December 22, 2011 - 21:35 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The United States has urged its citizens not to travel to Syria due to ongoing violence and civil unrest in that Middle East country.
In an updated Travel Warning the State Department urged U.S. citizens currently in Syria to depart immediately while commercial transportation is available. The number of airlines serving Syria has decreased significantly since the summer months, and many of the remaining airlines have reduced frequency of their flights.
U.S. citizens who must remain in Syria have been advised to limit non-essential travel within the country. For the time being, the Embassy continues to provide passport services, as well as other emergency services to U.S. citizens. However, staff levels at the Embassy are being further reduced.
The State Department has warned that Visa services for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens may also be affected due to staffing levels. It also made it clear that its ability to assist U.S. citizens in an emergency is extremely limited and may be further constrained by the fluid security situation.
Since March, demonstrations throughout Syria have been violently suppressed by Syrian security forces, resulting in thousands of deaths, injuries, and detentions. In recent days, violence has escalated in Syrian cities, including capital Damascus, RTTNews reported.