* My Profile My Galleries My Networks

Need help in Syria in middle of September

Hello everyone I am a final year student major in Economics and Psychology. I want to travel to Syria and Turkey this September in order to further my knowledge and my study. As I am a student so budget is very tight, I would be very appreciate if everyone can give me advice on accommodation, a trustworthy fixer…..I also have a very good foundation in photography so if any photographer want a free assistant or any traveller want to have a friend to travel along, I would be very happy to help out. If you guys want to see my portfolio please contact me at nm00153@surrey.ac.uk. Thank you all for paying attention.

by Nguyen Anh Mai at 2012-06-26 09:50:34 UTC | Bookmark | | Report spam→

Couple things….

If your budget is tight, you won’t be able to afford a fixer. Your option is to hang out near the border/refugee camps and see if anyone will take you.

BUT…. you really don’t want to go into Syria. Assad and his supporters are playing for keeps in a big way.

Situation is completely different than Libya last year when I went. There, the rebels had the high ground and NATO air cover. In Syria, Assad has all the advantages and you’re pretty much dead if they find you.

by Humphrey Cheung | 27 Jun 2012 04:06 (ed. Jun 27 2012) | Los Angeles, United States | | Report spam→
Thanks for the reply. I travelled alone to Lybia last year as well, it was extremely difficult for me without a partner but I still managed. I understand your advice about the current situation in Syria that is why I am hoping if I post something here I can make some friend. I pretty much made up my mind and preparing everything so it may be a bit latel to chicken out

by Nguyen Anh Mai | 27 Jun 2012 14:06 | United Kingdom, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
A lot of people around you are dead if they find you. Keep that in mind

by john d | 28 Jun 2012 01:06 | hetay, Turkey | | Report spam→
Cheers for the reply, John. I did consider that a lot, but there are some certain advantages to have a small group of 2 or 3 people. There will probably be some rules to protect everyone. And the same goes for me, if they find my partner, I am dead. Saying all that, but the thing I mostly want to ask is accommodation, etc…It would be good to have a friend but I am preparing to travel alone again.

by Nguyen Anh Mai | 28 Jun 2012 03:06 | United Kingdom, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
This is from a friend of a friend :-
I was in Damascus in January (official), in the suburbs of Douma and Harasta, two things i learnt very quick.
Activists are either amateurs or pros when dealing with their personal security.

Example Harasta group very secure the Douma bunch not. Also Douma activists were extremely manipulative, pushing a radio journalist forward down a fire lane where shabiha and army waited. We managed with pressure to break away and head back to Damascus, but our guides led us into a Army check point. Police were OK (i was on a journalist visa) two spoke English and said if it was the shabiha who grabbed us, it would be very unpleasant for us ! !
That we know.
Army were all very well armed, scoped weapons Dragnovs and tactically aware, far superior to forces encountered in other ME or North African countries.

Recently from Lebanon (Feb / Mar) it was a nightmare, smugglers charging $2000usd per person (thats standard for both Leb and Turk borders) to be smuggled across but Syrian intelligence is very active on both sides, Leb military has moved personnel and armour to the various routes in and out making it extremely hard to take that route.
Syrian army and shabiha are on the look out.
Risk versus gain, risks to high. !
Wadi Khalid in the north of Lebanon is an FSA refuge possible good pixs, plus refugge element

AJE´s James Bays went over last month via Lebanon, two of his guides and smugglers were killed trying to get them out.

BBC were operating in the southern area of Syria as well but spent 2 weeks basically on the run.

Turkey is the most obvious route, Beeb are in there at the moment along with many networks. This is the most secure at present.

If you turn up on the Turkish / Syrian border you will find numerous FSA and activists around, willing to guide. But some are trusted many are not.
You will find the FSA to be open minded in part ……and complete islamic extremists as well, personally i don´t trust them but you take what you can, they use you, you use them.

That goes for private security operators and companies. i.e one such person (ex Brit police) has sold the idea to both AJE and ITN that he has a personal force of Lebanese SF operators who can rescue any team that is in trouble inside Syria !!???Don’t believe that for a second.

I will this week after we have spoken pass you a contact who may be able to help you.

Islamic Militant Groups – a recent dimension in the conflict and the extent to which they are involved is unclear. A Jihadist Group – Jabhat an Nusra (The Salvation Front) has claimed responsibility for nine bombings in the country, including the simultaneous car bombs in Damascus.

