Yes the check-in process is slow. I have never seen anyone read documents as thoroughly as the Syrians do. There are several stages of scrutiny that one must pass before gaining entry to the pax area. But Syrians are friendly and generous people. Duty free is dirt cheap and in Syria it is available to domestic flights. Damascus features some of the best people watching that I have experienced anywhere. There are very few flights going to Europe and virtually none going to North America. Most flights are going to the Middle East or Africa. The array of gowns headgear and you-name-it clothing was charming and fascinating.