Syria

Syria

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The Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) is located in the Middle East, between Lebanon and Turkey. The country also borders the Mediterranean Sea, Iraq, Jordan, and Israel. The population of Syria is about 22.5 million people.

The government of Syria is a republic with an authoritarian regime. A president is chief of state and a prime minister is head of government.

Modern Syria gained independence from France in 1946. From 1946 to 1970, there was a lack of political stability and numerous military coups. Syria was under Emergency Law from 1962 until 2011, effectively suspending most constitutional protections for citizens. In March 2011, anti-government protests demanded repeal of the Emergency Law. The government reacted by repealing the aw and making some concessions but also responding with force. As of April 2011, the protests continued. Unfortunately, the entire country has entered a civil war with thousands of deaths in the past 3 years.

Syria has played a major regional role, particularly through its central role in the Arab conflict with Israel and by active involvement in Lebanese and Palestinian affairs.

Syria retains a rich ancient history and many significant historical sites. Damascus is known as one of the oldest living cities in the world. The ancient cities of Damascus, Aleppo, Palmyra and Bosra are all listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.

Currency SYP: Syrian pound
Language Arabic
Capital Damascus
Recent Alerts 1
Latest Alert November 03, 2017 - Circulation of polio vaccine-derived strains in unvaccinated populations

Diseases To Be Aware Of

The diseases listed below are those which occur most often in Syria. Other, less frequently encountered diseases might be displayed within the Travel Alerts section if they have occurred recently.

Malaria

According to the World Health Organization, there is a very limited malaria risk from May to October along the northern border, especially in rural areas of El Hasaka Governorate. Since the reporting system has been disrupted since 2010, it is difficult to determine the exact level of risk.

Hepatitis A

There is a significant risk for hepatitis A virus exposure in Syria through contaminated food or water. 

Hepatitis B

There is a significant risk for acquiring hepatitis B in Syria.

Typhoid Fever

Unvaccinated people can become infected through contaminated food and water in Syria, especially when visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas where food and water sources may be contaminated.

Leishmaniasis

Leishmaniasis occurs in Syria, particularly in the northern region. It is usually more common in rural than urban areas, and the risk of acquiring leishmaniasis is increased in travellers who spend time outdoors in rural areas and at night, when sand flies typically feed.

Schistosomiasis

The parasite that causes schistosomiasis may found in Syria, however, there are no current data for risk.

Polio

There were sporadic cases of polio reported in 2014. Travellers should always have their childhood vaccinations up to date, including polio.

Rabies

Rabies occurs in this country. Travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk.

Cholera

Cholera has occurred in Syria

Vaccinations to Consider

The following is a list of recommended vaccinations for travelling to Syria.

Hepatitis A Vaccine

There is a significant risk of exposure to hepatitis A for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

There is a significant risk of infection with hepatitis B for this country, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Typhoid Fever Vaccine

There is a risk of exposure to typhoid fever in this country through consumption of unsafe food and water. Since exposure to unsafe sources is variable within this country, the vaccination against typhoid fever is generally recommended, especially when visiting smaller cities or rural areas, where food and water sources may be contaminated.

Polio Vaccine

All travellers should have childhood vaccinations up to date.

Rabies Vaccine

Vaccination against rabies is recommended for travellers involved in outdoor activities (e.g., campers, hikers, adventure travellers, and cavers) who may have direct contact with rabid dogs, bats, and other mammals. Those with occupational risks (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, researchers) and long-term travellers and expatriates are at higher risk and should be vaccinated.

Cholera Vaccine

There are no specific recommendations by CDC or NaTHNac for the cholera vaccine for travel to Syria. However, generally the oral cholera vaccine is recommended for some travellers, ages 18-64, whose activities or medical history put them at increased risk, travelling to areas of active cholera transmission. These risk factors include: aid workers; those going to areas of cholera outbreaks who have limited access to potable water and medical care; travellers for whom the vaccination would be considered potentially beneficial, such as chronic medical conditions.

Medications to Consider

The following is a list of recommended medications for travelling to Syria.

Anti-malarial Drugs

Anti-malaria medication is not necessary, however, precautions against insect bites are recommended.

Safety and Security in Syria

Emergency Numbers

112
110 Government ambulance
113

Operators speak Arabic.

Personal Safety

Syria is currently a war zone and personal safety is non-existent.

Extreme Violence

Since March 2011, Syrian has been enveloped in armed conflict between government forces and the Free Syrian Army. In effect, there is an on-going undeclared civil war in which over hundreds of thousands have died. At this time, travellers should not travel to Syria.

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