The health risk information presented here is summarized from Shoreland Travax®, a decision-support tool used by health care providers to perform a detailed health risk analysis based on specific locations, individual travel styles, and traveler risk behaviors. Travax provides practitioners current, independently researched malaria risk and prevention recommendations in a map-based format that goes beyond the annual WHO and CDC statements included here. Not included here are current reports from Travax of disease outbreaks or environmental events that may pose elevated risks to travelers’ health and safety. The Providers section of this site offers a directory of health care providers who utilize Shoreland Travax for travel health counseling. Learn more about the detailed reports and maps available from these practitioners (includes links to samples).
Syria is a developing nation in the lower half of the world's economies. Located east of the Mediterranean Sea and south of Turkey, its climate is mostly desert.
Depending on your itinerary, your personal risk factors, and the length of your visit, your health care provider may offer you vaccination against hepatitis A, hepatitis B, influenza, measles, mumps, rubella, meningococcal meningitis, rabies, typhoid fever, or a one time polio booster if you haven't previously received one for travel. Routine immunizations, such as those that prevent tetanus/diphtheria or "childhood" diseases, should be reviewed and updated as needed.
See also: Library article for Malaria
The following is current information as reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC):
WHO—International Travel and Health (current online update, Country List)(2015) Very limited malaria risk due exclusively to P. vivax may exist from May through October in foci along the northern border, especially in rural areas of El Hasaka Governorate (no indigenous cases reported since 2005, but the reporting system has been disrupted since 2010).
- Recommended prevention: None
WHO Country List footnote: When available, the date of the most recent update or confirmation is indicated in parentheses in the country list. If no date is indicated, the most recent update or confirmation was provided before 2013.
CDC—Health Information for International Travel (current online edition)Areas with malaria: None.
Drug resistance: Not applicable.
See also: Library article for Travelers' Diarrhea
High risk exists throughout the country, including in deluxe accommodations. Food and beverage precautions may reduce the likelihood of illness.
Travelers should carry loperamide for self-treatment of diarrhea and, if risk is moderate to high, an antibiotic to add if diarrhea is severe. Consult a knowledgeable health care provider regarding which antibiotic is appropriate for you and most effective for your destination.
Other Food-Borne Illnesses
Precautions to prevent brucellosis may be needed.
Insect- and Arthropod-Borne Diseases
Leishmaniasis may pose a risk. Personal protective measures are important.
Other Disease and Health Risks
The material below includes information from the U.S. Department of State (DOS), U.K. Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), Global Affairs Canada (GAC), and Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), as well as from additional open-source material. Standard safety precautions that apply to all international travel can be found in the Library article Safety and Security.
Consular Travel Advice
Due to terrorism, military conflict, and other ongoing security concerns, U.S. (DOS), U.K. (FCO), Canada (GAC), and Australia (DFAT) advise avoiding all travel to this country.
High risk of attack by domestic and transnational terrorist groups exists throughout the country, including in cities. Targets may include domestic and international organizations and businesses; public places and events, including those frequented by tourists; and transportation systems.
High risk of kidnapping by terrorist groups exists throughout the country, including in Damascus and Aleppo. Targets may include foreigners (especially Westerners), journalists, nongovernmental organization workers, missionaries, and aid workers.
Risk of violent crime (armed robbery and carjacking) exists throughout the country.
Kidnappings by criminal groups occur throughout the country, including in Damascus and Aleppo. Targets may include foreigners (especially Westerners), journalists, missionaries, and aid workers.
Extensive use of force has been employed by security forces and military in suppressing demonstrations across the country.
Other Safety Threats
No part of Syria should be considered safe from violence. Throughout the country hostile acts (kidnappings, the use of chemical warfare against civilian populations, blockades to bar the access of humanitarian aid workers with supplies, and indiscriminate shelling and aerial bombardment of densely populated urban areas) occur.
Some Syrian opposition groups have utilized car bombs, improvised explosive device/indirect-fire attacks, sniper fire, and kidnappings throughout the country.
Foreign combatants – including Iranian regime elements, Hezbollah fighters, Islamic extremists, and al Qaida-linked elements – are also participating in hostilities.
Since September 2014, the international coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has been carrying out aerial attacks on targets belonging to ISIL and other extremist groups. ISIL and other extremist groups control large parts of the country, and pose an exceptional risk to foreigners. Areas under these groups' control are highly dangerous.
Individuals who demonstrate an interest in groups opposing ISIL, including on social media, could open themselves to being targeted by ISIL itself if those individuals travel to Syria.
Long-standing border issues with Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Israel have contributed to a complex security environment, compounded by the current conflict and influx of foreign fighters. Visitors may experience difficulty and face dangers traveling within the country and when trying to leave Syria via land borders, given the diminishing availability of commercial air travel out of Syria.
Border areas are frequent targets of shelling and other armed conflict and are crowded because of internally displaced refugees. Errant attacks will occasionally hit border towns just outside the borders.
The Syrian government conducts intense physical and electronic surveillance of both Syrian citizens and foreign visitors.
National incidence data on traffic-related injury or death are not available.
Traffic flows on the right-hand side of the road. Travelers (including drivers and pedestrians) accustomed to traffic moving on the opposite side should be vigilant when navigating traffic.
Sandstorms and dust storms frequently occur.
Seismic activity occurs.
Selected Embassies or Consulates in Syria
- United States: sy.usembassy.gov
- Canada: Canada does not have an embassy or consulate in Syria.
- United Kingdom: U.K. does not have an embassy or consulate in Syria.
- Australia: Australia does not have an embassy or consulate in Syria.
Syria's Embassies or Consulates in Selected Countries
- In the U.S.: www.syrianembassy.us
- In Canada: Syria does not have an embassy or consulate in Canada.
- In the U.K.: syremb.com
- In Australia: www.syrianembassy.org.au/en
HIV and hepatitis testing are required to obtain a work or residence visa. Travelers, including short-term travelers, may be detained or deported after arrival if found to be positive for HIV or hepatitis.