Syria Driving Advice and Car Hire Info
Driving in Syria
Check your government’s website for the latest information before considering any travel to Syria. Most country’s currently have a ‘Don’t travel’ red flag in place for the entire country. As the country has been involved in a civil war for almost ten years, and off limits for travellers during that time, its very difficult to establish up to date facts on driving conditions in the country. The following therefore is based on the situation before the war, and my own experiences from driving in Syria in 2010.
Syria drives on the right hand side and requires foreigners to have their own photo licence plus an International Driving Permit to drive here though I was able to rent one from Europcar without being asked for my IDP. Speed limits are 100kmh on expressways and 40kmh in urban areas.
Syria has a well developed road network with 68,000km of roads, 90% of which are paved and include 1100 km of mult-lane expressways. Main routes in Syria are-
M5 – The main motorway in Syria runs from the Jordan border in the South, to Damsascus, Homs and Aleppo. Length is 450 kilometres
M1 – Homs-Tartus-Baniyas – Jableh – Latakia. 174 km.
M2/Highway 1 – Damascus- As Sabboura – Jdaidit Yabws – Lebanon border. 38 km.
M4 – Runs from Latakia to the M5 at Saraqib and joins that to Aleppo. When the M5 ends the M4 continues to the Iraqi border at Rabia, then onto Mosul.
Before the war, roads were in a reasonable condition and major highways and roads in urban centres were in a generally good condition. After years of bombing and heavy armour movements, it’s unlikely they still are.
Driving standards in Syria tend to be erratic , particularly in Cities where traffic is heavy and concepts such as lane discipline don’t really exist. Your horn will be the most useful instrument on the car, as most drivers use this instead of an indicator. Expect undertaking, vehicles pushing into any gap in traffic and even cars going thr wrong way round roundabouts if the correct way is congested .Roads are poorly lit away from urban areas and you are likely to encounter pedestrians , animals and poorly lit vehicles on the road- take additional care if driving at night. Outside city centres traffic is lighter and roads are generally in a good state of repair but beware of lorry drivers who may overtake on blind bends or hills. Drivers are always deemed to be at fault in the case of an accident between a car and a pedestrian and due to lack of pedestrian crossings in cities, you do come across kamikaze style road crossing techniques so be on your guard at all times!
At present it would be foolhardy to attempt any form of independent travel in Syria. Hopefully at some point in the future, it will be possible to travel and self drive there again.
Although I try and keep the information in the site updated as much as possible, in a rapidly moving world, situations can change daily. Therefore please use the site as an approximate guide, and in conjunction with other resources in order to form your view on driving conditions, roads, safety etc.
Syria Car Rental –
Before the war Sixt , Europcar, Budget and Europcar all had branches in the country. It’s unclear whether any still operate.