U.S. issues security alert for Lebanon

Sept. 6, 2013 at 9:24 AM   |   0 comments

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Sept. 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department said Friday non-emergency staff were pulled from the embassy in Beirut because of threats from conflict in neighboring Syria.

World leaders Friday continued their debate on Syria on the sidelines of the G20 economic summit in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The U.S. government is considering a military strike against Syria in response to the alleged government use of chemical weapons in the Damascus suburbs. China said the response to the Syrian crisis is best left to the U.N. Security Council, which Washington said was handicapped by Russia's ties to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The U.S. State Department issued a travel alert for Lebanon and said non-emergency personnel and family members were pulled out of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut because of threats to U.S. national security interests in Lebanon.

"The potential in Lebanon for a spontaneous upsurge in violence remains," the travel alert stated. "The ongoing conflict in Syria has also resulted in numerous security incidents between the border regions between Lebanon and Syria and coincides with an increasing number of security incidents around the country."

The State Department advised avoiding travel to Lebanon. Any U.S. citizen living and working there should "accept the risks."

It warned there was a high risk of border violence and said the Shiite movement Hezbollah may be particularly active given its close ties to Assad.

"In the event that the security climate in Lebanon and the region worsens, U.S. citizens will be responsible for arranging their own travel out of Lebanon," the warning said.

Topics: Hezbollah, G20
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