The Euphrates Valley

Deir Ez-Zur Travel Blog

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The following day, not particularly enamoured by Aleppo, myself and Jessie headed down the Eyphrates Valley to Deir Ez-Zur, a lovely little town past Lake Al-Assad (reservoir) on the way towards the Iraqi border. There were two main reasons for the trip (other than escaping Aleppo), the second more of which later, but the first was to take in the Euphrates. Its a large river even at this point and despite having much of its water diverted further upstream (mainly for irrigation and drinking) - the pedestrian suspension bridge at Deir is over 400 ft across. We took a stroll across, along with half the locals, and had the obligatory paddle in the shallows for the Kodak (or in my case Canon) moment. Found a reasonable bar for a couple of beers, followed by an early night, which brings me on to the second reason for heading to east Syria.

The Iraq border was only a couple of hours away, so we rose early (5ish) and headed for the bus station. There are several sites of interest on the road heading further east so we used these as our excuse for the journey when asked (we had our passports checked around half a dozen times that morning, in a very friendly manner, usually accompanied by tea). However, once we hit Abu Kamal, 7km from the border, our excuses ran out. We managed to persude a taxi driver to take us the rest of the way, and he took us straight to the police station to get an escort, which was no problem. On arrival at the border we hopped out of the car and had our details taken again, and I whipped out my camera. I got one shot before being told very firmly to put it away! So unfortunately the cigar was not required (bought especially for the occasion), amd we didn't get to see any Yanks or their flag - the demilitarized zone is pretty wide. All in all a fairly disppointing end to the excursion, but I have definately seen Iraq and have some evidence to prove it.

Back in the taxi and then bus to Deir, and then another change of bus to Palmyra!

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Deir Ez-Zur
photo by: Geofan