- Not to be confused with the Israeli-controlled part of the Golan Heights.
|WARNING: Because of the ongoing civil war, many governments recommend against all travel to Syria. See the Syria article for more information.|
|(Information last updated 01 Sep 2020)|
The Syrian-controlled part of the Golan Heights is in Hauran in Syria.
The de facto Israel-Syria border runs through the Golan Heights along an area known as the Purple Line. This line was patrolled by a United Nations peacekeeping force until 2015, but the peacekeepers were attacked by the Syrian opposition and all of them have been withdrawn from Syria, removing a stabilizing element from the border. No one is allowed to cross the border without special permission, and the border crossing is under the control of Israel and the Al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front.
Travel from Israel is difficult. Travel from Syria would be the logical entry point, if the situation in Syria were not so volatile.
Stay on the main paths only. The area is heavily landmined.
- 1 Quneitra (Al Qunaitra). Quneitra was the capital of the Golan Heights (Quneitra governorate) until 1967. Now it is a ghost town, abandoned by the Syrians during the 1967 war and left in the no-man's-land ever since. It was thoroughly wrecked in both the 1967 and 1973 wars. Afterward the town was kept in its ruined state as monument to the war (or as propaganda depending on your perspective). It used to be possible to visit with permission from the Ministry of Interior in Damascus (open 08:00-14:00, Su-Th, authorisation required your passport and took around 30 min). But as of 2017, it is in a zone controlled by rebels, and like the rest of Syria, is off-limits to ordinary visitors.
A large part of the Golan Heights area is either heavily mined, or is suspected as being mined - this is because old mines may drift during heavy rains, which are frequent in winter. You should never walk or drive in open fields, off main roads or dirt roads (unless there are very clear signs which indicate that this area is safe, such as trail signs). While most mine fields are designated by warning signs (as the one shown in the picture), do not go into off-road barb-wired fields, even if they are not marked with signs (in short, never cross any fence unless there are clear signs and/or suitable gateways in the fence). Never touch unidentified metal or plastic debris in the open even if it looks harmless.
In safer times, Damascus would've been the logical next stop. Travel to Israel was and is far more difficult.