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The United Nations has withdrawn some of its staff from Syria.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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid