Many of you asked us, how we managed to cross Syria as situation inside the country hasn’t been clear. We were in Syria only one day, but it was one of the most unforgettable days, we are going to remember for long…
Our adventure with Syria started actually in Syrian Embassy in Warsaw. We knew that political situation there wasn’t ideal and getting visas wouldn’t be the easiest things to apply for, but getting through that country was for us the only option to get on the African continent. Before we applied for visas we were properly interviewed. Even Syrian Consul came to see us and asked some questions. After those meetings we sort of got permission to apply or visas.
We filled lots of applications plus we wrote letters with explanation that driving through Syria was the only way for us to get to African land by car (as at that time there was no ferry or other option of getting across from Europe/Turkey to Eastern part of Africa)
Our applications were sent to Damascus. We were waiting over a month when we finally got a phone call with good news – we were allowed to apply for visas. We paid 25 Euros and within 2 days we picked our passports with freshly pasted Syrian Visas.
Before crossing the border
Everybody knows that nowadays Syrian political situation inside the country in not really good! When we were crossing Syria, we seriously didn’t really know what was there, what to expect…But we took a risk, which turned into a very unforgettable experience.
Before we entered to the country, we had done lots of research. We spent more or less a week driving around the Turkish- Syrian border, checking out the situation and considering the best for us border crossing. We also called 3 different Embassies (Syrian in Warsaw and Polish and Hungarian in Syria) as we thought they would have good information about the situation, but what we only heard was: “do not go there – you will be killed”. It didn’t give us positive feelings. We were driving from one border crossing to another, asking questions. Firstly we went close to Kasab, but there was too quite. We went towards bigger border called Reyhanli. However, while we driving along Syrian we saw lots of smoke rising over the country. We got scared and using our lens as a binocular we were trying to figure it out whether it was smoke coming from cities or uninhabited areas. According to us smoke was rising above forests, but anyway the vision of going through Syria was not really optimistic. When we arrived to Reyhanli, Charlie was stopping and kindly asking drivers coming from Syria, how actual situation looked like and how safe that route was. Syrians were very helpful, some of them said the same what we heard from Embassies, but some of them said that situation is not that bad, however everybody didn’t recommend route via Idlib as that city was not safe and it was not secured by army. We decided to come back to our “first choice” border crossing – Kasab. In opposition to Reynhanli, Kasab was very, very quite – one car per one, two hours… no buses, no noise, no trucks, almost no people…Nevertheless, our welcome back in Yaylagadi (name of Turkish border) was not really promising neither as first thing we saw were clouds of smoke rising over border, which were coming towards Turkey. We didn’t know what was going on – but when we drove closer, we saw that forest nearby border was on fire. Turkish firemen quickly managed to put the fire out and we could park our car just next to the Turkish border control. As we already mentioned – Turkish hospitality is amazing, therefore even on the border we met really helpful and brilliant people. Firstly, we could spend a night there – we basically were parked just next to the border (It was probably one of our safest places to stay), secondly one of the border controls was so friendly and nice that he gave a us a can of hummus and thirdly, probably most importantly for us – A nice border control supervisor did us a favor as Charlie was able to go to the Syrian border controls and ask whether we would be able to enter Syria with visas and documents we had – without stamping our Turkish visas out…. Turkish people are seriously amazing!!!!!!!!!!