US bolsters embassy security in Lebanon and Turkey due to threats ahead of Congress vote on Syria strike

State department ordered 'nonessential' diplomatic staff to leave mission in Beirut

The US has tightened security at its diplomatic missions in both Lebanon and Turkey following threats.

The State Department has said it has ordered “nonessential” staff and their family members from its embassy in the Lebanese capital Beirut to leave the country, as Congress debates a military strike on neighbouring Syria.

It has also offered to evacuate those in Adana in south eastern Turkey.

A statement on the Beirut embassy's website said that the State Department “drew down non-emergency personnel and family members from [the embassy] due to threats to US Mission facilities and personnel.

The department has also issued a travel warning to American citizens against traveling in Lebanon and south eastern Turkey.

It has also urged Americans in the rest of Turkey "to be alert to the potential for violence".

The moves had been under consideration since last week, the Associated Press reports, when President Barack Obama stated he was contemplating military action against the regime of Bashar al-Assad for its alleged chemical weapons attack last month.

The administration said the attack had killed more than 1,400 people near Syria's capital Damascus.

“We will continue to assess the situation and to adjust our security posture accordingly,” deputy State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said.

“The potential in Lebanon for a spontaneous upsurge in violence remains,” the department's travel warning said.

“Lebanese government authorities are not able to guarantee protection for citizens or visitors to the country should violence erupt suddenly. Access to borders, airports, roads, and seaports can be interrupted with little or no warning,” the statement said.

“Public demonstrations occur frequently with little warning and have the potential to become violent. Family, neighborhood, or sectarian disputes often escalate quickly and can lead to gunfire or other violence with little or no warning.”

Hezbollah, an ally of the Syrian president that has sent fighters into Syria, is based in Lebanon.

The State Department said that the militant Shia organisation “maintains a strong presence in parts of the southern suburbs of Beirut, portions of the Bekaa Valley and areas in South Lebanon.”

“The situation remains tense, and sporadic violence involving Hezbollah or other extremist or criminal organizations remains a possibility in many areas of the country,” it said.

No firm date has yet been set for the congressional vote as President Obama continues to seek support for his strike plans.

The House of Representatives, the lower house of the US Congress, is controlled by the Republicans, who have yet to agree on the text of a resolution, The Guardian reports.

Last month the US closed 19 embassies and consulates across Africa and the Middle East for over a week after a terrorist threat.

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Diana from the Great British Bake Off 2014
tvProducers confirm contestant left because of illness
News
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie reportedly married in secret on Saturday
peopleSpokesperson for couple confirms they tied the knot on Saturday after almost a decade together
Sport
footballLive: Latest news from Champions League draw
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Scrum Master (Agile, Java, team recruitment)

£45000 - £60000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Scrum M...

Junior Asset Manager

£25000 - £35000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Junior As...

Employability Tutor

£85 - £95 per hour: Randstad Education Group: Randstad Education are looking f...

Investment Analyst

£33000 - £40000 Per Annum Discretionary profit share: The Green Recruitment Co...

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?