Syria – Level 4: Do Not Travel Advisory Issued September 10, 2018

Do not travel to Syria due to terrorism, civil unrest, and armed conflict.

No part of Syria is safe from violence. Kidnappings, the use of chemical warfare, shelling, and aerial bombardment pose significant risk of death or serious injury. The destruction of infrastructure, housing, medical facilities, schools, and power and water utilities has also increased hardships inside the country.

The U.S. Embassy in Damascus suspended its operations in February 2012. The U.S. government does not have diplomatic or consular relations with Syria. The Czech Republic serves as the protecting power for the United States in Syria. The range of consular services that the Czech Republic provides to U.S. citizens is extremely limited, and the U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Syria.  U.S. citizens in Syria who seek consular services should try to quickly and safely leave the country and contact a U.S. embassy or consulate in a neighboring country, if possible.

A porous border with Iraq and long-standing border issues with Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Israel have contributed to a complex security environment in Syria, compounded by a protracted violent conflict and influx of foreign fighters.

The U.S. government particularly warns private U.S. citizens against traveling to Syria to engage in armed conflict. U.S. citizens who undertake such activity face extreme personal risks, including kidnapping, injury, or death. The U.S. government does not support this activity. Our ability to provide consular assistance to individuals who are injured or kidnapped, or to the families of individuals who die in the conflict, is extremely limited.

Fighting on behalf of or providing other forms of support to designated terrorist organizations, including ISIS and al-Nusrah Front, can constitute the provision of material support for terrorism, which is a crime under U.S. law that can result in penalties including prison time and large fines.

There is an ongoing and increased risk of kidnapping of U.S. citizens and Westerners throughout the country. U.S. citizens remain a target, with many abductions having occurred since mid-2012.

Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of Syria, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) and/or a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR). For more information U.S. Citizens should consult Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices.

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page

If you decide to travel to Syria:

  • Visit our website on Travel to High Risk Areas.
  • Draft a will and designate appropriate insurance beneficiaries and/or power of attorney.
  • Discuss a plan with loved ones regarding care/custody of children, pets, property, belongings, non-liquid assets (collections, artwork, etc.), funeral wishes, etc.
  • Share important documents, login information, and points of contact with loved ones so that they can manage your affairs, if you are unable to return as planned to the United States.  Leave DNA samples with your medical provider in case it is necessary for your family to access them. Find a suggested list of such documents here.
  • Establish your own personal security plan in coordination with your employer or host organization, or consider consulting with a professional security organization.
  • Develop a communication plan with family and/or your employer or host organization so that they can monitor your safety and location as you travel through high-risk areas. This plan should specify who you would contact first, and how they should share the information.
  • Enroll your trip in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for Syria.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations.  Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

Originally Published: September 10, 2018

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