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My Sister, Nicole Vienneau, Has Gone Missing in Syria - The Beginning Of My Ascendance — LiveJournal
April 22nd, 2007
10:59 am


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My Sister, Nicole Vienneau, Has Gone Missing in Syria

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[User Picture]
Date:May 1st, 2007 05:35 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure how or if I can help you, but I'm an American who has been living in Syria for the past year and four months working on a travel guide to the country, so I know the place fairly well and am familiar with people working at budget/backpacker hotels throughout the country.

First of all, if you want someone here to contact directly, you call my mobile anytime at +963 98-8453830. My name is Daniel.

It is highly unusual for any foreigner to 'disappear' in Syria, so I want to suggest a few possibilities.

One of the most popular backpacker stops in Syria nowadays is a monastery called Deir Mar Musa. It is fairly isolated out in the mountains east of a village called al-Nabk. They have a telephone (which I'll try to get the number of), but no internet access. Many people visit this monastery intending just to stay a night, and end up staying for weeks or even months.

Syrian authorities keep records of all hotel registries - so, while dealing with their bureaucracy will liking be incredibly time consuming, they will have records of exactly where she stayed and when. Of course they'll also have records of arrivals and departures, and I don't think it would be too difficult for the Canadian embassy to contact authorities and determine whether she is in the country or not. Keep in mind that, even if she only had a one month visa, they are easily extended for months longer. And many travelers end up spending far more time in Syria than they initially plan.

Popular budget/backpacker hotels are:

Damascus - al-Haramain, al-Rabie, Ghazal, al-Saadeh
Hama - Cairo Hotel, Riad Hotel
Aleppo - Spring Flower Hostel, Tourist Hotel, al-Ghawaher
Lattakia - Lattakia Hotel, Safwan Hotel
Tartus - Daniel Hotel

One of the staff at all of these hotels should be able to speak English if contacted by telephone. I have friends working at a few of these hotels and will contact them myself if you'd like. I speak a little Arabic, and obviously have access to many people to translate if need be.

I don't think her being seriously injured or killed in a car or bus accident is likely, because the Syrian government would likely notify Canada's embassy pretty quickly if that happened. The Syrian government generally looks over foreigners quite diligently.

Your sister actually does look familiar, but I run into so many other travelers recently (it has been very busy these last 2 months), I can't say I've seen her for sure.

Either way, I hope I can help. My e-mail address is in my profile.
[User Picture]
Date:May 1st, 2007 06:27 pm (UTC)
P.S. I've added you on MSN - ourlivesareparallel@hotmail.com
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