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Syrian Arab Republic

Since March 1963, the Syrian Arab Republic has been ruled by an authoritarian regime dominated by the Socialist Ba'ath Party. While the ruling Ba'ath party espouses a largely secular ideology, Islamic traditions and beliefs provide a conservative foundation for the country's customs and practices.  Syria has a developing, centrally-planned economy with large public (30%), agricultural (25%), and industrial (20%) sectors. Tourist facilities are available, but vary in quality depending on price and location. Read the Department of State Background Note http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3580.htm on Syria for additional information.

Syrian Arab Republic


Image of Syrian Arab Republic
Country Name: Syrian Arab Republic
Continent: Middle East
Capital City: Damascus
Boundary Countries:

Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey

Recommended Hospitals in Capital:

Cham Clinic (Damascus)

Main Cities:

Damascus, Aleppo, Latakia, Hims

Country Size: 185,180 sq km
Population: 18,881,361



Arabic (official); Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic, Circassian widely understood; French, English somewhat understood

Currency: Syrian Pournd (SYP)
Predominant Religions:

Sunni Muslim 74%, Alawite, Druze, and other Muslim sects 16%, Christian (various sects) 10%, Jewish (tiny communities in Damascus, Al Qamishli, and Aleppo)

National Holidays: Independence Day, 17 April (1946)
Economic Status:

Syria has a developing, centrally-planned economy with large public (30%), agricultural (25%), and industrial (20%) sectors.



Syrian Armed Forces: Syrian Arab Army (includes Syrian Arab Navy), Syrian Arab Air and Air Defense Force (includes Air Defense Command)

US Presence:
U.S. Embassy in Damascus
Abou Roumaneh, 2 Al Mansour Street
Damascus, Syria
Telephone: 3391-4444
Document Requirements:

A passport and a visa are required. Visas must be obtained prior to arrival in Syria from a Syrian diplomatic mission located in the traveler’s country of residence, although the Syrian visa policy with respect to American diplomats and citizens is currently under review. Foreigners who wish to stay 15 days or more in Syria must register with Syrian immigration authorities by their 15th day. Syrian-American men or American men of Syrian origin, even those born in the United States, may be subject to compulsory military service unless they receive a temporary or permanent exemption from a Syrian diplomatic mission abroad prior to their entry into Syria. (Please see the section on Special Circumstances below.) Syria charges a departure tax for all visitors except those on diplomatic passports. As of July 1, 2008, the tax is 1,500 Syrian Pounds (~$32) if departing from the airport or 500 Syrian Pounds (~$13) if departing via one of the land borders. 

The Syrian government rigidly enforces restrictions on prior travel to Israel, and does not allow persons with passports bearing Israeli visas or entry/exit stamps to enter the country. Syrian immigration authorities will not admit travelers with. Likewise, the absence of entry stamps from a country adjacent to Israel, which the traveler has just visited, will cause Syrian immigration officials to refuse admittance. Entry into Syria via the land border with Israel is not possible. American-citizen travelers suspected of having traveled to Israel have been detained for questioning. 

Syrian security officials are also sensitive about travel to Iraq. There have been instances in which Americans, especially those of Arab descent, believed to have traveled to Iraq were detained for questioning at ports of entry/exit. Americans seeking to travel to Iraq through Syria have also on occasion been turned around and/or detained. On a number of occasions the border between Iraq and Syria has been closed without notice, stranding Americans on either side of the border.

A child under the age of eighteen whose father is Syrian or of Syrian descent must have his/her father’s permission to leave Syria, even if the parents are separated or divorced and the mother has been granted full custody by a Syrian court. Women in Syria are often subject to strict family controls. On occasion, the families of Syrian-American women visiting Syria have attempted to prevent them from leaving the country. This can be a particular problem for young single women of marriageable age. Although a woman does not need her husband's explicit consent every time she wishes to leave Syria, a Syrian husband may take legal action to prevent his wife from leaving the country, regardless of her nationality. Once such legal orders are in place, the U.S. Embassy cannot help American citizens to leave Syria. Visit the Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic, 2215 Wyoming Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20008, telephone (202) 232-6313 or check the Syrian Embassy's home page at the Syrian Embassy's home page  for the most current visa information.

Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors or foreign residents of Syria. There are no special immunizations required for entry to Syria. AIDS tests are mandatory for foreigners of ages 15 to 60 who wish to reside in Syria. The AIDS test must be conducted in Syria at a facility approved by the Syrian Ministry of Health. A residence permit will not be issued until the absence of the HIV virus has been determined. Foreigners wishing to marry Syrian nationals in Syria must also be tested for HIV. Syria usually will not give visas or residency permits to students wishing to study religion or Arabic in private religious institutions. Please verify this information with the Embassy of Syria before you travel.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our web site. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information sheet.

Major Airports:

Airports: 92,   Airports w/paved runways: 26

Servicing Airlines:
Risks and Precautions:




This Travel Warning warns U.S. citizens of ongoing safety and security concerns in Syria.  American citizens are urged to consider carefully the risks of travel to Syria and to take adequate precautions to ensure their safety.  This supersedes the Travel Warning for Syria issued on April 15, 2008.
On multiple occasions throughout January 2009, thousands of Syrians protested in mostly government-orchestrated rallies against Israeli military actions in the Gaza Strip.  While these events were largely peaceful, in one instance a few hundred protestors challenged police lines outside the Egyptian Embassy in downtown Damascus and were dispersed by means of non-lethal force.  At least seven smaller-scale and non-violent demonstrations have occurred in central Damascus and other urban centers. 
On October 30, 2008, the Syrian Government allowed a large-scale demonstration in central Damascus to take place with the aim of protesting an alleged U.S. military action at the Syrian/Iraqi border that had occurred earlier that week. Security concerns related to the demonstration prompted a temporary closure of the U.S. Embassy for one day.  In response to the same alleged incident, the Syrian Government ordered the immediate closure of the Damascus Community School, the American Language Center, and the American Cultural Center on November 4, 2008.  They remain closed until further notice. 
On October 9, 2008, Syrian authorities raided Yarmouk refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus and killed three terrorist suspects.  On September 27, 2008, a car bomb exploded in a southern suburb of Damascus in proximity to a Syrian intelligence installation, killing and wounding numerous civilians.  On August 3, 2008, a Syrian general was assassinated near Tartous.  On February 12, 2008, an explosion in the residential Kafer Soseh neighborhood of Damascus killed a senior Hizbollah operative.  In September, 2006, the U.S. Embassy in Damascus was attacked by terrorists armed with guns, grenades, and a car bomb.  In February 2006, violent anti-western demonstrations resulted in significant damage to four embassies near the U.S. Embassy. 
A number of terrorist groups have offices in Syria.  Since 1979, the United States has designated Syria a State Sponsor of Terrorism due to its support for organizations such as Hizbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.  In addition, other extremist groups are present in Syria.  These groups have the potential to be either the targets of or perpetrators of acts of violence.
U.S. citizens who remain in or travel to Syria are strongly encouraged to register at the Consular section of the U.S. Embassy in Damascus or via the www.travel.state.gov internet based registration website, and to obtain updated information on travel and security in Syria.  Those registering should give due consideration to Privacy Act provisions and waivers.  Americans in Syria are reminded they should review their personal security practices, including exercising caution and taking prudent measures to maintain their security and that of family members.  These measures include being aware of their surroundings, avoiding crowds and demonstrations, avoiding loitering in areas with concentrations of people such as hotels, theaters, bus stations, and schools.  American citizens should keep a low profile, vary times and routes for all travel, and ensure their travel documents are current.
Syrian officials do not notify the American Embassy when American citizens are arrested.  Syrian officials do not inform detained American citizens that they have the right to request consular access.  In detention/arrest cases, the U.S. Embassy usually learns of a detained American via third parties, such as relatives or friends of the detained.  In the event an American citizen is detained, he/she should continue to request consular access and the right to speak to the U.S. Embassy.
The Syrian government is acutely sensitive when it comes to the security of its borders.  A passport and Syrian visa are required to enter Syrian territory.  Visas must be obtained prior to arrival in Syria from a Syrian diplomatic mission located in the traveler's country of residence.  The U.S. Embassy is aware that some persons have been able to obtain visas at Syrian border crossings.  However, the issuance of a Syrian border visa is in no way certain, and the U.S. Embassy wishes to dissuade American travelers from attempting to enter Syria in this manner. 
Syrian Immigration services closely track foreign visitors, especially students.  Syrian Immigration has been known to deny re-entry to Syria even to Americans with valid dual- or multi-entry visas in their passports.  Several Americans have been refused re-entry to Syria after spending weekends in Jordan or Lebanon.  The Embassy cannot assist Americans in gaining re-entry to Syria or in retrieving their belongings from Syria if they are denied reentry. 
U.S. consular personnel remain available to provide emergency information and services to American citizens. The U.S. Embassy in Damascus, Syria, is located at 2, Al-Mansour St., Abu Roumaneh.  The Embassy telephone number is (963) (11) 3391-4444, fax (963) (11) 331-9678, e-mail: acsdamascus@state.gov.  American citizens may register with the Embassy online by visiting https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs.  Additional information may be found on the Embassy website at http://usembassy.state.gov/damascus.
Updated information on travel and security in Syria may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 within the United States and Canada or, from overseas, 1-202-501-4444.  Additional details can be found in the Department of State's Country Specific Information for Syria, and the Worldwide Caution, which are available on the Department's Internet website at http://travel.state.gov.

