We were lucky enough to travel through Syria in 2010 before the war.
We flew into Damascus from Istanbul arriving at customs before the staff had arrived and quietly sat waiting until they turned up. A short taxi ride into Damascus and within an hour we were strolling the ancient part of the city, feeling very at home. Over the next 3 weeks we traveled on to Palmyra, Homs, Hama, Krack de Chevalier, Idlib then on to Aleppo. At the time it was the calmest most laid back and beautiful country, I had visited… so sad to see what happened within months of our return
They were discontented always with what government they had; such being their intellectual pride; but few of them honestly, thought out a working alternative, and fewer still agreed upon one.T.E. Lawrence
Syria, ripe for spasmodic local revolt, might be seethed up into insurrection, if a new factor, offering to realize that centripetal nationalism of the Beyrout Cyclopaedists, arose to restrain, the jarring sects and classes. Novel, the factor must be, to avoid raising a jealousy of itself: not foreign, since the conceit of Syria forbade. T.E Lawrence