Syria
1982 -  2006
A representative collection of our tour of duty in Syria and other visits
Damascus and Environs

Probably the most recognizable spot in Damascus - the Umayyad mosque

Satellite image of Syria
 


Satellite image of Damascus
 


Umayyad mosque interior
 


 
Umayyad mosque interior
Tomb of St John the Baptist


Main entrance to the Umayyad mosque
 
 
 


An entrance to the Umayyad mosque courtyard
 
 


Umayyad mosque  - Al-Khaznah (treasury)
 


Umayyad mosque interior
Tomb of St John the Baptist


Damascus Citadel at night

Entrance to the tomb of Saladin (Salah Ad-Din Al-Ayubi) 

Tomb of Saladin (right)

 



Al-Azam Palace

 


Rugs hanging from balconies to air out


Ottoman buildings


The Al-Azam Palace Courtyard


Ananias Chapel
Spot where Saul/Paul was healed
Just off the "Street Called Straight" (Madhat Bashah)


Ottoman buildings


Entrance to the Hamidiyah suq


"Brother driver -refrain from using the horn
from 1700 until 0700 - under penalty of arrest"


Olives for sale on the "Street Called Straight"


Abu Rumanah section - near U.S. Embassy

 


Advertising 
Doctors, a pharmacy and a beauty salon

 


Belly dancer


Historic Kanawat train station - part of the famed Hijaz Railway of the early 20th Century
One of the prettiest buildings in Damascus

Al-Kiswah train station
Note Hijaz railway station still in use

Hijaz railway
Abandoned Al-Khabab station 
Sitt Zaynab

Tomb of Zaynab - a Shi'a holy site just south of Damascus


Zaynab was the granddaughter of Muhammad, the daughter of Imam ĎAli (first imam and fourth caliph) and sister of Imam Husayn


Dome of the mosque

 
 

Aleppo - Northern Syria

The Crusader Citadel in Aleppo (Halab)


 
 
Mosque in Aleppo

 
Christian Church in Aleppo


Suq in Aleppo


 
 


 
 


 
  
 
 


Maronite Christian Cathedral in Aleppo


Pistachio and nut suq in Aleppo

Hamah - Homs - Coast

Water wheels (Nawriyah) of Hamah


Homs (Hims) - Khalid Ibn Al-Walid mosque

 
Qadesh, west of Homs
Site of the Battle of Qadesh, 1274BC between the Egyptians and Hittites


Mosque in Al-Qurdhahah 
Home of the Al-Asad Family



Homs - Christian church


Tartus
Mediterranean coast


St Paul's Church - Tartus



Christian Sites


Crac de Chevaliers / Qala't Al-Husn
Crusader castle west of Homs - the finest example in existence


Crac de Chevaliers


Crac de Chevaliers
 
 


Baniyas - view from Marqab Castle


Marqab Castle
 


Masyaf Castle


San Simeon
 


San Simeon


Rasafa
 


Ma'lulah


Crac de Chevaliers
 
 
 


Crac de Chevaliers
 
 
 
 
 


Marqab Castle
 


Masyaf Castle
 


Masyaf Castle
 


Safita Tower


San Simeon
 
 
 
 
 
 


Ma'lulah
 
 


Ma'lulah


Convent at Saydnaya

Convent at Saydnaya
 

Convent at Saydnaya


Convent at Saydnaya


Convent at Saydnaya



The Road to Damascus
About 10 miles southwest of Syria on Route 7 (the road to al-Qunaytirah, the Golan Heigts and the Sea of Galilee is small town called 'Artuz.
Just east of 'Artuz there is a small chapel commemorating the spot when Paul underwent his conversion "on the road to Damascus."

I am posting a satellite image as there was a Syrian military facility (still visible) - photography was not permitted.

Roman Syria - Palmyra (Tadmur)

 

 

 


 


 

 Roman Syria - Apamea (Afamiyah)


 

 

Roman Syria - Busrah Ash-Sham

 

 


 
 

 


 


 

Golan Heights


Israeli reconnaissance flight over the Biqa Valley
Seen from Al-Qunaytirah, Golan Heights

 
Israeli electronic intelligence site - Har Avital, Golan Heights
 


Destroyed hospital - Al-Qunaytirah


Graffiti
"I am a son of Al-Qunaytirah"
 


Graffiti drawing of church - Al-Qunaytirah


UN Checkpoint - Al-Qunaytirah


Checkpoint on Syrian side of UN zone - Al-Qunaytirah


Golan Heights from Al-Qunaytirah

  
Satellite imagery of Israeli electronic intelligence site (left) 


Destroyed hospital interior - Al-Qunaytirah


Destroyed church - Al-Qunaytirah 


Destroyed church interior


Produce of Israel?

