What did she mean by "Syria and her particular type of religiosity?" Is/Was Syria more influenced by the Far East (India, e.g.) than other regions of Christianity? And what type of influence occurred?
A while back I read A History of the Monks of Syria, by Theodoret. I seem to recall that their form of asceticism was much more extreme than that of the monks in Egypt. It's been a while, but I recall that some of them would wear heavy chains, etc. Of course, the most famous of the monks about whom he wrote was St. Symeon, who stood on a pillar for decades. The asceticism which Theodoret described was just really extreme.
Maybe that's what Mother Maria meant? Is that sort of asceticism known in other eastern religions?
Yes, such asceticism is known in Indic religions, and it is also criticized in Indic religions. The Buddha, for instance, criticized extreme asceticism (though he allowed a form of it for those Buddhist monks who really, really were good at it).
I hadn't thought of the stylites as an example of Syriac asceticism, but you may have a point. As far as I know, the particular practice of standing on a pillar is not part of the Indic traditions.