assad speech 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON - Americans in Syria are encouraged to leave and travel to
the country should be postponed, the US State Department said on Friday
following widespread violence that has pitted thousands of protesters
against the government.
The State Department warned that given
the "ongoing uncertainty and volatility" US citizens are urged to leave
immediately while transportation is still available. The advisory also
encouraged Americans who remain to limit any nonessential travel within
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The advisory expands a travel warning issued in late
April that ordered eligible family members of US government employees
and certain non-emergency personnel to leave.
forces on Friday killed at least 18 protesters in attacks on tens of
thousands of protesters who poured into the streets to demonstrate
against the rule of President Bashar Assad on the first Friday of the
Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
The four-month-old uprising has grown increasingly violent in recent
days as tanks have launched an attack on the central city of Hama in an
effort to quell pro-democracy protesters. An estimated 300 people have
been killed since the military assault began on Sunday on the city of
700,000 people in central Syria.
The Syrian protesters are defying a bloody military crackdown on
uprisings that began in March against some 41 years of Assad family
The White House said US President Barack Obama and leaders from France
and Germany have agreed to take measures to pressure Assad over his
crackdown, but so far they have not outlined what those steps might be.