We (a young couple from The Netherlands) were also doubting about crossing Syria. Yesterdag (Friday 28 October 2011) we crossed the border in Kilis and this morning we crossed the Jordan border. It took us 2 normal days and the most important thing: No problem at all!!. Due to the fact that we are travelling with 2 motorbikes, we didn't have so much space to hide our camera's, Garmin etc. When we entered Syria, they didn't even ask for it. Besides the customs were really very friendly and willing to help!
Also during the trip in Syria (highway to Damscus) no problems at all! Although it was friday (problem day?) we had no problems at all. Although there were different checkpoints, we only had to stop for one. Just before Damascus.
Also at the border with Jordan, the Syrian customs were friendly. Finally the asked if we had a camera. Guess what we said.... ;-). We had to pay for stamping the carnet and for an exit stamp but oke...
So, we are glad we made it and we did it this way. Before we were doubting about a (RORO) ferry to.... (which one), flying, sending our stuff (camera, navi, laptop) to an friend in Cairo. All very expensive and due to the fact that we are going to South Africa we did not want to have an Israelien stamp in our pasport/ carnet. We are also glad we did it just together. Big groups are maybe to much overwelming...?