Syria Travel Alert

Issued by US Department of State

Mar 24, 2011

The U.S. Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the potential for ongoing political and social unrest in Syria. Recent demonstrations have degenerated on several occasions into violent clashes between security forces and protesters, resulting in deaths, injuries, and property damage. We remind U.S. citizens that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. U.S. citizens are urged to avoid the areas of demonstrations if possible, and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of any demonstrations. U.S. citizens should stay current with media coverage of local events and be aware of their surroundings at all times. Media coverage of local events may cause family and friends to become concerned for the welfare of their loved ones in Syria, and we urge U.S. citizens to keep in regular contact with family or friends. This Travel Alert expires on June 24, 2011.

Travelers should heed directions given by Syrian police and/or security officials and should always carry a copy of their passport as proof of citizenship and identity. Taking photographs of anything that could be perceived as being of military or security interest may result in questioning, detention, and/or confiscation of the images. Additionally, U.S. citizens should be aware that conversations on the topics of politics, religion, and other social issues could lead to arrest.

Syrian authorities generally do not notify the U.S. Embassy of the arrest of a U.S. citizen until days or weeks after the arrest. Moreover, in the past security officials also have not responded to Embassy requests for consular access, especially in the case of persons detained for "security" reasons.

U.S. citizens living or traveling in Syria are encouraged to enroll in the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive the latest travel updates and information and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Syria. U.S. citizens without Internet access may register directly with the U.S. Embassy in Damascus. By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy in Damascus can be reached at all hours at 963-11-3391-4444; the fax number is 963-11-3391-3999. The Embassy's website, available at U.S. Embassy Damascus, includes consular information and the most recent messages to the U.S. citizen community in Damascus.

Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

For further information, U.S. citizens should consult the Department of State’s Country Specific Information for Syria available on the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ travel website at http://travel.state.gov/.

Stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which also contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.

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