15 July 2015
Here at Silk Road Tours, we have been building private and tailor-made tours of the Silk Road and the Middle East for many years. And with the recent political struggles, it’s our deep regret to report on the current state of the beautiful and remarkable ancient city of Palmyra in Syria.
The ancient Semitic ruins of Palmyra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which dates all the way back to Neolithic times and thrived as a rich metropolis in the 3rd Century AD. Home to some of the world’s most incredible archaeological ruins – including the Temple of Bel, Palmyra Theatre, Diocletian’s Camp and Fakhr-al-Din al-Maani Castle, Palmyra is one of the most significant historic sites on earth; it’s the cradle of modern civilisation.
Regrettably, with the recent actions of terrorist group ISIS, the FCO has advised against all travel to Syria. The current political unrest and acts of terrorism truly fill us with sadness and we hope that all of our customers can understand the decision to cancel all travel. If you’re interested in travelling to Syria at a future date, please read on for further information.
ISIS Threat on Palmyra
Back in May, we already saw the takeover of the Palmyra Amphitheatre, as ISIS shoulders killed Syrian troops on video on the grounds of the ancient site. Just as the media reported that ISIS had pulled out of Palmyra, still imagery was later released on 3rd July showing ISIS members torturing a man with a whip and forcing him to destroy the ancient Lion of al-Lat statue. As he took to the ruins with a sledgehammer under intimidation of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, images were shared to the rest of the world.
There are parts of Palmyra that are as old as 4,000 years and experts now fear that the rest of the ancient city may be under threat for further attacks.
The Effects on Tourism
ISIS is currently the primary target for the Global War on Terrorism, and although the loss of great artefacts and history could be damaging to Syria’s future, there is nothing more devastating than the loss of lives during this difficult time in the Middle East. Reports tell us that more than 500 people have been kidnapped in recent weeks, many of which are young children captured for the purpose of brainwashing. There are daily attacks across regions of the country including at airports, border crossings, on public transport, hospitals and busy civilian places. We are taking FCO advice and will not be offering any trips to Syria at present.
We can only hope and pray for a better future. We hope to commence trips to Syria once the ISIS problems have been resolved – but unfortunately, we are not able to estimate when this might be. If you are interested in travelling to Syria or the Palmyra site, pleased feel free to get in touch with our team and we will get in touch as soon as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office deems it fit for tourism (call us on +44 (0) 208 728 2478).
In the meantime, please take a look at our other available destinations in Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Middle East.
For more advice on Syria travel, please visit the official Gov.uk travel page.