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Damascus (Arabic: دمشق ; Dimashq, also commonly known as الشام ash-Shām) is the capital of Syria and its largest city.
You can get a free and useful map of Damascus at the tourist office. It's located near the Yussof Al'Azmeh Place, just walk there northwards for some 200 meters and you'll find the office on the left side.
North towards Aleppo
There are several options to hitchhike north towards Homs and Aleppo. A good spot to find the road northwards is from Martyr's Square (Ash Shuhada / Marjeh). There walk eastwards to the Al Thawra Street. You'll recognize the big bridge there. Follow the street to the left (northwards) for around 500 meters until you reach the crossing with Baghdad Street. Walk further northwards for around 500 meters until you reach the pedestrian bridge and a minibus station. Walk under the bridge and you'll recognize the ramp to the highway going right (eastwards). Start your hitchhiking here with one of the many pickups towards Homs. Many signs will show you the way. Have fun waving down the taxi's and minibusses. :)
If going towards Maaloula or Seydnaya, or towards the highway direction Aleppo, you can also catch a minibus (7 SYP, August 2008) to Barzeh, and get out at the last station there. There are some shops and a very small market at it's end, and it's just before the mountains begin and the city ends. See the image, it shows this spot. From there, it's very easy to catch a ride north towards the villages in the mountains, even the road towards Beirut shows up 2–3 km later.
Walk due south from the train station on Nasr street in the New City, near the Marjeh district. You will reach a wide road with signs showing the direction Jordan/Daraa. Continue walking straight a few kilometers until you reach the spot pictured here.
Another option is to take a minibus down to Al Kiswah, for 100 Syrian pounds (or less). If you simply mention "Al Kiswah" in the city people will make sure you get there. Make sure to get out of the minibus when it takes the exit from the highway South.