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Getting around In Syria

AIR: Syrian Arab Airlines fly to Aleppo, Palmyra, Deir ez Zor, Qamishly and Latakia. Fares in general are exceedingly cheap.

RAIL: 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.

ROAD: 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. Bus: Services run from Damascus and Aleppo to most towns and are cheap and efficient. There are orange-and-white air-conditioned Karnak (government-operated) buses. Reservations should be made well in advance. Karnak bus routes serve their own terminals, which are usually in or near the city centres. There are also privately-run bus and microbus services which started recently all over Syria. Taxi: Shared taxis are available to all parts of the country. Service taxis (old limousines) run on major routes and cost 50-70% more than Karnak buses. Regulations: Speed limits: 20kph (12mph) in the city; 80kph (50mph) on highways. Documentation: International Driving Permit required. Green Cards are not yet accepted in Syria. Insurance is required by law and a customs certificate is needed. These are available from touring and automobile clubs.

URBAN: Publicly-owned bus services operate in all major towns and cities. Most buses outside the capital, however, have no signs in a European script to indicate destination or stops, which can make travelling rather difficult. Taxis are widely available. Fares should be agreed in advance and according to the meter in the cities.

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

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