Turkey warns pilgrims against travel through Syria

November 23, 2011 15:19

ANKARA - The Turkish government on Wednesday warned citizens returning from the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia not to travel overland through Syria following an attack on a bus carrying returning Turkish pilgrims earlier this week.

Tensions between Turkey and Syria -- neighbors and erstwhile allies -- have soared over Ankara's mounting criticism of Syrian President Bashar Assad's violent crackdown on popular unrest now in its ninth month.

"At present Syria is experiencing difficulties in maintaining public order which is negatively affecting safety on the roads. Therefore, for security reasons it is essential that our citizens returning from the Hajj should travel by air," the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.

"However, in cases where travel by road is unavoidable, journeys through Syria should be done during daylight hours."

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