Mortality Statistics:

Infant MR total:  28.61 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:  TOTAL 70.32 years   (male 69.01/female 71.7)

Immunization Indicators:

Required: None
Recommended: Hep A & B, Malaria, Rabies, Typhoid
Boosters: DPT, MMR and polio


Infectious Disease Concerns:

HIV/AIDS– people living with HIV/AIDS: less than 500

Travelers to some areas of the Syrian Arab Republic may be at risk for malaria. Chloroquine is the recommended antimalarial drug for Syria. Cutaneous leishmaniasis is reported throughout the area; visceral leishmaniasis, although rare throughout most of the area, is common in central Iraq, in the southwest of Saudi Arabia, in the northwest of Syria. Other infections that tend to occur more often in longer-term travelers (or immigrants from this region) include tuberculosis (Yemen), lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis (Yemen), hepatitis B, and schistosomiasis (Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iraq, and Syria)

Overall Quality of Medical Services:

Basic medical care and medicines are available in Syria's principal cities, but not necessarily in outlying areas.  Serious illnesses and emergencies may require evacuation to a Western medical facility.

Providers in Network:
Direct Payment: 1
Referrals: 20
View Network Providers
Recent Medical Threats/ Concerns/Warnings:
Communications Info:

Country Code:  +963
Internet Code:  .sy


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Seven Corners is one of the industry's most experienced travel health insurance providers. The company serves leisure, student, business, government and missionary/volunteer travelers. It offers an extensive selection of international medical and travel insurance policies to U.S. citizens traveling overseas, or foreign nationals visiting the United States. Seven Corners has thousands of policy holders and a worldwide network of over 30,000 agents. The company created and maintains the industry's most comprehensive network of international health care providers that includes thousands of doctors, pharmacies and hospitals around the globe. Seven Corners is a member of the United States Travel Insurance Association; is GSA certified and is currently pursuing a SAS 70 Type II compliant designation. In addition to travel medical insurance, Seven Corners also offers health care administration to the government sector. The company is privately held and headquartered just north of Indianapolis in Carmel, IN.