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Near Damascus, watch out for missiles, shelling and speeding tickets

In a visit to Damascus, Al-Monitor spoke with Syrian officials about the latest developments happening in Syria.
A bus drives past concrete blocks painted with the Syrian flag near the Central Bank of Syria in Damascus, Syria May 31, 2016. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki - RTX2EZEA
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For the first time since the Syrian military intervention in Lebanon in 1976, a civilian at the Syrian Jdeidet Yabous border crossing can note the presence of Lebanese politicians going to Damascus. For 40 years, Syrian authorities designated a special line at the crossing for prominent Lebanese figures who are friends of the regime. This was known as the “military line.”

Over all those years, those lucky ones, such as ministers, parliamentarians, politicians, party leaders and figures close to Syrian officials, were given recommendation cards to use this special line and avoid the hassle of standing at Syrian General Security centers or waiting for entry and exit papers. This was the case right up through late May.

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