Highlight, don't worry about traveling to Syria, Iran or most other places for that matter as the locals are very hospitable to basically everyone. When I used to travel on an American passport I never had any trouble although from time to time i'd get ask some pretty prickly questions but I said what I think (politely of course) and and everyone was cool with it.
As an example, I used to occasionally go to Iraq on business before the Americans invaded it and no matter where I went or who I talked to (including Ba'athist party officials) everyone was polite and friendly. This was at a time when the embargo was essentially starving the country and bombing raids took place weekly so that says a lot.
Anyway, it's interesting that in the bigger cities people are less concerned with custom but a big easier going around Occidentals. In the more rural areas customs are bigger thing and everyone is a bit more standoffish at first but if you are polite and hang around a bit the hospitality shines through.
You can bring tobacco back with you but cumstoms in each country sets limits on the amount. I take it out of the packing and burry it in my clothes and if anyone asks I say it's herbs and spices. So far never had an issue but then I never bring back that much. I usually go to a post office and send some back home that way but when I do I have to pay shocking tarriffs so it's pretty expensive.
On my last travels I ran into the "moassel nazi" and that was pretty funny. You can read about him here - http://www.hookahpro.com/forum/showt...highlight=nazi
Another funny thing that happened was smoking with a bunch of Spetsnaz bad ass types but that will be another post.