Syria

Summary

Please read all sections of this travel advice carefully. The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller and the traveller is responsible for his or her personal safety for the duration of his/her trip. It is recommended that you continue to monitor this travel advice for updates.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises against all travel to Syria at this time.

Irish citizens who are currently in Syria are strongly advised to leave immediately while this is still possible. The recent escalation in violence means that we cannot guarantee that the Honorary Consulate of Ireland in Damascus will be able to remain open for much longer. As Ireland has no resident Embassy in Syria, and if the Consulate should have to close at short notice, Irish citizens should be aware that it is extremely unlikely that the Irish Government will be able to provide any consular assistance to citizens who decide to remain in Syria at this time.

Irish citizens should also be aware that any documents which they forward to the Honorary Consul in Damascus may not reach the Consulate safely and there is no guarantee that documents returned by the Consulate will be delivered.

Irish citizens should also be aware, that in emergency situations, they can seek consular assistance from any EU Mission that remains open in Damascus.

The Department's clear advice for some time has been to leave Syria while it is still possible to do so.  If, despite our clear advice to leave, you decide to remain in Syria, please ensure he . If, despite our clear advice to leave, you decide to remain in Syria, please ensure that you and your family have valid exit visas, if you require one to leave Syria. Monitor local media for developments and follow the advice of the local authorities. You should also stock up on basic necessities such as water, food, fuel and medicines as supplies of these may deteriorate rapidly, and without warning.

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 Irish citizens wish to leave Syria overland, they should check the status of the border crossing and access routes before travelling.

Irish citizens remaining in Syria at this time are advised to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs, if they have not already done so, by clicking here.  

TRAVEL INSURANCE

The Department of Foreign Affairs strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before travelling to Syria. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

Irish Citizens should note that the Irish Government does not provide funds for emergency medical repatriation or for repatriation of remains.

Safety and Security

Irish citizens who are currently in Syria are strongly advised to leave immediately while this is still possible. The recent escalation in violence means that we cannot guarantee that the Honorary Consulate of Ireland in Damascus will be able to remain open for much longer. As Ireland has no resident Embassy in Syria, and if the Consulate should have to close at short notice, Irish citizens should be aware that it is extremely unlikely that the Irish Government will be able to provide any consular assistance to citizens who decide to remain in Syria at this time.

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 Irish citizens wish to leave Syria overland, they should check the status of the border crossing and access routes before travelling. 

As road and driving standards are variable, you should avoid driving outside the main cities at night.  Travel to the Syria-Iraq border is not advisable.



Local Laws and Customs

Syria is a conservative society, and modest dress and behavior should be observed. Visitors should dress modestly and, respect local customs and norms, particularly in places of religious significance. Women's clothes should cover their legs and upper arms. Public displays of affection are frowned upon.

Ramadan

During Ramadan, Muslims, who make up the majority of Syria population, are not permitted to eat, drink or smoke during daylight hours. To avoid offence you may wish to avoid eating, drinking and smoking in public during this time.

Local laws

Irish citizens are reminded that whilst in Syria, they are subject to local laws, including ones that may seem harsh by Irish standards. In the current environment, foreigners as well as Syrians may be subject to arbitrary arrest and detention by the Syrian authorities. Obtaining information or providing consular assistance in such cases is extremely difficult.

Parents in particular should be aware that local laws regarding custody etc of children are significantly different to those in force in Ireland.

The punishment for possession of drugs is life imprisonment.  For drug trafficking, the death penalty applies.  

Photography near military and many other government installations is prohibited. Given the widespread nature of the current conflict, you should consider all areas as politically sensitive and therefore photography prohibited.

Homosexuality is illegal.

If you are required to engage in activities that involve local legal matters, particularly with regard to family law, you are strongly advised to seek professional advice.

Natural Disasters and Climate

Syria is subject to occasional earthquakes.

Dust and sand storms also occur.

Additional Country Information

All travellers are advised to be fully vaccinated against polio.

Irish citizens require a visa to enter Syria. For entry requirements for Syria, please contact the Embassy of Syria in London.

Any Irish citizen in Syria (resident or visitor) or who intends to travel there is advised to register their details with the Embassy of Ireland in Cairo. Please click here to do so.

Irish citizens who require assistance in Syria should immediately contact the Embassy in Cairo or the Honorary Consul in Damascus.

The Department of Foreign Affairs also operates a 24 hour emergency service for citizens in need of consular assistance on 00353 1 4780822.  

Cash and Banking

It is illegal to change money on the street.  Change money only in recognized exchange shops, banks and hotels.  Credit cards are not widely used.  

As a result of international sanctions, financial institutions in several countries have suspended their transactions with Syria. This may affect your ability to make payments, withdraw cash from ATMs etc. Please check with your bank/credit institution for further details. There have also been restrictions placed on financial transactions by the Syrian government.

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We encourage citizens travelling to this destination to register their contact details here
 Syria

Security Status

  1. Take normal precautions
  2. Exercise caution
  3. Exercise extreme caution
  4. Avoid non-essential travel
  5. Do not travel