Syria

Risk Level: One - Do Not Fly

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Syria is an active Conflict Zone. A civil war is ongoing since 2011. There is a high risk to civil aircraft. Syrian airspace (OSTT/Damascus FIR) should be avoided entirely. Airspace adjoining the Damascus FIR is also at risk: Cyprus, Turkey, Israel. Total flight ban for US aircraft, and several other countries advise operators to avoid the airspace of Syria.

The primary risk is a misident by Syrian air defense systems. Civil aircraft may be targeted in error, or caught in crossfire during ongoing air attacks involving Israel, Russia, Iran. Missiles may erroneously lock on to civil aircraft. Israeli airstrikes on Syria are regular, and do not show any regard for civil traffic. There is a clear risk to civil aircraft operating on airways UL620, UW74, UR18, and UP62. In simple terms, if you find yourself planned overwater east of Cyprus, reconsider your route.

Major events:
Feb 2020: An A320 enroute OSDI/Damascus caught in crossfire during attack by 4 Israeli F-16’s, forced to divert to Russian controlled air base.
Sep 2018: Russian IL-20 shot down in error on FIR boundary with Cyprus (Nicosia FIR) - airline flights on UL620 within 50nm of this position.

Read: OpsGroup Note -Syria, Sep 2018 (PDF)

Current warnings list :

Source Reference Issued Valid to
USA FAA Information Note Syria/Israel 23 Apr 2021 Ongoing
France AIC 07/21 09 Apr 2021 Ongoing
USA SFAR 114 27 Nov 2020 23 Dec 2020
Canada AIC 26/21 09 Feb 2020 Ongoing
UK UK AIP ENR 1.1 (1.4.5) 22 Oct 2018 Ongoing
USA Notam KICZ A0009/18 14 Apr 2018 Ongoing
Germany AIC 14/21 15 Oct 2015 Ongoing
UK UK AIP ENR 1.1 (1.4.5) 12 Jun 2015 Ongoing
Source: USA
Issued: 23-Apr-21, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: An errant surface-to-air missile fired by Syrian air defences missed its target and landed in Israel on 22 Apr 2021. Syria is actively using long range anti-aircraft weaponry which poses a risk to civil aircraft in the region. While US operators are banned from the OSTT/Damascus FIR, the FAA warns the threat is extended to adjacent FIRs in the Eastern Mediterranean region including the LLLL/Tel Aviv, OJAC/Amman, OLBB/Beirut and LCCC/Nicosia FIRs. Use caution if operating in the area. 
Title: FAA Information Note - Syria/Israel - Errant surface to air missile impacts near Israeli critical infrastructure.

Click the link for full text.
Source: France
Reference: AIC 07/21
Issued: 09-Apr-21, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Operators should avoid Syrian airspace.
From 09/04/2020 and until further notice, pilots in command of aircraft performing air services mentioned in paragraph 1.1 are requested not to penetrate into the airspace of Syria (OSTT FIR (DAMASCUS)).
Source: USA
Reference: SFAR 114
Issued: 27-Nov-20, valid until: 23 Dec 2020
Plain English: US operators are prohibited from entering the OSTT/Damascus FIR.
The situation in the Damascus FIR (OSTT) continues to present an unacceptable level of risk for U.S. civil aviation safety. The conflict in Syria between pro-Assad regime forces, third country military forces, as well as opposition groups, and extremist elements, is extremely complex.

The presence of third parties conducting independent military operations in Syria against pro-Assad regime forces, opposition groups, and extremist elements, exacerbates the situation. Third-party airstrikes in Syria often result in Syrian military air defense responses. Syrian authorities do not adequately de-conflict these air defense activities, which include indiscriminate surface-to-air missile (SAM) fire, with civil aviation operations in the Damascus FIR (OSTT), including, but not limited to, civil flight operations in close proximity to international airports in Syria. For example, in late February 2020, Syrian air defense activities forced a commercial Cham Wings Airbus 320 passenger flight on final approach to Damascus International Airport to divert to an alternate airfield in Syria.

The lack of de-confliction of Syrian air defense activity with civil air traffic is just one of the risks to U.S. civil aviation operations in the Damascus FIR (OSTT) emanating from third-party involvement in Syria. Russia, Iran, and the Lebanese terrorist organization, Hizballah, all of which are Syrian regime allies, continue to conduct military operations in Syria and have deployed significant air defense and electronic warfare capabilities, including Global Positioning System Start Printed Page 75842(GPS) jammers, which present a risk to U.S. civil aviation operations in the Damascus FIR (OSTT). In March 2020, Russian, Turkish and Syrian forces clashed in Idlib Province. During these clashes, fighter aircraft and possible SAMs shot down several manned and unmanned aircraft.

In addition to the hazards associated with third-party involvement in the Syrian conflict, extremist threats to civil aviation safety continue to exist in Syria. Terrorist groups, including the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) and al Qaida-aligned entities possess, or have access to, a wide array of anti-aircraft weapons that pose a risk to civil aviation operations in the Damascus FIR (OSTT). Anti-regime forces, extremists, and militants have successfully shot down multiple military aircraft using man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) during the Syrian conflict. Additionally, various elements have successfully targeted military aircraft using advanced anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs). ATGMs primarily pose a risk to civil aircraft operating near, or parked at, an airport. Finally, various groups employ unmanned aircraft systems to surveil and attack Syrian and Syrian-allied fielded forces and airfields.

