwelcome. Be loud and involve bystanders as they will often be very chivalrous and helpful.
Slightly inconvenient for some is the attention of children begging for money, pens, or snacks around some tourist sites (usually those outside of Damascus).