When last in Tel Aviv (as a guest of the Israelis), I had dinner at a restaurant with a senior Israeli army officer. The waitress asked if I would like to try some Israeli wine. Sure, why not?

I had been in Israel numerous times over the last three decades, and when I had tasted "Israeli" wine, it always turned out to be "from the Holy Land." That's Israeli political-speak for the West Bank - in other words, occupied Jordan or Palestine, depending on when I was there or what your opinion is, but certainly not Israel.

As you can see from the label, this wine is from the Golan Heights, specifically Mount Hermon, or as the Arabs call it, Jabal ash-Shaykh. I asked the waitress if she in fact meant Syrian wine. She shrugged and backed away with the "I'm not going there..." look..


Checkpoint on Israeli side of UN zone - Al-Qunaytirah


No caption necessary

Miscellaneous

 


Train station (1895) in az-Zabadani


Tomb of Abel, az-Zabadani

 


The Syrian Bride?
Emily dressed in Arab garb


Damascus taxi


Syrian ambulance
 


Syrian bedouin


Syrian bedouin

 


Southern Syria

 


Southern Syria


Az-Zabadani - a resort area near the Lebanese border


Tomb of Abel, az-Zabadani


A shurbaji - a drink dispenser


Dancing with Syrian friend Sana


Two women


Syrian bus


Syrian bedouin goat hair tents


Basalt terrain - southern Syria


Syrian postage stamps


Ahmad - our favorite merchant and rug dealer - most of our rugs came from his shop on "A Street Called Straight"


A local butcher slaughtering lambs for an feast

 

Work


My journey to Syria - a solo six day drive across the desert - 1800 miles


The Defense Attache Office - Damascus 1994


Rick (right) and his Russian counterpart (left)


Presentation to Rick by Sergei
The banner reads: Armed Forces of Russia
The inscription reads: To Rick Francona for the collaborative work in Damascus, from your Russian colleagues, December 1994


Rick's Syrian driver's license


Rick's membership in the Damascus Shooting Club


Lapel pin - starts a conversation


Air Force One in Damascus
I am with the Syrian Air service manager


From a USAF crew ferrying the Secretary of State


Syrian Air Force IL-76 at Damascus


Syrian Air Force (yeah, I know it looks like Syrian airlines) YAK-40
Interesting flight....


Syrian Air Force VIP Tu-134 at Latakia
I flew from Latakia to Damascus with then-Minister of Foreign Affairs
Faruq Shara' and then-Ambassador to the U.S. Walid Mu'alim


Iranian Air Force 747 delivering supplies to Hizballah via Damascus


Syrian Army ZIL-131
The local attach
e corps joke was that the 131
indicates
the number of Syrian solidiers you could put into one


ZSU-23/4 antiaircraft gun - all over the country

 



Rick's business card in English and Arabic

 

 


Rick's pass for the Air Force One visit
issued by the Republican Guard

 


With Syrian Deputy Minister of Defense


Syrian antisubmarine helicopters at Latakia Airport/Humaymim air base


Syrian Air Force Mi-14 antisubmarine helicopter


Syrian Air Force 29th Brigade
Damascus International Airport (military ramp)


Syrian Air Force 29th Brigade
Damascus International Airport (military ramp)


Syrian Army post - GAZ-66 and ZIL-131 trucks
Arabic numeral test - the truck is 382116


A Syrian air base northeast of Damascus


Closeup of above Syrian air base northeast of Damascus


A Syrian air base south of Damascus - note MiG-21 tails


A Syrian air base east of Aleppo - note three MiG-23's


A Syrian air base in the desert of central Syria


The Presidential Falcon 900 landing at Damascus - 1994


Syrian Air Force IL-76M YK-ATA prior to the conversion to an IL-76T


Syrian Air Force An-26 (CURL) YK-ANC - do not be fooled by the Syrianair colors.
Note the long wire antennas and numerous pods.... I think this is an airborne radio relay birds


Syrian MiG-23ML (Flogger G) #2755 on final approach at a Syrian air base
You have to be careful taking pictures like this in Syria


Islamic Republic of Iran B-747 tanker delivering supplies to Hizballah at Damascus International Airport