After many months of waiting, the Los Angeles Times was able to secure visa approval into Syria for reporter Alexandra Zavis. She was only allowed in for ten days; could not bring in any satellite equipment or laptops; and was accompanied everywhere by minders.
“Many people were afraid to be seen talking to us in case they would be questioned later. Conversations in shops and restaurants were often short and furtive. Meetings with opposition activists turned into cloak-and-dagger affairs. We would start out in one taxi, switch to another. An intermediary would meet us at a busy traffic circle. No eye contact would be made. We would then follow the person down winding alleys, keeping several paces behind so that it would not look like we were together.”
When venturing away from Damascus, Zavis says she wore a helmet, bullet-proof vest and comfortable shoes in case she had to make a run for it. To read the complete Q&A, click here.