Safety and security

Civil Unrest/Political Tension

The situation remains extremely volatile and dangerous. There is widespread fighting throughout Syria, including in Damascus and its suburbs. Full scale military operations involving the use of small arms, tanks, artillery and aircraft are undertaken regularly. The Syrian regime does not exercise control of significant parts of Syria, notably in the north, south and east of the country. A small area of eastern Syria is under effective control of Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL), which is fiercely hostile to the United Kingdom.

A number of foreign journalists have been killed. All foreign journalists entering Syria require special permission from the Syrian authorities. Those journalists and other foreigners in opposition-held areas are vulnerable to mistreatment by armed groups as well as to explosive remnants of war, improvised explosive devices, and the bombardment of these areas. Others have been detained by the Syrian security forces or other armed groups during the crisis. The security forces have confiscated phones, cameras and video cameras.

There are severe restrictions on unlicensed political and religious activity in Syria. The Syrian authorities have detained and deported several British nationals for unauthorised activity. Activity in opposition-held areas will also attract attention. If you are deported by the local authorities, you will not be able to return to Syria.

Humanitarian crisis

Humanitarian needs in Syria have increased significantly since the beginning of the crisis with over 13 million people in dire need of humanitarian aid. The ongoing conflict has seriously affected public infrastructure and services. This widespread destruction has led to high unemployment, scarcity/prohibitive cost of food, lack of water, sanitation, health services and fuel.

Crime

The escalating conflict has led to a rise in crime in most areas, including extortion at checkpoints, violent robbery, carjacking and kidnapping.

Air travel

There is a reduced number of commercial flights due to the implementation of sanctions, the security situation and the high level of violence. Fighting near airports has sometimes caused the temporary suspension of flights. Road networks may be blocked without warning. There are security force checkpoints on major road routes.

Fighting and road closures have affected access to some land border crossing points. Some border crossings are in the hands of non-state armed groups, vulnerable to attack, and/or closed.

Road travel

Road travel remains very dangerous in many parts of the country due to fighting. Driving standards and traffic systems are poor, and the accident rate is high. Driving at night is particularly dangerous. When there is a car accident with a pedestrian, the car driver is always legally responsible.