As a result of the ongoing military activities by multiple actors and the lack of progress towards ending the conflict, the FAA expects significant hazards to the safety of U.S. civil aviation in the Damascus FIR (OSTT) will endure. Therefore, as a result of the significant, continuing risk to the safety of U.S. civil aviation in the Damascus FIR (OSTT), the FAA extends the expiration date of SFAR No. 114, § 91.1609, from December 30, 2020, to December 30, 2023.
Source: Canada
Reference: AIC 26/21
Issued: 09-Feb-20, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Operators should not enter the airspace of Syria, and there is a potential risk to aircraft within 200nm of the Damascus FIR.
Level 2 (Recommendation)
As of February 9, 2020, and until further notice, Canadian Air Operators and owners of aircraft registered in Canada are advised not to enter the airspace of Syria (Damascus FIR (OSTT)), and to exercise caution when operating in the airspace within 200 NM of the Damascus FIR (OSTT), due to the potential risk from heightened military activity and dedicated anti-aviation weaponry in or around Syria.
Source: UK
Issued: 22-Oct-18, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Potential risk to aircraft within 200nm of the Damascus FIR.
Hazardous Situation in the Vicinity of Damascus FIR

Potential risk to aviation operating up to 200 NM outside the Damascus FIR from anti-aircraft weaponry.

Operators are advised to exercise caution and conduct their own risk assessments.
Source: USA
Issued: 14-Apr-18, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Exercise caution within 200nm of the Damascus FIR due to military activity. Possibility of GPS Interference, Communication jamming, and long-range surface to air missiles in the area.
KICZ A0009/18
SECURITY..UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ADVISORY FOR AIRSPACE IMMEDIATELY ADJACENT TO DAMASCUS FLIGHT INFORMATION REGION (OSTT FIR).

THOSE PERSONS DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH A BELOW ARE ADVISED TO EXERCISE CAUTION WHEN OPERATING IN THE AIRSPACE WITHIN 200 NAUTICAL MILES OFTHE DAMASCUS FLIGHT INFORMATION REGION (OSTT FIR) DUE TO HEIGHTENED MILITARY ACTIVITY IN OR AROUND SYRIA. THIS MILITARY ACTIVITY MIGHT INCLUDE GPS INTERFERENCE, COMMUNICATIONS JAMMING, AND POSSIBLE ERRANT LONG-RANGE SURFACE-TO-AIR MISSILES ORIGINATING FROM SYRIAN TERRITORY, WITHIN THE OSTT FIR, AND STRAYING INTO ADJACENT AIRSPACE,THAT COULD POSE AN INADVERTENT RISK TO U.S. CIVIL AVIATION OPERATING IN THIS REGION. TITLE 14, CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS, SECTION 91.1609, SPECIAL FEDERAL AVIATION REGULATION NO. 114 PROHIBITION AGAINST CERTAIN FLIGHTS IN THE DAMASCUS FIR REMAINS IN EFFECT.

A. APPLICABILITY. THIS NOTAM APPLIES TO: ALL U.S. AIR CARRIERS AND COMMERCIAL OPERATORS; ALL PERSONS EXERCISING THE PRIVILEGES OF AN AIRMAN CERTIFICATE ISSUED BY THE FAA, EXCEPT SUCH PERSONS OPERATING U.S.-REGISTERED AIRCRAFT FOR A FOREIGN AIR CARRIER; AND ALL OPERATORS OF AIRCRAFT REGISTERED IN THE UNITED STATES, EXCEPT WHERE THE OPERATOR OF SUCH AIRCRAFT IS A FOREIGN AIR CARRIER.

B. PLANNING. THOSE PERSONS DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH A PLANNING TO OPERATE WITHIN 200 NAUTICAL MILES OF THE OSTT FIR SHOULD EXERCISE CAUTION AND MUST REVIEW CURRENT SECURITY/THREAT INFORMATION AND NOTAMS AND COMPLY WITH ALL APPLICABLE FAA REGULATIONS, OPERATIONS SPECIFICATIONS, MANAGEMENT SPECIFICATIONS, AND LETTERS OF AUTHORIZATION, INCLUDING UPDATING B450.

C. OPERATIONS. EXERCISE CAUTION DURING FLIGHT OPERATIONS IN THE ABOVE NAMED AREA DUE TO HEIGHTENED MILITARY ACTIVITY IN OR AROUND SYRIA AND THE POTENTIAL RISK TO U.S. CIVIL AVIATION IN THE REGION.THOSE PERSONS DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH A MUST REPORT ANY SAFETY/SECURITY INCIDENTS TO THE FAA AT ASH-AXE-CITE-WATCH@FAA.GOVOR +1 202-267-3333 OR 1-844-412-1794.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION IS PROVIDED AT: https://www.faa.gov/AIR_TRAFFIC/PUBLICATIONS/US_RESTRICTIONS/

SFC - UNL, 14 APR 00:16 2018 UNTIL PERM.
Source: Germany
Reference: AIC 14/21
Issued: 15-Oct-15, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Do not enter Syrian airspace.
Level 3 (Highest risk). Hazardous Situation in Syria. Civil German air operators are prohibited to plan and conduct flights within FIR DAMASCUS (OSTT). Potential risk to aviation from state of war. Further information: Website of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure of Germany (www.bmvi.de/krisenmanagement)
Source: UK
Issued: 12-Jun-15, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: UK operators must avoid the airspace of Syria.
Hazardous Situation in Syria

Potential risk to aviation overflying from dedicated anti-aircraft weaponry.

In accordance with direction under the Aviation Security Act 1982, UK registered operators so served shall not enter the territory and airspace (including Damascus FIR) of the Syrian Arab Republic.

UK operators not currently subject to direction under the Aviation Security Act should contact UK Department for Transport before operating in this area.