Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


Focus

My daily commute - into war-torn Syria

With part of the Syrian-Turkish border firmly under rebel control, Monitor reporter Tom Peter was able to travel into Syria daily to report, returning to Turkey each night to file stories. 

By Correspondent / September 11, 2012



Kilis, Turkey

(Tom Peter's dispatches from Syria are available here.)

Skip to next paragraph

As I planned my reporting trip into Syria, I prepared for rough living. Among other survival gear, I packed energy bars in case there wasn't enough food and iodine tablets in case there wasn't clean water. Arriving at the Turkish border with Syria, though, I realized I was going into a very different war: a commuter war.

Syria's opposition fighters have captured the border crossing near Kilis, Turkey, and control several roads into Aleppo, the center of fighting. With Aleppo just a two-hour drive from Kilis, many journalists have opted to drive into Syria each morning and return to Turkey to write stories and sleep. Not only is it safer, but electricity and Internet access are a sure thing.

The commute made my job of writing and filing stories easier, but it also made for a surreal reporting experience. In one afternoon, I might find myself taking cover as windows blew out around me in a bombing. By that evening, I'd be back in Kilis getting my hair cut in a barbershop where a miscommunication led to an accidental mud facial mask.

I've always thought the hardest part of conflict journalism is the anxiety you feel before and after an assignment. When you're navigating a war, you're too busy to think about the what-ifs. Commuting in and out every day creates one of the strangest cycles of stress and decompression I've ever experienced.

Permissions

  • Weekly review of global news and ideas
  • Balanced, insightful and trustworthy
  • Subscribe in print or digital

Special Offer

 

Doing Good

 

What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Endeavor Global, cofounded by Linda Rottenberg (here at the nonprofit’s headquarters in New York), helps entrepreneurs in emerging markets.

Linda Rottenberg helps people pursue dreams – and create thousands of jobs

She's chief executive of Endeavor Global, a nonprofit group that gives a leg up to budding entrepreneurs.

 
 
Become a fan! Follow us! Google+ YouTube See our feeds!