A minibus is the morning service to Aleppo for about eight of us.
Rusty barbed wire and shiny new razor wire appear as we get closer to the border. Forty Turkish lorries are queueing to get through customs checks.
We get through the Turkish side fine, then I start to worry about the Syrian side. I have my visa pasted firmly into my passport, stamped and signed. The sticking point is it’s a tourist visa and was tricky to get because they wanted to give me a journalist one. It has occupation written on it so I hope it works.
The Syrian immigration hall runs on a helpful triage system of ‘Syrian’, ‘Arab’ and ‘Foreign’. I make my best guess and choose ‘Foreign’.
Three military, one with pips, look at my passport for ages. They type something into the computer, then they call over someone else.
He picks up the computer keyboard and shakes out the dirt before fiddling with the one key that won’t depress properly.
They get a colleague to stamp my passport and I’m through, back onto the minibus and heading through the dust to Aleppo.