News / Middle East

Americans Warned About Travel to Lebanon, Turkey

A general view of the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C. (file photo)
A general view of the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C. (file photo)
VOA News
The United States has issued travel warnings to its citizens for Lebanon and Turkey due to concerns over possible violence in those countries.

The State Department also has authorized its nonessential employees to leave both nations because of potential threats against U.S. facilities.

The U.S. says the steps are being taken out of an abundance of caution. The warnings were issued as the Obama administration and U.S. Congress consider possible military strikes on Syria.

A statement recommends Americans defer travel to the southeastern part of Turkey, which borders Syria. It also says there is an increased possibility of attacks against U.S. citizens in Lebanon, where extremist groups such as Hezbollah operate.  

Non-emergency American personnel and their families were ordered to leave Lebanon's capital, Beirut, and those remaining were advised to limit travel within the country.
A spokeswoman for the State Department, Marie Harf, said the United States would continue to assess the situation and make adjustments to the security status as warranted.

"Our preference is always, of course, to have our folks on the ground and I would know also that the consular services are still happening in Adana and in Beirut, we're just drawing down some personnel. So if we have some additional decisions to make we certainly will and it's an issue that everyone here is very clearly focused on as we go forward. Our security of our people and our facilities in the region is of utmost concern to everyone here," said Harf.

Harf said she was not aware of any specific threats.

The U.S. is considering military action against Syria in retaliation for the Syrian government's suspected use of chemical weapons near Damascus. The Syrian government has threatened retaliatory action for any foreign attack on its territory.

Several other countries have warned their citizens to avoid traveling to Lebanon whose divided communities could take sides in the Syrian conflict.

The United Nations has withdrawn some of its staff from Syria. But its humanitarian agency continues to deliver aid to Syrian refugees. U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said Friday the agency is preparing contingency plans for a possible increased flow of refugees ahead of expected military strikes against Damascus.

You May Like

Bleak China Economic Outlook Rattles Markets

Several key European stock indexes were down up to three percent, while US market indexes were off around 2.5 percent in afternoon trading More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs