So we are in Syria now. A word on crossing the border.
It is clearly possible to cross without a visa. But to do this you have to wait a very long time. If there is more than one of you the time expends on. We arrived at the border at 10:25 Am. We left at 10:30 PM. That was not fun.
Apparently they fax a copy of a form and our passports over to damascus where they then make sure you dont work for the US government. The very kind guards at the border, who fed us and got us a space heater, initially said it would take 3 or 4 hours. But then informed us that it really just takes as long as the guy at the other side feels like, because he doesnt really want to do this for us, and so we just had to wait it out. In retrospect it wasnt so bad... and thus far Damascus is really awesome.