Its a protracted low-intensity conflict, with ethnic and sectarian divisions fuelling a power struggle and will lead to a violent civil war, which could result in a disastrous regional conflict, which will keep the region in turmoil for many years to come.
From Turkey

The Jaish Al Hurrah is a rag tag mix of civilians, smugglers, army defectors and anyone else that has a gun. They have very little modern weaponry or ammunition, no artillery, mortars or armour. There is no central leadership with villages and towns forming their own militia to defend and protect themselves from the Syrian military. With the defection of more Syrian Army officers and men becoming regular the situation for the Syrian military in the province will become acute and force the military to take further action.

The Syrian military were mainly staying in barracks but mount concentrated operations on specific towns and villages to kill or capture anti government sympathisers or to enforce the regime authority in an area.

The cost of the crossing was $2000 for three media crew. It is very possible this cost will rise. Other quotes were between $1500 – $4000 depending on the smuggling group and how much they think you are willing to pay.

There are two main routes into Syria from Antakya. The northern route, it’s a good route but involves a two hour walk over rugged terrain, however there is a route south of Antakya that is less physical. I don’t know the route but was told it involves a short boat ride over a river, this might be seasonal, the rest of the journey is by vehicle to Saramada which seems to be the main cross roads for all the routes.

Antik Beyazit Hotel in Antakya: 36°11’57.17"N 36° 9’36.40"E

Medical kit

Medical, focus on Trauma but also never forget the medical side of remote medicine, cardiac, allergies and other illnesses can be increased by the difficulties in working in this type situation where stress, dehydration, anxiety, fatigue and elements of shock can cause or create a medical situation.

Prepare your self.

The quality of the medical facilities varies but they had the capability to deal with gunshot wounds and other life threatening injuries to a limited degree.

Know your skill set, your limitations and those that are with you.

Think mortality die off curve. And Tactical Combat Casualty Care. TCCC.

Life saving principles

On the good side I hope to be going soon be for Ramadan if you what to chat as I am looking for a partner as well

by Andrew Chittock | 28 Jun 2012 07:06 | afighanistan, Afghanistan | | Report spam→
what i am getting at Nguyen, is that the FSA people who are with you will certainly be up shit creek if you are sniffed out. the regime will also kick the crap out of any village they suspect a journalist is in. spies are everywhere.

i am not telling you to go or not go. just keep all this in mind.

the costs quoted by Andrew are very high from my experience over the past two months. there are also many, many routes in and out around Antakya and Reyhanli. i have seen at least 5 personally. i would expect $500-700

be careful in the north. the fighting has been heavy lately and many expect a big clash over the control of border regions.

i have yet to witness any islamic extremism element to the FSA. if you dig through The Guardian UK articles you will find a piece where we found security service defectors who support the claims that the regime is manufacturing the Al Quaeda and Al Nusra line. check it out.

be very aware that the lead is flying in there. everyday, all day. it is extremely dangerous. be aware of the risk your presence creates for all the people around you inside.

by john d | 28 Jun 2012 12:06 | hetay, Turkey | | Report spam→
Thank you all, Andrew, John and Robert. I am intending to travel as closely as a tourist this time with a tourist visa. This time I am only interested in the life of people and how they cope with the situation, only just that this time. I really hope it reduces the risk somehow.These are really good information to help me make a better plan. To Andrew, I would be very appreciate if you can drop any contact of the friend of your friend to me at nm00153@surrey.ac.uk if you dont mind. Thank you all very much.

by Nguyen Anh Mai | 29 Jun 2012 01:06 | United Kingdom, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Get your visa and fly into Damascus. You’ll be able to judge from the atmosphere and from people there whether or not it’s a good idea to travel further afield. There are many interesting stories in the suburbs and many are safe-ish. But you should certainly be careful with whom you make contact with — Syria is not Libya — the regime is still strong in many parts of the country — esp Damascus.

by Stephen Starr | 02 Jul 2012 00:07 | Damascus, Syria | | Report spam→

Get notified when someone replies to this thread:
Feed-icon-10x10 via RSS
Icon_email via email
You can unsubscribe later.

More about sponsorship→


Nguyen Anh Mai, Photo and video grapher Nguyen Anh Mai
Photo and video grapher
Hanoi , Vietnam
Humphrey Cheung, Freelance videographer Humphrey Cheung
Freelance videographer
(Body armor does a body good)
Los Angeles , United States
john d, retired hooligan john d
retired hooligan
(whats a tagline?)
Istanbul , Turkey
Andrew Chittock, Photographer Andrew Chittock
(War Photographer)
Aberaeron , United Kingdom
Stephen Starr, Journalist Stephen Starr
Toronto , Canada


Top↑ | RSS/XML | Privacy Statement | Terms of Use | support@lightstalkers.org / ©2004-2015 November Eleven