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Russia issues travel warning for Syria

Russia issues travel warning for Syria
A fire burns in the army barracks on Mount Qassioun, above the presidential palace in Damascus, Syria earlier this month. UPI | License Photo

MOSCOW, July 24 (UPI) -- The Kremlin issued a travel warning Tuesday to advise Russian nationals to avoid travel to Syrian given "the extremely tense situation" there.

The International Committee of the Red Cross recently characterized the conflict in Syria as civil war. More than 10,000 people have died in fighting between Syrian forces and anti-regime elements.

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The Kremlin issued a warning Tuesday advising Russian nationals to avoid the country.

"Owing to the extremely tense situation in Syria, the ongoing fighting in different parts of the country between government troops and the armed opposition, the Russian Foreign Ministry strongly recommends that Russian citizens refrain from visiting the Syrian Arab Republic," state-run news agency RIA Rovosti quoted the statement as saying.

Russia was criticized for blocking repeated attempts at the U.N. Security Council to censure the Syrian government for the bloodshed. U.N. human rights officials have suggested Syrian forces had committed war crimes during the conflict.

Russia counts Syria as one of its largest arms customers, though a recent shipment of refurbished helicopters was unloaded from a Russian port.

Conflict in Syria has engulfed the capital city. The ICRC said civilians in Damascus were trapped by the escalating violence.

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