Country Reports

Syria Country Report

Content provided by
IHS Markit Logo

Risk Level

Very High


Executive Summary

President Assad is winning the civil war and remains committed to re-establishing control over all of Syria, backed by Russia and Iran. Despite US strikes to deter chemical weapons use, the Trump administration is likely to compromise over Assad's future, lacking a viable alternative. A Turkish military deployment is deterring the Syrian army from advancing into the last remaining opposition enclave in northwestern Syria, but a settlement to end the civil war, in return for guarantees for Turkey's Sunni proxies, is increasingly likely in 2019. The Islamic State has lost almost all of the territory it controlled, but maintains active cells conducting assassinations and IED attacks across much of eastern Syria. Al-Qaeda affiliate Hay'a Tahrir al-Sham occasionally targets government, civilian, and strategic assets in government-held areas with VBIEDs. Foreigners are at severe risk of kidnapping across the country by insurgents and pro-government forces. The risk of armed opposition attacks affecting aviation at Damascus International Airport has fallen significantly since the government re-established full control of the capital in mid-2018, though there remains a high risk of collateral damage from Israeli airstrikes targeting Iranian aircraft suspected of carrying weapons. Syria's dependence on foreign investment (mainly from Russia, Iran, and China) to fund post-war reconstruction is driving the privatisation of state-run businesses, although many of these are being transferred, at least in part, to the Syrian business elite in return for their continued loyalty to the Assad government. International investors face unfair competition from local businessmen with close ties to the government. There is a very high risk of inadvertent breach of EU sanctions by dealing with Syrian partners linked to a sanctions-listed individual or entity. US sanctions prevent any US person or entity from having dealings with Syria, generating risks for third-country entities that seek to operate in Syria while maintaining US operations. © 2018, IHS Markit Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Last update: November 10, 2018

Operational Outlook

Operational risks in Syria are severe because of the ongoing civil war. There is currently no land cargo passing between Syrian government-controlled areas and Turkey or Iraq, hampering business and investment. Goods entering Syria via Latakia port or the Beirut-Damascus highway are vulnerable to theft and extortion. Even within government-controlled areas, powerful vested interests within the ruling elite and business community present significant obstacles to foreign competition. Corruption and nepotism are entrenched, and government patronage dominates what remains of the functional commercial sector.

Last update: November 28, 2018



The Islamic State has lost nearly all of its so-called "caliphate". Many of the group's remaining fighters have moved to Iraq where they still have support networks, or have merged into other jihadist groups in Idlib province. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other jihadist groups frequently target government, civilian, and strategic assets in government-held areas with VBIEDs. Foreigners are at severe risk of kidnapping across the country by insurgents and pro-government forces.

Last update: December 8, 2018

War Risks

Israel has increased military action in Syria to enforce its, often inconsistently presented, "red lines", while Iran continues to demonstrate intent to establish the capacity to attack Israel not just from Lebanon but from southern Syria. This poses a very high risk of war by miscalculation, which would result in major damage to Israeli, Lebanese, and Syrian infrastructure. The President Donald Trump administration has effectively excluded US-led military intervention aimed at toppling the Assad government as a policy option. The government will probably aim to recapture the opposition-held Idlib pocket in the next six months, posing a very high risk of conflict with Turkish forces deployed there.

Last update: September 4, 2018

Social Stability


Protests in government-held areas are rare, but occur occasionally over price rises, failing public services, or high casualties by government forces. In opposition-held areas, protests are likely to become increasingly frequent and violent over disagreement among opposition factions over a potential reconciliation with the Assad government. Protesters and bystanders are at severe risk of death and injury.

Last update: November 27, 2018

Health Risk


Vaccinations required to enter the country

Polio vaccination for travellers coming from Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Pakistan and for travellers from Syrian Arab Republic going to other countries. 

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: May 4, 2016

Natural Risks

Very high

Travelers should keep in mind that Syria is located in a seismic zone.

During winter, low temperatures and snow can affect some villages in the western part of the country.

Last update: February 13, 2018



Roads are generally in good condition, however many of them have been destroyed or damaged due to the civil war.

Most airports throughout Syria are not in operation. While the Damascus International Airport is still operational, most flights have been suspended.

It is possible to travel to Syria from Lebanon via land border crossings.

The railway network (Damascus-Lattaquie and Damascus-Aleppo) is not well developed and not generally used.

Last update: February 13, 2018

Practical Information


The climate is arid in the center of the country, Mediterranean along the coast, and mountainous in the northeast. Summers are hot (30°C) and dry along the coast while winters are mild and rainy. In the desert zone, conditions are dry and very hot (40°C) in the summer with little rain; winters are cool and temperatures can fall to 3°C overnight.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: 963
Police: 112
Fire Dept.: 113
Ambulance: 110


Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz


Last update: January 29, 2014