When the Syrians don't want you, it's time to cut your losses
'Yeah, I was offered a trip to Aleppo for Paddy's Day. Sounds great, but the wife wasn't keen. Doesn't look like I'll be able to make it."
So said a colleague a few weeks ago, and from that passing aside I found myself holed up in a Shia hotel in a religious part of Beirut for much of last week, awaiting the coveted visa which would get me into Syria.
It wasn't meant to go down like that. In fact, we'd been promised the visas had already been sorted - to the point where I was expecting to meet some senior Syrian Ministers to discuss the worst humanitarian crisis on the face of the planet.