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
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Books should be for everyone, says Els, 8. Publisher Scholastic now agrees
booksAn eight-year-old saw a pirate book was ‘for boys’ and took on the publishers
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
tech
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
life
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Voices
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
  • Get to the point
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

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions