Turns out that Wikitravel is useful for more than just travel (although it’s an excellent resource for that too). Taken out of the first-ever article on Syria from 2005, here’s a really spooky sentence: “Syria is a safe country for travellers.”
Now let’s watch as the page gets updated over the next few years:
August 2010: “Syria is generally safe for travelers, partly because crime is considered shameful and is heavily punished…”
March 2011: “As of January 2011, Syria has experienced several anti-government protests which have recently intensified. If you are already in Syria, stay away from large public gatherings and try to gain independent information about the political and civil situation…”
September 2011: “Travel to Syria is not recommended at this time due to a state of severe political crisis…”
December 2012: Travel to Syria is strongly not advised due to the state of severe political crisis, which has now escalated into, essentially, a civil war…
September 2014: Travel to Syria is VERY STRONGLY DISCOURAGED due to an ONGOING CIVIL WAR. Since 2011, unrest within the country has continued to intensify and thousands of people have been injured or killed. (…) It is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS to be a foreigner in Syria…
Also interesting is watching two Vice documentaries on the country - one from a year ago, and one from today - to see how things have changed so quickly. I watched this series one year ago from my bunk bed at a hostel in Sarajevo and I was shocked. Being in a city that was visibly still recovering from being beseiged for four years, I felt very affected by the war. I was considering going to the border of Turkey and Syria to volunteer and help the Syrian refugees. A year ago it would have been hard to imagine that things could have gotten any worse. But they did. And apparently they still are.